She said/she said is a series of rapid reviews written by the intrepid duo, Lori Fredrich (the foodie) and Carolynn Buser (the socialite). Tune in weekly for our latest meanderings on hot spots around town.
Destination: Iron Horse Hotel patio
Reason for visiting: Happy Hour. Takes place Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.
Specials: $3 Wisconsin taps, $5 local spirits, $2 pigs in a blanket (bacon wrapped franks)
Regular Pricing: $5-8 taps, $9-12 cocktails; "Bites" menu $6-12
Mood: Relaxed and comfortable, the Iron Horse patio is tastefully adorned with patio plants, twinkling lights and a variety of seating options. Complete with lounge furniture, overhead sails, table service and heat lamps for chilly evenings, it's the patio that all others wish to be.
Go here when:
Lori: This is the spot for when you need a break from a long day, complete with sunshine on your face, a comfy chair, and plenty of space to hang with friends. The Yard is spacious and comfortable, with the perfect placement for a lake breeze. It's a great spot to go on a weekend afternoon or weekday evening when you're ready to hang with friends, cocktails in hand, but expect you might get hungry. I enjoyed a great gin & tonic made with Rehorst gin, and a delicious Twisted Path rum and ginger beer. Bites (pigs in a blanket, Millioke mix and pretzel bites) were also delicious and portions were fair for the price.
Carolynn: There really isn't a much better place to end your day than at The Yard. The atmosphere is incredible and the space is one of my favorites in Milwaukee. The urban view can't be beat. Cocktails are on point – though I do wish they had better deals on their hand-crafted cocktail menu for the happiest hour of the day.
Go back for:
Lori: The bites menu is a strong suit for happy hour-goers who like a bit of food with their beverages. Options include fried cheese curds, olives and cheese, wings and pretzel bites (so, so good served with a kicky honey mustard sauce). The Millioke mix (their version of Chex mix) is flavorful with a bit of kick from chipotle peppers and makes a really nice snack for grazing. I'd go back for the $5 local spirits – like a Rehorst gin & tonic – though be forewarned, you'll be upcharged ($2 in our case) for premium add-ins like ginger beer. Next time, I might also be tempted to follow up happy hour with a pork belly reuben ($12) with Roth Kase Gruyere, choucroute and thousand island dressing.
Carolynn: While I appreciate that The Yard offers a $5 local spirits special – and I'd likely start with one of the Twisted Path Dark Rum and ginger beers – I'd upgrade to their regular cocktail menu after my first drink. The Sconnie-esque happy hour bite special of "pigs in a blanket" were quite tasty, but my favorite was the pretzel bites. Cozy down in a couch and you'll want to keep ordering stuff – though it can add up quickly so be careful! In addition to happy hour, you'll definitely find me lounging there on Sunday afternoons taking in their "Sunday Sounds," which features some of Milwaukee’s most popular acts during a free event from 2 to 5 p.m. during Sundays in the summer.
Lori: I'd give it two thumbs up for atmosphere, but probably only one for happy hour offerings. The happy hour menu is pricer than most, with a far less robust selection of options. There were limited cocktail options, no wine specials, and the local draft list is small (it does include staple selections from Lakefront, Milwaukee Brewing, New Glarus and Sprecher; so it's not a great choice for beer geeks, but would satisfy a casual beer drinker). That said, items we ordered were delicious. On the other hand, service was iffy. Our server wasn't particularly friendly and her attentiveness was lacking at times, so I've got to pull points for that aspect. The two of us spent just over $40 for four spirits+soda cocktails and three appetizers; not bad overall, but if we had been hungrier (or thirstier) the costs would have added up quickly.
Carolynn: As I mentioned, the atmosphere and vibe can't be beat! Enthusiastic two thumbs up! The happy hour itself is slightly meh. While you will absolutely find me there again winding down a day I'd rather save my hard earned dollars for their "Sunday Sounds" or would just order straight off the craft cocktail menu. The bites were quite tasty – but by the time you order a few of those it adds up to the cost of a larger tasty cheese plate or wings.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.