My dining companion and I arrived at Severna Park Taphouse one evening in time to grab a few happy hour appetizers and drinks. Due to COVID-19, the restaurant currently offers outside seating only. The place was pretty crowded for a Tuesday night, though guests were appropriately distanced. We snagged a cozy corner table on the deck. Even in a non-COVID world, the Taphouse’s outside deck is like a neighbor’s big backyard, a nice relaxed area to unwind. Small overhead lights add a touch of class.
Our waitress, Dani, was friendly, helpful and charming. She was someone you knew had a big smile under her mask. She took our drink orders and delivered them quickly.
The Taphouse has an impressive 41 beers on tap and they rotate their offerings to incorporate favorites, rare with an anticipated seasonal selection, so beer drinkers rejoice. Their signature drinks include a variety of crushes and margaritas. We chose a Fancy Clancy pilsner and an orange crush. You can’t go wrong with any beer here, according to my beer experts. We shared the crush, which was wonderfully refreshing. I really think they squeeze fresh oranges to go with the vodka, Triple Sec and Sprite. While I enjoyed the light “freshness,” my companion preferred more vodka. It’s all preference, right?
Dani advised us on the appetizers, and with no hesitation she suggested the nachos. For the nachos toppings, you can choose grilled chicken, chili, siracha chicken or steak. We picked the siracha chicken and then added a serving of bang bang shrimp.
The nachos lived up to Dani’s excitement. The combination of warm cheesy queso, slightly sweet, with the spicy heat of the pico de gallo, atop crispy fresh tortillas, offered a burst of flavor and texture. It’s served with sides of cheddar cheese, sour cream and fresh salsa – a winner!
The bang bang shrimp was also a winner, served over a bed of lettuce. Extra crunchy on the outside, with tender shrimp on the inside, they had the expected Hawaiian-type flavor and were greaseless. Though you couldn’t make a meal out of them, they were tasty!
We discovered that the Taphouse Burger was another customer favorite, so we gave that a go. I also ordered the chicken mango salad.
Both of us gave a thumbs-up to the burger. What’s not to love about a quarter pound of ground chuck, served with caramelized onion, applewood bacon and cheddar — perfectly grilled and juicy? They nailed the grilling, well done, but with enough juice that still dribbled down our chins. The accompanying French fries tasted like the homemade fries my mom made when I was a kid. Both the burger and fries gave me the pleasure of old-fashioned comfort food that really hit the spot (often the wrong spot, but hey, they were good).
I felt virtuous eating the salad, generously topped with chicken, mandarin oranges, cranberries and candied pecans. The mandarin oranges paired nicely with the tender chicken and dried cranberries, but I was expecting whole or half candied pecans, not so finely chopped, but that’s just my preference. It came with a balsamic vinaigrette that added little. It’s a good salad that just needs a more toppings and a different dressing.
Though Severna Park Taphouse doesn’t make desserts in-house, what they have is impressive. We could have chosen apple pie, a root beer float or a brownie a la mode. Dani said the brownie was another customer favorite, so we acquiesced, though I did have a hankering for the root beer float.
The dense, fudgy brownie provided all the “ooh’s” and “ah’s” and gooey chocolatey good you want a brownie to be and it was extremely hot, but quickly cooled with the side scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s a great dessert for a hot summer night.
The menu boasts a good variety of food, soups and salads, as well as fajitas, taco platters and a quinoa shrimp bowl. Severna Park Taphouse has vegan and gluten-free options, and a kids menu. Also, there are regular food and drink specials. On Thursdays, they have live music.
The Taphouse is a wonderful neighborhood drop-in, and I do intend to do just that more often. Our meal came to $75, but that’s with two entrees, two appetizers, three drinks and desserts. Hitting it at happy hour and choosing the specials, two people could easily have a nice evening with a few drinks and appetizers for less than $30. Call ahead for curbside pickup.