I’m not going to do a full-scale review of the Yard House just yet because 1) I largely agree with what Tom said in his review and 2) I don’t want to judge a business on a soft opening (especially when I’m eating and drinking for free). I’ll just include a few of my thoughts short format belong, along with a few pictures.
– The space itself is just a tad above average. Very minimalist, with a one story, spread out floor plan. I think keeping it open looks neat, but will lead to crowd volume issues during busy hours, which was not helped at the preview by the music blasting. I like the Lager House’s materials and construction considerably more.
– The view is beautiful of the Ohio River and Roebling Bridge (see below). This is going to be a fantastic place to sit for happy hour once the weather warms up.
– While there are a ton of tap handles, I wasn’t super impressed by the selection. There aren’t enough locals and too many handles are used for macro. I understand that this is at The Banks and caters to a wide subset of the population (AKA: not just beer geeks), but I think there’s considerable room to improve. I think this will happen as the folks responsible for beer buying there get a better understanding of the lay of the land in terms of local beers in Cincinnati.
– The small bites of food I had were fantastic in every case. I’m looking forward to coming back during happy hour sometime when they have half off appetizers and I believe pizzas.
– People talk a lot about what this means for the Lager House. I think the effect with be at worst minimal and at best a benefit to both places. With the Red’s season starting back up, there will clearly be enough demand for both places. Also, I’m a believer that a rising ride lifts all boats. I think the Lager House’s superior beer selection will make the Yard House up their game and I believe the Yard Houses’s eclectic and high-quality food selection will make the Lager House up theirs. Overall, having both is great for consumers. I’m not going to say that the two are equivalent, but if the Lager House was full, I’d be more than happy to walk over to the Yard House for a beer and snack (or vice-versa).
– Overall, I was impressed with not just the Yard House and its food/beer, but with the service, as well. Obviously things were slow because of the crowd size and learning the systems, but it’s nice to see servers new at a place, still chipper and pleasant to interact with.