Tucked back by the B&A Trail in Earleigh Heights is the Severna Park Taphouse. This is a real "bar" bar serving basic American fair, and a large rotating variety of craft beers. From the outside, the place looks a little rough, but, inside, the people are friendly and the atmosphere is fine.
The Taphouse has pool tables in the bar area, a separate dining room and a nice sized outside beer garden with a couple of cornhole sets. I love cornhole. It goes great with a beer in one hand and a plate of nachos in the other.
The Taphouse's main claim to fame is its extensive selection of craft beers on the Draught Menu. The choices change all the time, boasting 41 taps, 2 nitro taps and a hand-crank cask. The staff is great at helping you to select the kind of beer you like, and after some Q and A, I landed on a Narragansett Lager from the Narragansett Brewing Company in Pawtucket. This beer had a wonderful flavor, and was exactly as described. I could have explored the selection of beer all day, and in fact they have 5 oz. pour beer flights.
On this adventure, I was with my wife Chandra and all of our kids, so there was a lot of food to taste. For appetizers, we had two different types of wings: The Honey Old Bay ($12) and the Caribbean BBQ ($12). Both were great, with an excellent crunchy texture and enjoyable sauces. I am not sure I agree with Spicy Caribbean BBQ sauce having anything to do with Caribbean flavors, but still I enjoyed it. I really appreciate that they had so many different sauce options.
So far, the food was good, but the service we experienced was only satisfactory. The server was nice enough, but her timing was poor. We received two appetizers with decent timing, but we didn't get the third. My beer was empty for a long time, and we had trouble getting napkins and placing orders. We actually didn't see the Crabby Tots that we had ordered until after she brought us the entrees.
As for the Crabby Tots themselves, these are kind of crazy. They are a plate of lunchroom tater tots with a rich crab dip and melted cheddar with a ranch dipping sauce. It sounds… well, not that great, but we actually enjoyed it quite a bit. This is a large appetizer, and is simply fantastic bar food. The dish is a little rich, and should definitely be shared.
For our mains, almost everyone chose burgers. The patty was high quality and cooked properly for each person. Most of the burgers come with a brioche bun, which was really good. My son's Pretzel Burger ($13) had a pretzel bun that was even better. The Pretzel Burger also came with Swiss cheese and Dijon mustard. This was a superb combination.
I chose the Black and Blue Burger ($13) with a blackened spiced patty and melted blue cheese. I thought it was excellent also. The burgers are juicy and enjoyable.
Both my wife and my daughter's boyfriend had the Taphouse Burger ($13) with lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, applewood bacon and cheddar cheese. Again this burger was a winner.
Both of my daughters decided on non-burger fare. Jessica had the Chicken Sandwich, with grilled chicken breast, lettuce, tomato and provolone cheese served on that great pretzel roll. Unfortunately, she really didn't enjoy it. The fresh tomato and lettuce were not very fresh. The bun was soggy by the time she had it, and the chicken just was kind of tough. I tasted it myself, and could see why she wasn't happy. I have to say, having tasted all the other food, it felt like this dish was an anomaly. It might be worth trying it again to see if it is better, but the truth is when I go back I'll be sticking to the burgers.
As we were there on a Sunday, Cassidy was able to get Chocolate Chip Pancakes ($7) off of their Pancake Brunch menu. These were a huge portion with a satisfying texture. Cassidy enjoyed them quite a lot.
At the end of the day, most of us really enjoyed the food at Severna Park Tap House. The wait staff is friendly and the beer is great. It definitely comes off as a bar, and they have some service issues to work through, but the Tap House is worth the visit… especially if you like corn hole. We probably played for about two hours after our meal, and had a lot of fun.
David Ludwig is a Chef Instructor at the HCAT Institute of Anne Arundel Community College.
Severna Park Taphouse
WHERE: 58 West Earleigh Heights Road, Severna Park
Monday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
LUNCH: $9 to $14
DINNER: $12 to $25
RESERVATIONS: Not Required
CREDIT CARDS: All Major Cards
KEY POINTS: Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.;
Sunday Pancake Brunch, and daily specials