I had an early afternoon business meeting in the Tourist World area recently and I arrived way too early. So I pulled into the parking lot of the still-new Brick House Tavern + Tap to check it out. (No, I don’t know what the distinction between a tavern and a tap is meant to imply here, nor do I know why a plus sign is used to pair them. Sometimes marketing genius escapes me.)
BHT+T is a fledgling chain out of Houston with 10 locations in seven states. I first came across Brick House in Ft. Lauderdale, and I find the Orlando location to be pretty close to identical in design elements.
That, of course, is not accidental, nor unexpected with chain restaurants. Consistency, whether in the food or the decor, is one of the things patrons expect.
For Brick House, the interior design is meant to be quintessential man cave, though any caveman would he horrified to find that his sanctum had been interiorly designed. Also, forgive me if I’m wrong, but I had always considered a man cave to be a place where a guy could escape by himself or with a couple of friends, who would also, by the gender specificity of the grotto, be male, hereinafter to be referred to as dudes. It is also my understanding that women are not permitted into a man cave -- sort of the grown-up version of the hastily painted No Girls Allowed! sign on a prepubescent’s tree house.
According to the Brick House website, man cave essentials include “20+ HD flat screen TVs” (and here the plus sign apparently means more than); an indoor/outdoor bar and an outdoor fire pit; and soft leather recliners with built-in beer glass holders and TV trays for dining. I doubt that those built-in beer holders could handle the 100-ounce beer bong, which, as held by the young man in this photo from the website, is not meant to be the least bit homoerotic, I’m sure.
Of course, men caves should feature lots of brick, especially those named Brick House, if not actual wall drawings if the most recent hunt.
The food? Oh, that, too, is designed with the man in mind, with chicken and waffles (they missed another plus-sign opportunity there), prime rib sandwiches, Sloppy Joes, and deviled eggs.
(Deviled eggs? How did that froufrou item get in there? Probably for that guy holding the beer bong.)
Burgers are big, too, and that’s what I ordered when I dined at the I-Drive Brick House. Instead of a basic round patty, this one was oblong and served on a hoagie roll with cheddar cheese, raw red onions, shredded lettuce, and tomato. It was accompanied by plain stack of fries. It was an OK burger, certainly good enough to satisfy a manly desire for charred ground meat, but it wasn’t one that I would find myself craving again.
Service was friendly. The mostly female staff wears shirts that are meant to highlight cleavage, which completes the man cave set of requisites.
Brick House Tavern + Tap is at 8440 International Drive, Orlando. It’s open for lunch and dinner daily, including late nights. Here is a link to the brickhousetavernandtap.com (music alert). The phone number is 407-355-0321.