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Jun 21, 2010 07:35 AM

Allen's on Danforth - will never go back

This past Saturday, a group of friends (10 of us) wanted to hang out on a patio have dinner and catch up. When my friend arrived at 5, she was told that for the patio you were only allowed to stay for 2.5hours. So she opted to wait for the rest of us at the bar as to not eat in to our allotted 2.5 patio window. Friends started coming at about 6PM so they moved to the patio. We were a full group of 10 by 6:45PM, we started with drinks and apps and then another round of drinks. We tracked our waitress down and told her that we were ready to order our main meal at 7:45 to which she replied, “are you sure because you have to be out of here by 8:30PM at the latest. We couldn’t believe the attitude and asked if we could convince them to let us stay a little longer since we were about to spend some serious cash (it was Lobster fest by the way, which many of us were going to order) she wouldn’t let us speak to the manager instead insisted on being a go-between. She came back and said, sorry, 8:30PM and you have to leave by this point it was almost 8pm so I called Globe across the street and they said come on over we’ll take care of you. We paid our bill and left Allen’s and frankly based on the rude servers and bizarrely stringent rules we will never come back. I get the rule is there so someone doesn’t hog a table on the pretty patio while nursing one beer and a plate of fries but we were celebrating and I even tried to make reservations (which they don’t take) but told me to come for 6 and getting a table shouldn’t be a problem which is why we started so early. Anyway, I love food and good friends but I’ll never go back to Allen’s. There was a line up of folk waiting to get in so I guess they don’t care their customers more about turning over tables.

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  1. How was Globe? I'm thinking of going there this Saturday night with a group for my bd and want to be on the patio.

    Edit - never mind. I called and the woman on the phone made it sound unlikely that if it's nice out we would get a spot on the patio for 8 people at 8 pm. Back to the drawing board...

    1. Crazy stuff, I agree. I would have been tempted to call their bluff and order my food at 7:45 and have them try to throw me at come 8:30. I hope you left a fat, round tip.

      1. What kind of bar closes any patio at 8:30 in the summer?! Nuts.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Pincus

          I don't think they were closing their patio at 8:30, they were telling this group that they had to leave at 8:30 because they had been there over their alloted time and they wanted to make room for another table. Also nuts though.

        2. a rule is a rule, it sucks you got hit with it, but the policy is understandable, on a Saturday night a busy place needs to flip tables to make any money.

          I wouldn't have bothered with the patio if I knew there was a limit

          10 Replies
          1. re: bbbradk

            Couldn't it work conversely that they lose money because of this policy? A group such as the OP describes could have spent a lot of money. Kick them out so you can flip the table and the next group buys a couple drinks and spends far less money.

            Also, you're ruining the experience for a group who will likely not return and spend further money or who tells other people and those people think it might not be such a great place to go with a group and spend lots of money.

            Part of the attraction of going to a patio on a nice day is lingering and feeling relaxed. I can understand if the group is not spending money and lingering, but if they are spending money, then I think it's a stupid policy both from a financial perspective and a PR perspective.

            I think within reason, certain policies make sense, but what the OP describes sounds a bit unreasonable to me.

            Another example is when I called Globe last week and asked if we made reservations for a group if it it would be possible if we could move to the patio if there was space. The gentleman I spoke to last week said no problem and made it sound like they couldn't promise anything, but it could work out great. When I called today, a lady answered the phone and when I explained what I wanted to do, she gasped when I said it would be for a party of 8. I said why that reaction. She indicated that she thought it would be next to impossible for there to be room for our group at that time on a Saturday if it's nice out. That might be true, but her reaction made me feel like it wasn't worth a shot and I have opted to go elsewhere. I guess it's easy to turn business away in Toronto these days??

            1. re: bbbradk

              But 6:45 - 8:30 is nowhere near the 2.5 hour rule they were first informed of.

              1. re: Full tummy

                They booked for 6, didn't all show up till 6:45 and got around to ordering food an hour later and it's a special lobster fest on a patio on the Danforth on sweltering Saturday night?...I'm with Allen's...I'm sure the people who booked tables for 8:30 would agree...Marimba!

                1. re: Marimba

                  I'm with you, Marimba. Or rather... Marimba!

                      1. re: ingloriouseater

                        Yeah me too, they told you 2.5 hours and that's what you had. A place with a patio like that is prime real estate, you need to coordinate better. Or sure, go somewhere less popular. I ate at Le Papillion on the Park (food, eh...patio, lovely) last Friday for this very reason, I knew it wouldn't be too slammed.

                      2. re: Marimba

                        according to the op they don't take reservations for the patio. but I'm with you anyways.

                        1. re: Marimba

                          Oh, yes, I see, they were on the patio at 6:00. Sorry, my mistake. Should have read it more closely.

                          1. re: Marimba

                            this case is difficult to decide, but I have personally never been treated more rudely and horribly in this city than the couple of miserable occasions when I dined at Allens. I would not take their side on this issue either. The rule is understandable, but I am certain it was conveyed in the most disrespectful manner possible

                      3. I see where you are coming from, but who is to say the next group who is waiting for those tables aren't spending even more money?
                        There are so many variables, so it's hard to guess, but knowing the time limit was there would have kept me inside

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bbbradk

                          a table spends the most amount of money in the first 1 1/4 hrs. After that they linger, talk and spend little (ie. coffee with refills etc). Also larger group spend more time at a table where smaller tables (ideally 2's) spend as much per person and are usually gone in 1 to 1.5 hrs, so they can turn the tables more often and are easier (faster) to service than larger parties.