The first time the hubby and I tried to visit Drake's was a Friday night. A slow circuit of the seat your self establishment revealed no free tables so rather than hang around awkwardly, we bailed. We made our second attempt on a Monday night. The crowds were much more reasonable (we found a table in the first of the two rooms) but it was still bustling.
Our table, like all of the others that I could see, was a high top with bar stools for seating. At first this seemed very casual chic but it didn't take me very long to realize that it was rather uncomfortable. For those with back or mobility issues, this set up would be decidedly unwelcoming. Patrons will young kids will likely find it unnerving. I will give Drake's this though, they had thoughtfully added hooks under the tables to hold purses, umbrellas, and waist length jackets.
A sever appeared promptly to take our drink orders and check to be sure we had enough menus at the table. She also gave us the opportunity to join the Trivia game that was about to start. We declined the Trivia and instead perused the menu. We both decided to go for burgers--a small BBQ burger for me and a regular Blue burger for the hubby--with a side of fries. (What can I say, we're fry loyal in the dragon household.)
While waiting for our food, we watched old music videos on the TVs scattered around the room, laughing at hair bands and reminiscing about high school hits. The music accompanying the videos was a little too loud to speak over comfortably, but otherwise, it was enjoyable. Every so often, the gentleman hosting the Trivia would take over the sound system with a question, clue or encouragement. It quickly became clear that we had made the right decision to skip; these were no softball questions.
The wait for our food stretched out long enough for me to start wondering if we had been forgotten. Finally, it appeared and we happily dug in.
The frie were crinkle cut, seasoned with just salt and pepper and served with a side of BBQ sauce. I was a bit confused about the sauce. Since my burger was supposed to come with honey jalepano sauce, I expected that the cup of sauce was additional sauce meant for applying to the burger or dipping fries. Instead it was a sweet sauce with the barest hint of tanginess. The fries themselves had a soft interior and just a hint of crunch on the exterior.
My burger featured a loose patty cooked medium. Thin onion strings offered a light crunch while slices of fresh onion offered a more solid crunch and an eye wateringly strong flavor. The pickles were fresh, with a light tang. The pepper jack was moderately spicy and the bbq sauce on the burger was more pronounced, in both the sweetness and the spiciness, than the side cup of sauce. The tomato was mealy and lackluster; the bacon too crisp for my liking. The lettuce added some color, but disappeared completely among the other flavors. The bun, though toasted, pulled a similar invisibility stunt.
They hubby enjoyed the nice blue cheese flavor of his burger (shown at the top of this post) and, unlike me, was fond of the crunchy, crispy bacon.
One of my pet peeves is being rushed to finish a meal, so I was less than thrilled when our server appeared mid bite to offer us our check. Apparently since my husband had finished his burger, we were both done? To her credit, she did back off once she realized I was still eating. Once I had a chance to finish my meal, we had an awkward moment of re-approaching the issue, but it was smooth sailing from there out. Our check came with wintergreen lifesavers in the place of mints which was an unexpected touch that made me smile.
Drake's extensive beer menu (lots of craft beers!), sushi menu, open until 2 am hours, and Thursday-Saturday late night dress code point to their desire to be a night spot of choice. However, I found the confusing seat-your-self arrangement, backless chairs, and loud music (which all go hand-in-hand with the party vibe) to be rather off putting. Our burgers were inconsistent (good patties! tragic tomatoes! lovely pickles! done-to-death bacon!) If you are looking for a bar with a real menu and a large crowd, this will be right up your alley. If you want a spot with great food that also happens to have a large beer selection...keep moving.
Total for our meal: $ 19.95 (included two burgers with fries, one soft drink)
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