The place: Yard House (Pasadena location)
The hours: Monday - Friday 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.; Sunday - Wednesday 10 p.m. - close.
The deals: Discounted beers; $2 off wines by the glass; well drinks $4.25-$4.75; house martinis $6.00.
Turn the page to find out what we thought...
The Digs: Tucked away on the second story of the Paseo Colorado, Yard House is one of 30 (and counting) locations of this Cheesecake Factory of gastropubs. Everything about Yard House is big. The space is big. The flat-screen televisions are big. The portions are big. The number of beers on draft (the "World's Largest Selection") is big. The food menu is big. And the happy hour menu is big. This is both a good and a bad thing.
The verdict: Where neighborhood craft beer bars like Beer Belly carefully curate eclectic beer menus, Yard House does the complete opposite and assaults you with a beer menu that includes everything from Bud to Dogfish Head's 90 Minute Imperial IPA. One would hope that the happy hour menu would be a little more streamlined, but, as it turns out, choosing what to eat and drink during the happy hour is somewhat of a complicated process.
The happy hour choices are listed at the back of this thick menu, like a very important endnote that probably should have been part of the primary text. There are separate specials for the various sizes of beer offered (shorty, pint, goblets, and half-yard), but several beers are not available in all sizes. Trying to navigate between your options on the World's Largest Draft Beer Menu is quite a challenge, especially if you don't know a whole lot about beer. That said, the prices make it worth the effort: a pint of domestic beer, for example, is only $3.50, and a pint of craft or import beer is only about a dollar more.
A handful of appetizers are half-off during the happy hour. Keep a thumb at the end of the menu, where these select happy hour appetizers are listed, so you can easily go back to it after you flip to the front of the menu to read their descriptions and see their prices. If you take the time to go back and front and back again, you can make an educated decision about whether you would like an American dish like crab cakes or an Americanized one like "moo shu egg rolls." Or, you can order the only item on the happy hour menu that has a clear description and price: four sliders (with fries) for $6.95, discounted from the full menu price of $10.45. Which is exactly what we did when we grew tired of cross-referencing.
All that aside, when you finally do make your choices, this is a pretty solid happy hour. The sliders and fries were generous and above standard pub fare, especially for the price. And too many beer options is much, much better than having too few. Just don't already be suffering from decision fatigue when you walk in here.