Openings and Closings

Yard House Now Open in Mizner Park in Boca Raton: A First Drink

Yard House, situated at the south end of Mizner Park in Boca Raton, is a cavernous temple in which one can worship at the altar of beer -- or dozens of beers, should one be so inclined. The mammoth restaurant/bar's newest locale had its official opening on Sunday, though it celebrated a "soft" opening earlier in the weekend, welcoming groups of friends, family, and other folks to consume massive quantities of beer in the equally massive space.

A few friends and I stopped by Monday early evening to share a happy hour and see if the beer menu matched the 

considerable hype. Indeed, the menu is a monster: a weighty tome with three pages covering the more than 140 beers on tap. 

There's a decent showing of beers that could qualify in the increasingly all-important "craft" category, though, you'll also find Miller Lite and Michelob alongside Stone Pale Ale and Young's Double Chocolate. While the selection is admirable, it's by no means exhaustive, as my friend discovered when her first two choices (Red Seal Ale and Anchor Steam) didn't make the cut. To be fair, these California brews aren't the easiest to find locally, but she has had better luck with those brews at World of Beer in Coconut Creek. I reverted to my standby, the ever-reliable and widely available Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, but there certainly are other beers that will get a go on a subsequent visit. 

In addition to the drafts, there's a handful of bottled beers and beer blends (black and tan, etc.) available, plus wine and sake. The bar is famous for its half-yard drafts, but seeing as we aren't frat dudes, we stuck with the more reasonable portions of "shorty" and pint. It's not the cheapest spot in town for a beer, but the postwork happy hour (3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday) provides a break with craft and import pints priced between $4.25 and $5. Domestic pints are $3.50.   

In addition to the booze, there are five menu pages devoted to food including a very generous nod to vegetarians with a section of bar classics that use Gardein in lieu of animal protein. We weren't in the market for dinner, but I did sample a fry from my friend's order of shoestring-cut truffle fries ($3.95) and I'm inclined to agree with readers who've expressed a growing weariness for truffle oil. 

We sat on the outdoor patio where servers greatly outnumbered patrons, but the interior (which is flanked with numerous flat screen TVs and offers a variety of seating choices) was fairly packed. Because the restaurant is in its early stages, seasoned staff were on-hand from other stores to help break in the Boca servers. We had a small parade of servers and runners visiting our table, but it wasn't overbearing or chaotic. 

This isn't the Mizner spot for an intimate dining or drinking experience -- I'm inclined to make a beeline for Kapow! Noodle Bar or the Cheese Course for that purpose -- but Boca beer hounds now have another choice for good brews. With iPic Theaters and Tanzy having recently opened directly across from Yard House, traffic may stay steadier in downtown Boca even throughout the summer slump.  

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Tricia Woolfenden