I mostly keep up with new pubs opening in Portland but this one slipped by me. Fortunately the Yard House did a promotional mailing of a $35 gift card that Jeanette received and she invited me to try this place with her. Lucky me! The Yard House is a corporate chain operation. The interior design has clean contemporary design that fits with its downtown location. It also has to be one of the largest pubs in Portland. The corporate formula often can spell disaster but here they stick with some basic pub rules that make the place nice. What they did right:
- 1) A great selection of local and regional beers. Since they are nation wide they could have just use larger national and regional brewers but they found some of the best breweries in our area and offer some of the their best beer. They also go the extra step of making sure each keg of beer is pressurize to the brewers specifications. And they have over a 100 beers on tap broken into major style categories plus a few seasonal specials.
- 2) Even though it is a large place they made the seating intimate. They had lots of booths, a large bar seating, and tables spaced and angled so you don’t feel you are on top of your neighbor. They have large screen TVs everywhere but with the sound off so if someone wants to watch the game they can but it does not interfere with conversation. Plus they did a good job with sound deading the place.
- 3) They had a good range of bar and restaurant style food with their own unique twist on them. We tried three different happy hour items that were excellent and way plenty off food. Happy Hour pricing was half off. The regular price was just a bit over or at what most pubs are charging which is not bad for a heart of the city downtown location. Beer was also just a little higher then average but in line with downtown.
- 4) Our servers were great. Very helpful and friendly in explaining items on the beer list and menu and checked back on us at the right intervals. So they hired good staff and have them trained right.
So the place meets my requirements of good beer, good food and good place to enjoy them with friends. The only problem for me is the location being in the heart of downtown Portland with expensive parking, traffic hassles and crowds. For the downtowners I am sure this will be a popular place.