Corporate chains aren’t the end all be all of evil as long as they don’t lose their focus. This can be done by controlling expansion internally, and most importantly — responsibly (i.e., Flying Saucer). One such place is the Yard House. This “chain” currently has 21 locations scattered across the Southwest. Eleven are in southern California, three in Arizona, two in Florida, and one each in Nevada, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, and Hawaii. The fact that we are seeing more and more successfully operated “beer bar” chains is a testament to the exploding popularity of the craft beer industry. People’s tastes are changing, and the last thing they want is their daddy’s old macro-beer.
The Yard House all began at a placed called the Boiler Room (which still exists today) in Denver, Colorado. Owner Steele Platt (that’s really his name) sold it in the early 90’s and moved to California where he hooked up with entrepreneurs Harald Herrmann and Carlito Jocson. They expanded on Platt’s idea (first started in Denver) of serving a wide variety of draft beers with great tasting American cuisine, and in 1996 the first one opened in Long Beach.
The name comes from the 3-foot tall glass that originated in 17th-century England. Its tall design was intentional so as to be easily handed to stagecoach drivers who operated the horse drawn carriages (the standard mode of transportation back then). The Yard House no longer uses actual yard glasses (at least not in the Denver location) due to how easily they break and how costly they are to replace. Beers are now served in half-yard glasses, but “Half-Yard House” doesn’t have quite the same ring.
Every location features a massive, see-through keg room that contains a wagon full of beer, and they are always happy to take you inside and show off the system (at least in my experience). The types of beers served differ by location, but you will always find at least 100 (all the way up to 250) available. So if you can’t “tap into the fun” here, well… something might be very wrong with you.
Submitted by: Eli - The Mad Beer Man