I’m very late to the game on this, Loflin Yard (7 W Carolina Ave, Memphis, TN 38103) has been open since April of 2016. Last Friday I drove downtown with the kiddos to meet my husband and we arrived at 4:15. There is free street parking and probably because we were there before most people got off work, we didn’t have to park very far away. We only walked about a block. We saw this awesome pondless fountain across the street at the corner of Carolina & Main. If you want to skip to my summary, but miss all the funny stories along the way, click here.
Kids are crazy
We walked in through one of the only inside establishments on the property. There is a tiny bar that you walk through to get to the “yard.” Then at the back of the property, there is another larger building in which a band could play.
As we walked through the front small bar, I was trying to make my way to all the adirondack chairs throughout the large yard. But my kids really wanted to stay at the tables that were covered on the patio. I felt bad because there was a group gathering there of some kind for a happy hour. We were obviously not part of the group (maybe a work group grabbing drinks?) and my girls were being a little crazy.[bctt tweet=”You can take your kids to #LoflinYard & they can be a little wild & it’ll be fine. Games included.” username=”eastmemphismoms”]
Yard is awesome
You guys the yard is huge. Not sure how many people they could fit in the establishment legally, but I would say about a million. There are more than a hundred adirondack chairs, would be my guess. Strung overhead are a good many cafe lights.
Tell me prices
I decided to grab drinks for myself/kids before my husband arrived and we would decide what to eat. I went to order at the front bar and asked the bartender what kids drinks they had (answer: sprite, sweet tea, but no lemonade). They had a list of yummy-looking cocktails on the menu, but no prices (my pet peeve.) I asked the bartender if she had a price list or what the prices for the cocktails were. She said, “it depends, they range from $9 – $12.” Well, I wasn’t going to start listing the cocktails and say, “How much is this one? How much is this one?” so I just told her I’d order a drink later. I know that sounds really cheap, but, I just wanted to know.
The tab system – this is a funny one
So when she went to charge me the soft drinks, she asked me if I wanted to open a tab or close it. I told her I’d close it because I inevitably open a tab and end up leaving my credit card there when I leave, and I just didn’t trust myself to remember. And I thought I was being funny and friendly. Well then she said, “Well we don’t keep your property.” And I….didn’t get what that meant. She seemed annoyed.
What I thought she meant: “If you were to leave your card here, don’t worry, we don’t keep it, we throw it away for safe keeping.”
What she actually meant: “We don’t ever keep your card. To open a tab, we just swipe it, give it back to you, and the tab stays open.”
But I was all flustered and just was confused so I didn’t open the tab right then.
It is kinda cool thought because at the several different bars, all the computers are connected (Hello, 2017!) so you can keep putting your orders on your tab at different registers. Different bars have different beers on tap.
I overheard one disappointed patron walk in for the first time this season and say, “Where’s all the grass?!” Later I was in line in front of a guy and I overheard him say that he lived across the street so he had been coming since they opened. I asked him about the grass situation. He said the Front yard used to be all grass (last year). I’m guessing it got too muddy because now it’s half mulch, half gravel. The gravel was a little dusty, I’m guessing because it’s pretty new, but I didn’t mind it at all. Kids played in it fine.
What did the kids do
Sometime around 4:30 my husband arrived, my kids decided they would venture past the covered patio to the front yard, and more kids started arriving, too. (So did dogs!)
I really have a thing about people telling their kids to be quiet all the time, especially when you’re outside. In a bar. So we let the kids play, have fun, as long as they weren’t disturbing other people’s personal space.
We set up on the wooden deck of the Coach House and played the huge Connect4 game and ring swing game the whole time. My kids had a blast. There are also dog bowls for water, some fire pits, a few shade sails, corn hole, and a couple hula hoops.
Ordering food – and my carding experience
The 2 adults ordered beers at the Coach House bar and left our tab open. (I had figured it out, ha!) Around 4:45 we went to order food (only at the Safe House front bar) and the kitchen wasn’t open yet, only opens at 5. So I went back 15 minutes later after some more Connect4 time.
We ordered a couple po’boys and I inquired about the beer-plus-bowl-of-chilli special for $10 (wasn’t sure if it was just at lunch). I figured between my husband and I we’d split/finish a 3rd beer and we wanted to try the chili so I ordered that. I also was verifying that I could order the beer later, because we still needed to finish our first beers. Then this bizarre thing happened to me. I was telling the girl my order and she asked for my ID (for the beer plus chilli). I told her
1. My ID was in my purse on the patio, I’d run go get it and bring it right back, could she just place the order and
2. I had a tab open already (which she knew) and it already had 2 beers on it.
She told me ok, fine, and was proceeding to charge me when a line cook behind her turned around and said “I’m sorry we have to have your ID.”
I said, “I have it, it’s here in the restaurant, can I just pay you and I’ll go get it.”
He said, “no, sorry, it’s the law.” (Or maybe he said, “it’s the rule.”) I have since been googling it to see what is actually the law. This 2015 article says that in a restaurant, it’s up to the server’s discretion if you are 21 or not, but management may have a rule just to be safe. This 2014 article says that in TN if you’re carrying out alcohol, everyone must be carded, even elderly.
And I said, “but you can see on my tab I’ve already ordered 2 beers.” He held firm.
So then I ran back to the patio, got my ID, and ran back. (Took 30 seconds.) And showed the girl my ID. The line cook was back to cooking.
But then I just had to know: I said loudly, to ask the line cook “Excuse me, but does a person have to show their ID every time they order an additional beer? The rest of the night?” And he said yes.
But then I got to thinking about it a few minutes later (after it was too late to argue) and I remembered: the girl wasn’t even serving me the beer! I was paying for something to be ordered at a later date! So if I got carded then, I assume that I was then going to get carded 30 minutes later AGAIN when I was actually served the beer. So weird.
I would love, love, to know more about what once stood there, where the waterfall came from, etc. I couldn’t find it on the website.
Would I go back with kids? Totally, pending Memphis patio weather. Is it kid friendly? Yes, pretty. I’m curious how scorching it is in Memphis July. I bet it’s pretty awesome in January with the fire pits. I could see the 1-hour round trip being #WorthIt in the summer when it’s daylight for so long and we’re looking for something to fill the time before bedtime.
Are kids officially allowed? Yes
Are there highchairs? No, I don’t think because there are no traditional dining tables. But I totally love this thing.
Are there changing tables in the bathrooms? I don’t remember.
Is there a kids menu? No
Would people stare at you if a baby cried or if kids were loud? No
Are the servers super warm to children? Not necessarily, but there is very little interaction with servers.
Could you bring in a packed meal for your kids (we often do) and it not be super rude? Yes
When your baby is super mobile but not yet walking is there somewhere not gross you could put him down? Yes, in theory you could bring a picnic blanket for the mulch or yard and it would be great.