With a majority of Hollywood Studios under major construction, it's nice when we have something new to discuss. Today, I'm going to take a brief look at the brand new Baseline Tap House. This is where the Writer's Stop used to be, and is directly adjacent to the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, to the extent that there is a doorway inside joining the two eateries.
Baseline is part of a new area called Grand Avenue. While this is meant to portray a California feel, to me it can also screams "corner in Brooklyn" but that may just be me. The key here is "corner"- the strip where Baseline sits is a small row of buildings that sit directly across from "Grand Park" that takes you into the Muppet Courtyard. However, this area really only has Baseline as the one place you can enter (unless the stores are in the process of being gift shops). The brick theme is consistent throughout the area, streamlining it seamlessly into the brick facade of the Muppets' Theater.
The menu at the tap house is more extensive in its drinks than in bar snacks, one thing which I feel many of the lounges need to improve. Food wise, you are able to choose from a, pretty large, Bavarian Pretzel, served with beer cheese fondue and spicy mustard ($9.00); Spiced Almonds, sweet and spicy toasted almonds ($6.00); and California Cheese and Charcuterie plate, featuring Toma Farmstead cheese, Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese, Laura Chenel's Sonoma Goat Cheese, Chorizo and Calabrese Salami, cornicons, grapes, and toasted baguettes ($10.00).
The pretzel was a pretty large size and perfect for sharing, with pretty similar dipping sauces as seen in many other places, including Jock's Hanger Bar. The highlight for me was the cheese and charcuterie plate, also large enough for sharing, with a decent helping of the meats. My favorite item was the goat cheese as it was perfectly paired with a topping of cranberries and sunflower seeds (as seen in the lower right corner of the plate pictured above). The amount of food you get is definitely worth the price- I just wish there were maybe one or two other options as well.
Turning to the drinks, this is where the menu is extensive, with many of the available drinks on tap. There are non-alcoholic drinks, including the Blue Sky black cherry soda on tap, and a wild strawberry lemonade. Many of the beers on tap are from California, bringing the west-coast feel to the menu, and are offered in either a 16 or 22 oz. size. Some of the beers being offered now include Golden Road 329 Lager from Los Angeles, North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner from Fort Bragg, Green Flash Passion Fruit Kicker Wheat Ale from San Diego, and Napa Smith Lodt Dog Red Ale from Napa Valley. The most interesting option here is that you can create your own beer flight- choosing 4 beers at a time for 5 oz samples ($10.50)- which is great since, if you're like me and don't really care for an IPA, you don't have to have that in your sampler and waste the money on that drink.
They also have wines on tap- St. Francis Chardonnay and Line 39 Cabernet Sauvignon- and even cocktails on tap- Negroni, featuring Hendrick's gin, Campari, and Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth; and a California Sunset, featuring Absolut berry acai vodka, Southern Comfort, orange juice, and sweet-and-sour with a float of pomegranate juice. I tried the seasonal Ace Space Bloody Orange Hard Cider, which was also on tap, and was a nice blend of the sweetness of a cider and the tartness of a blood orange.
The verdict? An absolute wonderful new gem in the developing Hollywood Studios and something that I will keep an eye on to see what new seasonal drinks (and food) is brought to the menu. With a chill atmosphere, great music, and plenty of outside seating, this will be a great place to recharge before heading off to many adventures in the developing park!