Yard House: Happy Hour Report Card
The Black Orchid house martini tastes like a watermelon Jolly Rancher and is only $6.25 during happy hour.
The Hours: 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 p.m. to close Sunday through Thursday
The Details: Discounts on most drinks, like $2 off wine by the glass and well drinks for only $4.25-4.75, plus pints for $3.50-$5. Most appetizers (from the Chicken Nachos to the Wings to the Moo Shu Egg Rolls) are half price. Pizzas - like the Pepperoni & Mushroom and the Spicy Thai Chicken - are also half price, and the sliders - with six choices including Classic, Pastrami, and Turkey - are down to $6.95 ($9.95 for Ahi).
Situated in the shadow of both the University of Phoenix Stadium and the Jobing.com Arena in the Westgate shopping center - a modern oasis in the midst of the wide Glendale desert - is one of three Yard House locations in Arizona. A huge space with a winding, wraparound patio sporting the kind of sturdy wood furniture you'd put on your Prescott patio, Yard House has one of those menus - like at The Cheesecake Factory - that goes on and on and on. It's known for having more than 100 beers on tap, including, we see, many favorite local brews (that Four Peaks Arizona Peach Ale is so hard to resist).
See how we graded Yard House after the jump.
We substitute gardein for chicken in the Fried Chicken Strips app, half off during happy hour.
We're in the mood for some classic bar food, and Yard House is more than happy to oblige. From the extensive half-off appetizers list, we select the Onion Ring Tower (normally $8.65) and Fried Chicken Strips (normally $9.75, and served with a side of fries). We substitute the faux meat gardein (pronounced gar-deen, it's a portmanteau of garden and protein) for the chicken in the strips: Ahead of the curve for a chain, Yard House offers a variety of both vegetarian and gluten-free options.
The onion rings arrive dusted with parmesan, stacked like a ring-toss game, and with enough to feed a small village (at least, a small village in need of finger-licking, beer-battered snacks). The gardein chicken strips are just as tasty, especially dipped in the maple dijon sauce, and the fries are thin and extra crispy.
For drinks, we ask our server (a recent South Dakota transplant loving the weather now but bracing for summer) for house martini recommendations and are steered toward the Black Orchid, the Bikini Tini, and the Malibu Beach. We go with the Black Orchid ($6.25 during happy hour: three olives watermelon vodka, dekuyper blue curacao, dekuyper watermelon pucker, cranberry juice) and aren't at all disappointed when it tastes like a smooth watermelon Jolly Rancher.
The Onion Ring Tower - also half-off during happy hour - matches everything else at Yard House in its huge portion size.
The Interior: Yard House has the interior space to match the giant menu, with snaking lines of booths framing clusters of tables, and the huge bar - with all those taps - floating in the center. There are flatscreen TVs strategically placed and showing sports (a general "whoa ho!" throughout the restaurant greets a fumble). It's very clean, designed to mimic a more urban space (the faux "rusty" surfaces, the silver pipes on the ceiling), and all bathed in a warm light that looks like the theater gel color "Oklahoma Yellow." Signature classic rock, unobtrusive in volume, plays in the background.
The Cost: One house martini, two appetizers, and one beer, plus tax, comes in under $25. And we both take home leftovers, in cute brown recyclable boxes.
The Conclusion: Yard House certainly isn't the place for an intimate, everybody-knows-your-name experience, but for drinks and snacks for a crowd pre-, post-, or during a game, it's a great option. The drink and food menus are both so extensive that it would be hard to not find something, and the happy hour specials are more inclusive than any we've yet seen. There is also a regular Snacks section on the menu, including nibbles like Guacamole & Chips, Shrimp Ceviche Spoons, and Hummus, and ranging in price from $2.95-5.85. In this Glendale spot flanked by the two mammoth sports arenas, it's also one of few places to have both happy hour and decent ratings on the World Wide Web of Feedback.
Overall Grade: A
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