First off, I like this guy’s aesthetic.
As you can tell from The Hub’s website, he has a great eye for urban interiors. He uses a lot of rope, exposed brick and wood and finds entertaining ways to utilize familiar things like these upside down lamps.
Playground shows the same architectural whimsey with a ceiling full of swings
A great outdoor patio set up
And even a rooftop deck that overlooks the city skyline, though it was closed the night we went.
My friend Eric and I knew they didn’t serve full meals but we figured we’d order a lot of bar snacks and get a tapas style meal with drinks. I started with the dirty martini made with pickle juice
It was really dirty and salty, which is great except the food was also super salty. I’d probably order a different drink were I to eat there again. They have a giant list of cocktails so there are plenty of options to choose from.
The food was only ok. We ordered a bunch of different things
Chips and dip
Pretzel blocks with cheese dipping sauce
Cheese and crostini
Pickles with a deviled egg yolk dipping sauce
The fresh baked cookies
And also the sausage and grapes. I thought the quality was ok. The Hub serves much better food so I wish the food quality and preparation at Playground were better. But mostly, I really wish that Playground served upscale kid’s food.
The menu leans towards the Playground idea – a brown bag lunch, pretzel blocks etc. but they don’t totally go for it. How about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the crusts cut off? Or deep fried mac-n-cheese bites and fish sticks? Put jelly beans in the cocktails or serve them in juice boxes. In a bar like this where they call the Happy Hour “Recess,” there are so many ways to have fun with this menu and I don’t think they go the distance. However, I know most people won’t come to Playground for the food and the atmosphere alone is worth a visit.
Overall, I like what Kadence Restaurant Concepts is doing downtown. I hope they open continue their trend of a new restaurant/bar every year and I’m curious to see what’s coming next