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May 26, 2009 08:35 PM

EatBar: Service is So Bad, I Can't Go Back

The food is wonderful, the drinks inventive and fun. The service is terrible. I cannot justify ever returning after my experience tonight. Have been there several times in the last few months, I live in the area and return semi-regularly, but not anymore. Every time I've gone I've felt like it was a struggle to get anyone interested in serving us. First started going when they opened so gave them the benefit of the doubt, but tonight was just too much. Tonight went with a friend, and being about 7 on a Tuesday, it wasn't very busy at all. Still, we stood at the front of the house for about 10 minutes before someone (from the Tallula side of the house, none of the servers on the Eatbar side acknowledged us) told us to go ahead and seat ourselves.

Basically, every single time we needed anything, from our initial menus, to drink refills, to the check, we had to actively search for our server. Nothing came easy, and I can best describe it as our server(s) (we didn't seem to have a designated one in particular, in fact our main server seemed to also be the bartender/manager?) didn't seem particularly interested in selling us anything. Pretty ambivalent about whether we had all we needed. Fine. I don't need a lot of hand-holding, but I'd like to think as a business they'd like to optimize my purchasing time. I'd have liked three drinks, but it took me so long to get the first two, it just wasn't worth it to wait for the third.

The absolute kicker though was when we got the check (which my friend literally had to again, wave down), and split it. When the server came back with the split check we immediately noticed he'd charged us half as much as he should have (total was $86, our split checks said $23 each). So we had to waive him down AGAIN to correct the error, in OUR favor. He came, made the correction with the barest mumbled, "looks like I made a mistake". At that point I kind of expected some interest in our existence, even a smidge of gratitude. Nope. He even blocked the exit while kneeling to take another table's order, we tried to wait patiently for him to notice us waiting to leave and scoot aside; again- nope, we had to go all the way around the middle seating area to get out.

It's a shame, I love their mini-burgers, something about the caramelized onion mix that I find addictive, and the drinks are great. But the service has just been consistently bad. I can't justify going back to be treated so ambivalently, especially for almost $100 for two people.

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  1. I had terrible service at the bar last month. It was hard to get anyone's attention and we caught one of the female bartenders making snide remarks to a guy bartender about my friend! Plus, I went on a day when it was about 90 degrees outside. They had no air on and it was sooo hot in there!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jacey

      I actually was there this past weekend sunday for dinner and a drink and our service was great, food was great. Maybe I went on an on day.

    2. did you sit at the bar? We have always gotten pretty good service there at the bar. But we usually go at sort of 'off' times. There is definitely a different vibe in there now though with Gina gone...

      1 Reply
      1. re: DCDOLL

        It is definitely different with Gina gone... I have never had really awful service, but I have been going for a few years now and have noticed the service and food dip recently. I also get annoyed that when they changed chefs and updated the menu they didn't bother to update it online. I haven't been to Tallulah since they had the new chef, but I went with the old chef and it just wasn't the same as it used to be. I will have to try it again now with the newer chef. Last time I went they didn't have a salad on the bar menu either, that kind of annoyed me. The drinks aren't nearly as good now. Might have to journey down to Evening Star now instead. The burger is still good, mainly because of meat quality, but it just is different. And with Liberty Tavern now turning out such good food and Eleventh going smoke free I probably won't go quite as often as I used to.

        I think the problem is that they just don't have as much wait staff at the bar as they used to, so now the poor bartender/waiter/runner is slammed, especially on some weeknights when it gets hard to get a table even in the back.