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The Untold Secrets Behind Yard House’s Success

The Untold Truth About Yard House

If you’re a fan of craft beer and delicious food, chances are you’ve heard of Yard House. With over 25 years in business and dozens of locations across the United States, Yard House has become a go-to destination for beer enthusiasts and food lovers alike. But there’s more to this popular chain than meets the eye. In this article, we’ll uncover some of the untold truths about Yard House, from its origins and unique beer selection to its growth and international presence.

A Grand Opening with Elvira

Yard House’s story begins in the 1990s, when the craft beer industry in the United States was experiencing a sudden surge in popularity. The first Yard House opened its doors in 1996 in Long Beach, California. To celebrate the opening, the taproom created its own beer called “Elvira’s Night Brew,” a tribute to the Mistress of the Dark herself. In a surprising twist, Elvira actually attended the event and poured the beers herself, adding a touch of glamour to the festivities.

A huge selection of beers

One of Yard House’s claims to fame is its extensive selection of beers on tap. From the beginning, Yard House wanted to offer its customers a wide variety of beers. When the restaurant first opened, it offered an impressive 250 options, a remarkable feat considering that the craft beer industry was still gaining momentum at the time. Today, each Yard House location offers more than 100 beers on tap, ensuring that beer lovers have plenty to choose from, whether they prefer hoppy IPAs or malty stouts.

California’s love affair with Yard House

After the success of its first opening in Long Beach, Yard House quickly expanded its presence in California. Additional locations opened in Costa Mesa and Irvine, solidifying Yard House’s foothold in the state. As of 2022, California is home to 25 of the more than 80 Yard House restaurants nationwide, demonstrating the Golden State’s love for the chain. Yard House also moved its corporate headquarters to Irvine, further cementing its ties to California.

Part of a restaurant portfolio

While Yard House began as an independent operation, it soon caught the attention of investors. In 2007, it was acquired by private equity firm TSG Consumer. Five years later, Yard House was sold to Darden Restaurants, a major player in the restaurant industry that owns chains such as Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse. The acquisition by Darden Restaurants helped Yard House continue to expand its presence across the United States, nearly doubling the number of locations in just 10 years.

An international twist

Although Yard House restaurants are primarily located in the United States, there is an identically named and branded restaurant in Beijing, China. However, this overseas Yard House is not owned by Yard House USA, Inc. or Darden Restaurants. Due to the lack of trademark protection overseas, a Chinese trademark registration was approved, allowing the Beijing Yard House location to open. Interestingly, this Asian location offers unique features such as vaping rooms, a beer garden, a vegan cafe, and weekly poker tournaments.

Custom beer menus by location

Yard House prides itself on offering unique, hyper-local beers on tap. Each Yard House location curates its own custom beer menu, featuring beers from regional breweries and exclusive in-house collaborations with favorite breweries. This ensures that no two Yard House beer menus are the same. To make the selection process easier for guests, Yard House also offers beer flights, allowing guests to sample a variety of beers and explore different flavors.

The Beer Experts Behind the Scenes

Creating and maintaining an extensive beer menu requires a team of experts, and Yard House has assembled a dedicated group of beer enthusiasts for this task. These beer experts curate regional menus, ensuring that only the highest quality beers make the cut. They also curate regional beer flights based on specialty beers, giving guests a curated tasting experience. The team revisits the menus several times a year and spends approximately four months deliberating on the top selections.

The Story Behind the Half Yard of Beer

Yard House is known for its unique half yard of beer. While traditional beer serving sizes such as pints and pint glasses are available, guests have the option to order their favorite beers in a 32-ounce glass called a half yard. The concept of a yard of beer dates back to 17th century Great Britain, where it was originally a three-foot glass used by stagecoach drivers. The founders of Yard House found inspiration in this measure, which eventually became the restaurant’s namesake. While the full three-foot glass is not available at Yard House, the half-foot is a fun and distinctive way to enjoy your favorite brews.

Bottoms up

Yard House has come a long way since its grand opening in 1996. From its unique beer selection and commitment to regional flavors to its expansion across the United States and even overseas, Yard House has solidified its position as a leader in the craft beer and food industry. Whether you’re a beer enthusiast or a food lover, Yard House offers an extensive menu that caters to all tastes and preferences. So the next time you visit a Yard House location, take a moment to appreciate the untold truths behind this beloved chain and raise a glass to its continued success.
1. The Untold Truth of Yard House
2. NBC
3. Press Telegram
4. Brewers Association
5. Nation’s Restaurant News


Yard House is known for its extensive selection of draft beers, offering one of the largest beer menus in the world. They also have a diverse menu with over 100 homemade food items.

Where did the first Yard House location open?

The first Yard House location opened in Long Beach, California, specifically in the Shoreline Village shopping and dining district.

How many beers does Yard House have on tap?

Yard House offers over 100 beers on tap at each of its locations, giving beer lovers a wide variety of options to choose from.

Who owns Yard House?

Yard House was acquired by Darden Restaurants, a prominent restaurant company that also owns chains such as Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse.

Does Yard House have any international locations?

While Yard House operates primarily in the United States, there is an identically named and branded restaurant in Beijing, China. However, it is not owned by Yard House USA, Inc. or Darden Restaurants.

What is the story behind the half-yard of beer at Yard House?

Yard House’s half-yard beer concept pays homage to the traditional three-foot glass used in 17th-century England. Yard House’s founders were inspired by this measure, which eventually became the restaurant’s namesake.

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