Welcome to the brand-new pub with longtime regulars

First look: Draft House Bar & Grille in North Palm Beach


Draft House Bar & Grille is brand-new in North Palm Beach, having debuted in early August. But the place feels like it’s been around for much longer. Servers and bartenders greet customers like longtime regulars. Overheard bar chatter has that “Cheers” vibe. 

There’s a reason for this: The heart of the place is not new to North Palm. Owner Randy Epstein ran the restaurant at the North Palm Country Club until it closed for renovation in April. Most of his staff came over with him when he opened Draft House in the former Hog Snappers location. Hog Snappers closed that outpost on July 14, but remains in Tequesta and plans to expand there. So, yes, the turnaround to Draft House was quick. 

The concept is chill, a friendly neighborhood bar with a deck lounge, game-day flat screens and specials, plenty of pub grub and live music nights. On two visits I found the place buzzing

I also found a mighty fine mahi sandwich ($12). I took my server’s advice and ordered it blackened and served on a brioche bun, slaw and fries on the side. The sides were just fine, but the sandwich was spot-on, fresh and lightly spicy. 

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Also delicious: a jumbo Bavarian pretzel ($8) that’s perfect for sharing between two (or maybe 22). The mammoth appetizer is presented dramatically on a tall hook and it’s served with a simple beer-cheese dip and grained mustard. The pretzel is warm, nicely salted and ready to be paired with any of the South Florida-brewed craft beers poured at the bar. 

I tried a fish dip ($10) appetizer as well. It’s an ample, shareable plate garnished with a load of raw carrots, pickled jalapeños, chopped onion and saltines. The smoky dip is rich and tasty, especially when topped with a briny jalapeño ring. 

Because I enjoyed the mahi on my first visit, I opted for fish on my second visit as well. I ordered blackened grouper tacos ($12, mahi available as well). The fish was just as fresh, moist and well-seasoned, served on open-face corn tortillas and piled with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and shredded cheese. At the sight of all those toppings one might wonder if there’s any fish at all on the plate, but it’s there and there’s plenty of it. Good luck tucking it all into the thin tortillas, though. I used a fork. Next time, I’ll order the fish on brioche. 

Yes, there’s more than fish on the menu here. There are hefty cheese steaks, a wide range of sandwiches and burgers (as well as soups, salads, a few entrées and dessert). On the carnivorous side, we found the Draft House Burger ($12) to be hefty and well dressed (beer-glazed onions, bacon, lettuce, tomato). The patty could have used a good seared crust on it for added flavor – and to keep it from falling apart. But we loved the crispy tots we ordered on the side ($2 upcharge). 

Several desserts ($7) are offered as well, including decadent sweets served warm. We skipped those and tried the carrot cake ($6), which proved to be nicely spiced and ample enough for sharing. 

On my way out, I spotted the chalkboard sign that welcomed me to the place on my first visit. It reads: “Welcome to your new home away from home!” 

How did they know I do plan to return? 


Draft House Bar & Grille: 713 U.S. Highway 1, North Palm Beach; 561-812-2961


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