The Yard Gastropub

Earlier this week, I attended the Grand Re-Opening of The Yard Gastropub in Santa Monica. To all of the Top Chef lovers, you will recognize the chef as "CJ" from Season 3.

Only feet from the Santa Monica promenade, the Yard is the perfect spot for lunch, happy hour, or a late night gathering with friends. The decor is whimsical, yet fun and casual. The large table inside encourages mingling and conversation. The smaller tables on the periphery allow for a bit of privacy.

The menu is as fun and sophisticated as the decor. Some of the small plates that are not to be missed are the pan-seared diver scallops with mandarin, the crispy fried cheese with a chili fig sauce, and the "Ain't No Thang" Chicken wings.

Despite the sophisticated flavor profiles, the ambiance and service is as warm as your own backyard. The signature drink, "Backyard Lemonade," comes in a mason jar, reiterating the casual neighborhood atmosphere. Also, local DJs spin on Friday and Saturday nights. Check out the website for details on weekly events!

The Yard Gastropub 119 Broadway Santa Monica, CA 310.395.6037 www.theyardsm.com