After a productive day of cleaning Sunday, I decided to reward myself with a visit to Yard House in Merrick Park. It’s not very often that I have a Monday off from work so I had to take advantage of the long weekend to try the late-night happy hour of the chain’s Coral Gables outpost. Gimmicky or not, the restaurant’s 130-beers-on-tap selection drew me to visit. Add to that $3.50-$4.25 beer prices from 10 p.m. to close (12:30 a.m.).
I had a similar experience as others upon arrival. The place was jam packed and the wait for a table for four at 9:45 was one hour. If only there were room at the bar to wait. We managed to park ourselves in a small corner by the wait station and finally got around to ordering our first round of beer as happy hour began at 10. Because we were there more to drink than eat, we didn’t mind waiting for our table. Plus the huge flat-screen TVs all over the place kept the boys well entertained.
The beer menu is broken down by beer type. I chose an Avery White Rascal from the white ales section. D started off with a Kona Fire Rock, a Hawaiian pale ale. My friend ordered Ommegang Hennepin, a Belgian-style beer brewed in Cooperstown, New York. Her favorite Duvel wasn’t on the menu and though the Ommegang tasted very similar it had a lot more bitterness to it. They were out of Delirium Tremmens so her boyfriend settled for Stella – which they’d later run out of as well.
We were seated exactly one hour after we arrived. By this time, D had switched to Hacker Pschorr Weisse, a German wheat beer that no one in the group had tasted and emerged as a new favorite for its ‘drinkability’ (it just went down so easily). Since most of us had dined earlier, we ordered chicken nachos ($4.97) and spinach dip ($5.42) from the happy hour menu, which features about 20 appetizers – from chilled edamame and spicy tuna rolls to bearnaise sliders – at half price. Our appetizers weren’t earth shattering but not bad either. One friend ordered the surf and turf burger ($15.95), a burger topped with Swiss, lobster sauteed in garlic butter, asparagus and tomato bearnaise. I didn’t try it but I didn’t hear any complaints and I must say it looked very tempting.
Overall we had a good first experience and will likely be back to Yard House. I just hope the novelty dies down a bit so I can enjoy a seat at the bar. And though the beer selection is what will drive me to return, the menu piqued my interest enough that I may give more of their food a try.
Happy hour: Sun.-Wed. 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday; Mon.-Fri. 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Domestic beer ($3.25 a pint), craft and imported ($4.00) and goblets ($4.25). Wine is $2 off and well drinks go for $4.25, though why not stick to the beer? Selected appetizers half off.
Village of Merrick Park
320 San Lorenzo Avenue, Coral Gables