Friday, June 06, 2008
Bar Louie Woes
Bar Louie is the quasi-newish bar in the Short Pump shopping center that's home to many a CapitalOne worker in the evenings, and promises a "casually cool neighborhood restuarant specializing in oversized sandwiches and signature cocktails." It looks good on paper. It looks even better up close. But its service is god awful.
I remember the first time I went there with some friends, the place was more or less empty, and it was a good 25 minutes between when I was seated and when I got my first drink (yes, I timed). The waiter was pretty green and made a bunch of mistakes, but at least he tried.
This past visit, though, was pretty much unforgiveable. It started out well enough, with a cute waiter bringing up orders pretty quickly. But then the shifts changed, and we got a new waitress, who apparently viewed serving us as some kind of punishment that she was being forced into by her slave masters. She was cranky, iritable, visited our table about once every 25 minutes, and pretty much spat every word she uttered. Once, she showed up at our table with a beer, demanding to know who it belonged to. We didn't even get a chance to look around the table; when no one's hand immediately shot up, she slammed, I mean really slammed, the beer down on the table and walked off in a huff.
The worst part though, was when we went to tally up the bill. The waiter we had at the beginning (the cute one) was doing the standard thing where you keep everyone's check separate. During one of her 25-minute visits though, our waitress dourly informed us that our drink orders were getting too confusing, and that she'd taken the liberty of combining all the checks into one. The resulting conversation was a classic:
us: Wait, the waiter said he'd keep our checks separate.
her: Well, I combined them.
us: Can you uncombine them?
her: I'm not supposed to.
us: Can you do it anyway?
her: No, they're combined now, it's one check.
us: Ok, can we cash out?
her: They're one check.
us: We know, but can we give you cash for specific orders and you'll take them off?
her: They're one check now, I'm not doing that.
us: Well, some of us only have credit cards, we need to be able to pay separately.
her: Well, you're all gonna have to figure that out.
She then proceeded to walk away leaving us all pretty convinced that she wasn't going to get a good tip. After a few more mind-numbing conversations with her, we managed to figure out that she couldn't take off individual orders, but could put individual amounts on specific cards. Why she didn't offer this up front, none of us really know, but at least we had a solution. Or so we thought. Because when we finally got the bill, we discovered that she had given herself an automatic 18% gratuity, and no-way-no-how was this bitch getting 18% from us. Long story short ... two calculators, 3 trips to the ATM, and 15 minutes later, a dozen CapOne analysts had figured out what everybody owed with a considerably-less-than-18% tip, and left it on the table. And then we walked out, pretty adamant about not going back. Which is a shame, because it's such a great location and has a great atmosphere; but can't seem to hire a decent server.