Lessons in Bar Hopping
Friends think I have the Coolest Job Ever. Well, the truth is… I do. Although I don’t get to hang out in bar and clubs quite as much as they think, I hit a few watering holes recently — job requirement — and came face-to-face with the good, the bad and the ugly:
The Bedford in Chicago’s Wicker Park is a newcomer sure to earn a slot on any serious Chicago cocktailian crawl. Downtown, the Hubbard Inn is an eccentric tavern that beckoned me to stay and sip another English Daisy (tequila, lime juice, lavender elixir).
Philadelphia showcased the good and the bad. The Fresh Rosemary Gimlet at the hip Continental Restaurant & Martini Bar was as tasty as our well-versed server made it sound. Afterward, I joined Jon Taffer, who was filming an episode of Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue” at Swanky Bubbles. It was, indeed, a bar in need of rescue!
Next, Denver offered up pre-game energy at The Tavern Downtown. Wall-to-wall Rockies fans packed the rooftop patio, downing beers, wings and burgers while looking out at the stadium.
Back at home, I hit Chop Shop Bar & Grill in Smithtown, N.Y., and discovered a fantastic wine-by-the-glass deal: buy one, get the second for a dime. For $22 plus tip, my cohort and I enjoyed two glasses each — a comfortable price in a classy setting. Later that week, we wandered into Smithtown newcomer Arthur Avenue to find a crowd enjoying a good band. We intended to stay for one drink, but hung out for the entire set and beyond, running a healthy tab in the process.
Finally, the ugly: Broadway Bar in Amityville, N.Y. It’s scruffy and dark; every available wall space is riddled with graffiti and plastered with band posters. Not exactly my style, but kudos for authenticity.
An element of each bar is etched in my memory: inviting ambiance, a delicious drink, a knowledgeable server, a great deal… What are you known for? If you’re not sure, find out. Ask your guests or check reviews on Foursquare, Yelp and other sites. Is their memorable element good or not so good?
Knowledge is power. If you don’t see your business the way your customer does, you don’t have a clear understanding of what’s working and what’s not.
See you at the bar (maybe yours)!