THANK YOU celeriac. This is what I was afriad of. It has always been casual, but I figured the luau would either be great or it would be terrible and I am SO grateful to know that is likely to be the terrible laua that they all are. The service would have made me nuts. Not that laid back, even after some "island time".
We will go for drinks and music, which what I like the TN for especially. Live Hawaiian music is hard to find and they usually have some decent people.
Thanks again for just what I wanted to know.
Yes, I was there last week, and it was truly terrible! The type of meal that inspires stories.
We dropped in because we were in the neighborhood and I'd read good things about it in older articles. The good news is that the main area is fine and could definitely be fun if you want a very chill, convivial place to drink beer and mai tais, listen to slightly-too-loud cover bands and soak up the bar scene. I was pretty excited by the look of the place.
The food was decent for that vibe--think protein (ribs, shrimp, etc) and a simple starch (food service french fries, mashed potatoes or plain white rice) but obscenely overpriced. We're talking $20-30/plate for what is essentially bar food. I love cheap, simple eats, and I know it's a tourist town, but I found the price to quality ratio offensive. Also, not a sprig of green to be found on the main dishes -- that requires ordering a salad, which are also not cheap (maybe $15?)
But the real disaster was the service, and I don't even mind bad service, but it was insane. We wound up eating in their "wine bar" next door, which is a strange concept itself -- different drink options, identical menu (down to the drink options that are actually for the bar next door -- I had to walk over to get my beer of choice) and a much sleazier vibe.
The whole place was being run by one worthless bartender -- the kind of guy that didn't offer one thing himself. We had to flag him down to get menus, order drinks, order food, check on our food an hour later when nothing had arrived, and again to get a check. Every single time. Regardless of whether he was busy or not. He was too busy being hit on by the regulars and breaking his receipt printer, which meant we had to listen to the damn thing squeal for nearly 15 minutes.
When we inquired about food about an hour after we'd ordered it, he explained that it was taking a while because the kitchen had to serve both establishments, which might be a decent excuse if it the place weren't set up to operate that way every night. Throughout the wait he never offered another round of drinks, a glass of water, even a word of apology, encouragement or a goodbye when we expressed our shock on the way out the door.
From everything I could gather (including comments from others at the bar), this is just how the place operates. Between the terrible service, the outrageous prices and the middling food, we found it pretty lousy.