Yard House will open at NewCity at Lincoln Park, Chicago, on September 26. The restaurant, located where North Avenue, Claybourn, and Halsted Streets meet on the city’s northside, will be open for lunch, dinner, and late-night dining.
Like the original Yard House in 1996, high-quality food, classic rock, and a vast selection of craft beer will play an integral role in the restauarant. Yard House maintains a music library of around 5,000 songs that include mostly classic rock, but also alternative hits from the ’80s and ’90s as well as some current artists whose music is inspired by past eras. The playlists are distinct to each location with each Yard House acting as its own “radio station.”
“Everyone has their own personal soundtrack,” says Craig Carlyle, president of Yard House Restaurants. “That song or songs that take you back to a certain time or moment in your life. That’s why music, and not just any music but mostly classic rock, plays a significant role at Yard House. One song can really transform the entire dining experience.”
Creating a playlist that is non-repetitive and distinct to nearly 60 restaurants is no easy feat. The music library is constantly changing and evolving with new songs added to the mix and others songs removed.
“There is an actual science or thought process that goes into creating our playlists,” says Sheena Jacobs, manager of learning and music design for Yard House. “Playlists are categorized by the time of day, so the music we play at lunch isn’t necessarily what you’ll hear at night. We have to consider BPM—beats per minute—as well as our guests and team members input.”
Jacobs adds that the late-night playlist, which consists of about 1,000 songs, is culled from the epic classic rock era along with songs from the ’80s and ’90s, and current mainstream rock hits.
“Everything we play after 9 p.m. are songs that are instantly recognizable,” Jacobs says. “If you can’t identify it within the first few beats, then it’s probably not on our late-night playlist.”
Jacobs will be responsible for creating the Yard House soundtrack that will play during the pre-opening celebrations. The opening party playlist is a first impression of what to expect at any Yard House. Because Yard House has nearly 60 locations across the United States, music is not a one-size-fits-all concept.
“Most restaurants simply pay for a music service with pre-loaded songs,” adds Carlyle. “So there are lists for classic rock, easy listening, pop, ’80s, and so on. Because music has always been a cornerstone of Yard House, we take it to an entirely different level which guests have come to expect.”