There’s an invigorating summer breeze that sweeps through University Draft House. With the sun sleepily falling below the horizon, and the night’s sprightly winds creeping in through the bar-to-ceiling windows caressing patrons, the easy going attitude of the restaurant/bar is a pleasure to experience.
Not seeking to be hipster-unique, or unnecessarily swanky, University Draft House, established in October 2014, delivers great food, ice cold drinks, and a low-key vibe that perfectly fits any occasion.
The first thing you’ll notice as you walk into the establishment is the sheer amount of space available to patrons. Having eaten here on numerous occasions, never once have I felt cramped in my seat, or sardined into a stool that didn’t have some wiggle room. And this is merely on the inside.
University Draft House also boasts an impressive patio that seems to be nearly the same size as the dining and bar area. Plus, with their oversized garage door windows usually open, providing a refreshing airiness to the interior portion, there’s no sense of separation between the two distinct halves. Which means the environment is lively and the energy is vibrant, but without being excessive and off-putting.
And not to be defeated by the occasional cold spells that sweep into the Valley during winter, the owners have intelligently placed metallic heaters outside for those who decide to enjoy the rare cool air. (And yes I know what you’re thinking. When does it get cold in the Valley? But c’mon…we both know that any day below 60 degrees means bubble coats, mittens, and scarves for us down here.)
So, naturally, with all this space available to me, I decide to take a seat at the bar.
Immediately the friendly bartenders offer their service and provide me “The Dean’s List” (a.k.a. the menu). Though there isn’t a huge number of options, what they do make, they make perfectly.
Whether you’re in the mood for a filling meal like the “Hot For Teacher” burger which includes angus beef, caramelized onions, chipotle mayo, avocado, as well as habanero and serrano peppers, or simply want a savory “Prerequisite” like fried squid served with a in-house vinaigrette, it’s all A’s on the “Dean’s List”.
I start off with real artichoke dip served alongside crisp friselle bread, I order myself a Stella Artois and take in the scene. The numerous bartenders and servers are busily replenishing glasses from the wide selection of options displayed on their “Watering Hole” menu. Not content with simply serving domestic and craft beers, University Draft House also offers, speciality cocktails, wine, “tincho” wine cocktails, and a peculiar specialty drink known as “Moontang”.
But don’t think University Draft House is only for adults. This is a family friendly restaurant with pool tables, arcade games, and numerous big screen tvs spread out meticulously. They also offer kid-friendly dishes like mac and cheese, hand-cut fries, “traditional” burgers, milkshakes, and even “Elective” deserts like my favorite – Brownie Sundaes.
But this is a Friday night and the crowd is of age to say the least.
After snacking for sometime on the little artichoke hearts, I finally make up my mind and go with “The Graduate”. A 100% angus beef burger with melted brie, bbq caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, arugula, and truffle aioli. And though I’m still not sure exactly what those last two ingredients are, I will testify that they were delicious. Topping off this bountiful morsel was an order of sweet potato fries (don’t judge me).
I order my 2nd Stella (remember folks don’t drink and drive) as I blissfully feast on the adequately sized burger. With 90’s rock music playing wistfully in the background, I take an opportunity to ask the staff for a quick picture, and they willingly oblige.
It doesn’t take more than one trip to University Draft House to find out that the service is great, the people are friendly, and the food is what is should be – tasty.
So it’s with a happy stomach and great date night coming to an end that I ask for my tab.
University Draft House definitely studied their craft and are now teachers of the art.
Make sure you tell them Eddie sent you when you pay them a visit. Because it’s all A’s at University Draft House.