There aren’t many places I recommend for a dining experience where the game “corn hole” is prominently featured. You know corn hole—a distraction that emigrated from the Midwest where folks toss bags (filled with corn, beans, plastic pellets, etc.) at an angled block of wood that has a hole drilled near the top end. It’s a safer, crowd-friendly version of horseshoes or lawn darts. I’m not sure which addiction came first, but lately I can’t get enough of corn hole, or the place where I’m honing my game, the East Village public space called Quartyard (1102 Market St.).
Quartyard wasn’t built to stay put permanently. But now that it’s being tagged to possibly move along for a high-rise, it’s a sad turn of events. Here’s to hoping an other location is found if that happens.
Built with Spartan, white, retro-fitted shipping containers, Quartyard is a pop-up park—a collection of places to eat, drink, play and relax on what used to be a neglected parking lot near a trolley stop.
The roughly 30,000-square-foot oasis includes a coffee shop, a sausage-centric restaurant, a full bar, lots of picnic tables, a stage area for bands and a fenced-off dog run.
Quartyard’s Meshuggah Shack Coffee Shop opens at 6 a.m. and delivers caffeine through a menu of drinks with names like El Kinky Nut, The Dude Abideth and A Steaming Hot Cup of Shut the F**k Up. Good morning, indeed. The shack’s décor is whimsical; note the back shelves that contain naked Barbie dolls sitting in a bobsled-style seating arrangement; a rag doll with its head cut off and replaced with a coffee cup; and the Polaroid of an old guy’s naked butt.
Food trucks (LouZiana Food, Tortally Tasty, That’s What Cheese Said) regularly line the Park Boulevard side of Quartyard. But the main eatery is S&M, an offshoot of University Heights’ S&M Sausage and Meat, the brainchild of Scott Slater (yes, the same eponymous owner of meat-centric Slater’s 50/50). S&M’s menu features heaping helpings of bacon, and a rotating mix of homemade sausages.
There’s something about eating a bratwurst sandwich at an outdoor festival, or a bustling art walk, that’s become second nature to me. Being at Quartyard has the same ambiance, so I reach for S&M’s brat topped with bacon-apple sauerkraut and whole-grain mustard.
You can scan through S&M’s craft beer list to wash down your sausage of choice, or you can walk over to the shipping container that houses the Quartyard Bar, run by Best Beverage Catering. They’re serving wine, beer and spirits, including locally distilled Old Harbor gin.
On any given Saturday or Sunday, Quartyard might be humming with pre-partiers filling up before a Padres game. The more the merrier. The crowd is always chill, though, it does make for a longer wait to get a spot on the corn-hole courts. First-world problems–ones that hopefully remain.