Beer Park puts the party with the picnic
I was never in a fraternity. However, in my late 20s, I toured around the U.S. performing stand-up in frat houses at some of the biggest colleges in the country. Enjoying a Saturday afternoon at Beer Park, I got strange flashbacks to my days in the proverbial Animal House. Football games on big screens everywhere. Fans of Alabama yelling “Roll Tide” every time the current National Champion scores. Ole Miss loyalists with expressions of agony on their faces as their squad gives away a big lead. Literally, turn your head and see different sports fanatics with different emotions in every direction.
But what is a day of football without beer and barbecue? At Beer Park, thankfully, you don’t have to worry about that, as both alcohol and food are bountiful. If Beer Park only had one bar, it would be a letdown. Two bars might be adequate. But this place has three separate bars (one downstairs focusing on frozen drinks) with a huge array of beers both on tap and bottled. The Budweiser-branded venue, situated Stripside at Paris, has all your favorite Buds on draft along with some more unique choices from Best Damn Root Beer, Boddingtons, Kirin Ichiban, Kona and Shock Top, among others. Bottles include Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Red Hook, Rolling Rock and Wild Blue lager.
The food, served in large portions, are spins on American comfort classics. As opposed to macaroni and cheese, here they have mac and cheese egg rolls, crispy on the outside, gooey in the middle and served with a tangy barbecue sauce and chipotle ranch dressing. Save the excess barbecue sauce and put it on an order of loaded tater tots, which are smothered with bacon, sour cream, Bass IPA cheese sauce and chives. If this isn’t an ideal late-night snack after a night of partying, I’m not sure what is.
That same philosophy of all-the-goodness-plus-more is prevalent in the Backyard BBQ Dog, which features an enormous hot dog wrapped from end to end in bacon. It’s topped with baked beans, barbecue sauce, potato salad and fried pickles. It’s a lot to get through but the mustardy potato salad is a standout component. The beef tenderloin skewers of filet mignon cubes are cooked perfectly—juicy and tender. They are complemented by portobello mushrooms and cipollini onions. An herbaceous, green chimichurri sauce brings the dish all together.
For dessert, you can’t wrong with the brownie sundae. The warm chocolate brownie is one of the more traditional elements as Beer Park opts to go with brown butter praline ice cream and Best Damn Root Beer caramel toppers along with whipped cream. Even the tableware here channels the backyard vibe. For example, paper plates are ceramic but still look like the paper version. Red Solo cups get the same treatment.
And if you need a break from watching TV games, you can play some games yourself. Two pool tables sit towards the back of the venue, right by the beer pong table. Giant versions of Jenga and Connect Four are also available. No word on if Otis Day and The Knights will be performing “Louie Louie” and “Shout” any time soon. But that’s about the only thing this grown-up frat party is missing.
Paris, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Fri.-Sat., 21+ after 10 p.m. 702.444.4500