I was in a new joint in Florida over the weekend. Well, it's sort of new. It's actually a new bar operated by Boston's on the Beach in Delray and located just next door to it.
Just off a major renovation of its main building late last summer, I guess the owner didn't think there was already enough going on and sank a ton of money into this new joint.
It's called the Sandbar. Get it? The décor is uber cool with sand, comfortable sofas, a big bar and lots of room. It's basically all outside. No clue what was spent on putting it all together, but the big bucks were apparently invested on the décor and not for training the squads of new help.
Spend some time in South Florida and you almost become numb to rude, indifferent service. In fact, South Floridians, for some odd reason that defies all logic, love to be treated like crap by restaurant help. Make a South Floridian stand in line for an hour or more to get into a joint and then treat him like crap once he's inside and you'll have his business for years to come.
Crazy, isn't it? I never understood it.
The evening began around 5 p.m. when my friend Amy and I found two seats at the bar. The bartenders and servers were, by in large attractive, and clad in bikini tops and short-shorts. So far I can't find anything wrong. I am a guy, after all. Then we sat and sat and sat. There were three bartenders behind the bar waiting on roughly 20 people. This bar staff took ignoring us to brand-new heights. Hellooow...nope, nothing.
We probably sat there for 10 or 12 minutes before one of these geniuses tore themselves away from whatever riveting conversation they were having to stroll over and see what we wanted. Once we had our first beers in hand, things didn't improve. Our little group swelled to six and still we were ignored. I'm not exaggerating when I write that they would come over and stand in front of us mixing someone else's drink and never make eye contact with any of us. Six of us are sitting there with empty beers as a bartender makes drinks directly in front of us without so much as glancing at us.
This went on and on and on. It almost became funny -- almost.
Finally a guy bartender -- Phil, I think was his name, but it could have been Randy for all that I remember by that point -- came on duty and actually seemed to be there to, gasp, wait on customers. It was too little too late, however.
Since I first arrived in South Florida 25 or so years ago, I have gone through periods of liking then hating Boston's. I probably went as long as six or seven years once without darkening its door. Believe me, they didn't miss my business. And that's part of the problem: Boston's is one of those places that because of its location -- basically on the beach -- can do a lousy job and still make money. People just go back no matter what.
Recently I've been generally pleased with the food and service, well at least until this week.
Here I am doing a little posing. No, really. This is the third of three photos of basically the same shot. I just really liked this wall. Amy, who has been to the Bacardi distillery in Puerto Rico, tells me this looks just like its entrance. I've been to its distillery in Barbados, but I couldn't pick its entrance out of a lineup. I'm wearing my T-shirt from the Kona microbrewery in Kona, Hawaii. Oh, and the beer in my hand is a Kona Longboard. I love it when a plan comes together.
I like the idea of the Sand Bar and will probably give it another shot. Maybe in the months between my last Florida visit and the next, someone there will take an interest in the terrible service and maybe hold a training session or two. But it is Boston's, so that is highly unlikely.
A fella can hope, can't he?