Yard House, a restaurant and bar flagship nestled on the outer southwest corner of The Banks, provides yet another fantastic option for dining downtown. Additionally, it is a wonderful place to frequent either before or after games at Great American Ball Park, or as simply a meeting place to rendezvous with friends and/or family any day of the week. Okay, okay, it’s a chain technically, but this is my blog and an exception can be made, right?
Location: Greeting The Banks’ patrons as they walk from parking lots near Paul Brown Stadium and The Freedom Center proves to be a fantastic location for Yard House, as it enjoys proximity to these parking lots while distancing itself a couple of blocks from GABP, Holy Grail, and other bars in the area—a lot like Moerlein Lager House does.
Atmosphere: Walking inside this large restaurant, I wasn’t expecting it to be so open and welcoming, but it was. Tables and booths surrounded the focal point in the extremely large bar in the middle, which is hard to miss, seeing that it boasts nearly 150 different kinds of beer on tap. I particularly enjoyed the outdoor seating area because, even though it wasn’t particularly warm outside, the overhead heaters provided the right amount of heat and a comfortable ambience to satisfy even the coldest customers. We also needed ample space for our 12 attendees, and the outdoor patio satisfied just that. More so, because we were seated outside, we were able to ogle at the serene sights of Paul Brown Stadium, the Ohio River, and—most importantly—John A. Roebling’s suspension bridge (and BrooklynBridge prototype) as complements to our loud, verbose, and cheery dinner.
Food: While I didn’t expect the food here to be outstanding, I was pleasantly surprised with the presentation of the fare especially, and found that everything I tried had pretty good flavor. When I first heard of Yard House, I was under the impression that this place was primarily a bar that happened to serve food. Au contraire. Yard House is first and foremost a restaurant, but also serves as a bar as well. This is especially great because the wait can be a bit lengthy, especially on a Friday night with a group of 12 and reservations are not an option (we were told that it was a 90+ minute wait, but we hardly waited an hour for a table). There were a number of dishes ordered at our table and all of them looked really good. I, unfortunately, had a migraine this particular night and was missing most of my appetite, so a friend and I opted to share beef sliders and truffle fries. Good but not great, but I assume that it would have been even more edible in the right situation.
We were able to bear witness as the Ohio River danced westward and meandered its way underneath the Suspension Bridge, just as the experience of our meal danced along, flowing its way through conversations abound at the table—a wonderful setting for pretty good food and joined by even better company. (Next time, when I presumably won’t be feeling miserable, I assume my experience will be even better.)
Overall Grade: B out of a possible A+