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Craft beer Market, Calgary....What a disappointment

On paper it would seem that Craft has everything working in its favor. However, our first visit (and likely our last), put all that hard work to shame.

Firstly, the service was atrocious. I understand it takes awhile to iron the kinks out (all 3 of us spent many, many years in the food & beverage industry) , but that is no excuse to wait 10 minutes to be greeted and another 20 min for a drink when there are so many servers they are bumping into each other. To sit with an empty drink for another 20 minutes. The servers themselves add to the overall bad vibe of the place. We witnessed 3 servers fighting over tables, the bartender was telling some friends of our who were sitting at the bar, how hungover he was (as if this would be an excuse for the crummy service), and there was zero menu knowledge whatsoever. I asked what sauce was on the clubhouse sandwich, and our server didn't know. She checked with the kitchen and came back with the answer- nothing, just butter. Imagine my surprise when the sandwich arrived with mustard and mayo, the latter being the exact thing I was avoiding. Later we ordered a glass of red wine-Syrah to be exact which is pretty standard- to which she replied- would you like that on ice?? uhhhhh, no thanks. One has to wonder if there was any training done at all before the doors opened.

The amount of beer and lack of experience just adds to the confusion. Even the most seasoned server would have a hard time distinguishing different lagers apart when they are all served in the same glassware. My friend and I ordered one cider, one Wraspberry ale and those were mixed up on delivery- honest mistake. I drink the latter all the time- and that was not what I was poured. I kindly told the server, to which she brought back to who I found out after the fact was the GM- and he TASTED it, and sent it back to me, saying I was wrong. No thank you, I do not want that pint. She proceeded to bring me a sleeve of a very fruity, sweet beer that was much more raspberry in flavour. It seemed to be so condescending...here miss, you wanted a fruity beer? Try this, it's much more girly. I politely said, Thank you, but that is far too sweet- can I just please have something else?? She brought the beer back to the bar, and we proceeded to watch the General Manager pound back the beer I sent back. The same beer that all 3 of us at the table tasted and drank from. That is beyond gross. We couldn't believe we just witnessed it, from the GM of all people.

The 104 beers on tap- great concept...if there was actually 104 beers on tap. When we were there there we 40ish. Also, having alot of experience in the industry- one has to wonder how it is remotely possible to keep all those kegs (even 40) fresh. There is no new technology out there. One has to think come a month from now, there are going to be alot of unhappy customers with spoiled pints.
We were very clearly not the only ones not enjoying our visit. Everywhere you looked there were customers with pursed lips, looking impatiently around, waiting far too long for their drinks and starving because their food is taking an hour and their server is no where to be found. Everyone looked stressed- like they really wanted to like the place, but Craft is just digging their own hole.

As for the food- it was mediocre at best. Prosciutto flatbread was SUPER salty. Chicken Club, very dry and boring. Fries were cold and soggy on delivery. Food also took an hour to arrive.
Prices are very high, especially for the beer selection, considering they are served in 12 oz pint glasses. I have no problem paying for a pricey pint when everything else falls into place, but charging $8 for a domestic pint with everything being in a state of chaos, just seems cocky.

On the plus side- the bathrooms are very nice. However, only 4 stalls for the entire place. Thumbs down.

We appreciate opening a new restaurant and the kinks that come with that, but in this city where there is such a selection of places to go to, one has to make sure they are on the top of their game from the get go. It is a poor excuse to put forth- "oh give us a break we just opened". I compare to WURST which opened the same weekend- where the service is amazing and food is stellar.

It was a very disappointing visit at best for a pub/restaurant (still not sure what they are aiming to be) that we were very excited to see open it's doors. The way they are operating now, Stampede will eat them alive

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  1. I'll point out the early reviews on Wurst haven't been kind, either. But, as far as the draft goes, with some quality control, keeping them fresh shouldn't be an issue (assuming the bar is willing to eat some spoilage). I've been to bars in the States with far more that 100 taps and seem to stay profitable. Hell, a couple of those changed their selection completely every two days.

    That story about the manager pounding back your beer is disgusting, though. Wild Rose's beers can be rather batchy, so it doesn't surprise me that you may not have believed what you got was the Wraspberry. I didn't mind the place the other night, although there were, as you mentioned, some growing pains to be felt.

    1. Wow....that whole beer debacle is just terrible. I've heard horror stories about the service at this place on opening weekend, but I chalked it up to "opening weekend jitters". However, from reading your reviews, it sounds like it was more due to sheer ignorance & stupidity.

      Anyone have any idea who the ownership group is behind this place?

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