Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Laurelwood Public House & Brewery

5115 NE Sandy Boulevard
Happy Hour: 3 - 6 and 9 - close, daily

Portland is full of breweries. There are non-profit breweries, gluten-free breweries, and more breweries that cater to dogs than I can count on one hand. But Portland is also full of families. Families with kids. Little kids. And that's why Laurelwood fits in perfectly. There are many locations around town. They offer all sorts of good pub food. And they have play spaces for kids. LOTS of play spaces with LOTS of toys. It keeps the kids happy and the parents even happier.

To increase the happiness level even more, they offer discounts on food and drinks during what they like to call hoppy hour (because every other hour at Laurelwood is already happy, I suppose). Hoppy Hour is available daily from 3 - 6 PM and again from 9 PM until closing. The menu includes pub favorites--chicken strips, nachos, burgers, and hummus--all priced around five or six bucks and the beer is marked down to just $3.50 per pint. The only way to beat that price would be to get your beer to go. They offer both growlers and growlettes of what's on tap (and you can see what's available before you head out on their website).

To ensure that they really are as family-friendly as they claim, I showed up with a bunch of other brand new moms and their teeny-tiny babies. These babies were all too small for the play space but still made a lot of noise, brought a lot of toys, and spilled an occasional water glass. And each time the server stopped by, these mommas (me included) were a bit distracted. We required patience, food that could be eaten with one hand, and the bill to arrive at a moment's notice.

I ordered the nachos (which were covered with black beans, cheese, tomatoes, guacamole, and their chipotle-lime sour cream) and one of the day's specials, plus an order of the fish tacos to go. (The special and all to-go items aren't included in the discounts but were worth the higher price tag.) Other items ordered by the mommas (and pictured below) included a cheeseburger with fries and the spinach salad.

The cheeseburger (or veggie burger, on request) comes topped with Tillamook cheddar, their famous Laurelwood sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and thin slices of red onion. Even with the fries, this plate is only $6.25 during hoppy hour. It's not the cheapest I've seen, but still a fairly decent price.

One of the healthier options on the hoppy hour menu, the spinach salad is a mix of spinach (obviously!), golden beets, blue cheese crumbles, red onion, and hazelnuts. (I love when restaurants opt for hazelnuts over walnuts. It's so very Oregon of them. That, and I can't eat walnuts.) The salad isn't gigantic but comes with a lot of flavor as it's tossed with their house-made Workhorse IPA mustard vinaigrette.

The nachos were delicious, of course, but proved to be a bit of a challenge to eat with one hand. I did what I could, however, but had the hardest time getting any of that salsa to cooperate. Good thing that both the sour cream and the beans came with a little heat. I might have to wait until my teeny-tiny is ready for a high chair before attempting that again.

Although we weren't quite ready to take advantage of the play spaces (we will be back to do that eventually, I am sure), the staff at Laurelwood definitely knows what they're doing when it comes to all of the littles. And it's a big enough place (at this location, anyway) that you are likely to find a place away from the smallest humans, if that's what you need.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets


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