Yardbird Ale House – 6/24 Martin St, Fortitude Valley
4/10 – Avoid
At some point, every genuine innovation will be imitated poorly, by someone vastly less competent and sincere. For every Nirvana, a Short Stack must eventually follow. Yard Bird Ale House is surely the Short Stack of Brisbane’s bar scene: ugly, cheap and utterly lacking in any genuine conviction other than a desire to make money.
The craft beer emergence across Brisbane has spawned some exciting new bars in the last few months, but it’s also become a bandwagon. Yard Bird clings to it with transparent desparation that is immediately apparent, and had plenty of visitors annoyed when I came through. They spruik their craft beer credentials, yet offer only a few common brews from big breweries like Little Creatures and Monteiths. The decor is a confused mix of Ed Hardy trash, zombie art and low-budget woodland kitsch, including a tatty stuffed pheasant. A number of staff are rude and incompetent, often at the same time. There’s always a queue at the bar. They can’t even get seating right; when it rained, a number of seats under their haphazard temporary gazebos got soaked, and things got cramped quickly.
Worst of all, Yardbird heavily markets ‘specials’ that conveniently run out of stock just as the day gets going. At 1pm we were told ‘we’re not serving food yet’, even as other visitors were already tucking into meals. By 1:30 food might’ve been an option for our hungry group, but ‘oh, we’ve changed the time for the special, it starts at 3pm now’ and then by 2pm the line was ‘yeah, we’ve run out’, delivered with hostility and a total lack of shame or apology. As this was going on, the promised special continued to flow from the kitchen, even as they turned other guests down and ignored the growing queue at the bar. At best this is serious incompetence; at worst it’s a deliberate trick to get people buying more booze and their other (overpriced) menu items.
Avoid this shithole. People have already started drawing cocks on the walls, and I wish I’d brought some paint along to do the same. Yardbird’s best shot at any long-term custom is its cheap alcohol and competitive eating (classy, yeah), and they can be relied on to eventually mess these up too.