Monday, January 2, 2012

Rock Bar

This actually wasn’t my first choice for lunch today. The plan was to grab a bite to eat at Sonic Beach a block or so away, but it was so crowded and the servers seemed to be doing little to help the flow of traffic run smoothly. I wound up leaving, and then found myself getting a small table outside here.

My first impression was that there was little to no separation between the two establishments. They looked different, sure. Sangrias has a bar surrounded by plastic wicker tables and chairs, while the Rock Bar is more of a lounge. The staff is the same, there is one hostess station between the two, and both places have the same menu.
I got a table at the Sangrias side. It was a Monday midafternoon, and the place had plenty of people. The hostess was friendly enough, handed me a menu, and promised me that a waiter would be with me shortly. Several minutes pass, with me boredly flipping through the menu, with not a server in sight. The hostess had to come back and ask if anyone had helped me, and when I told her no, she jokingly said “I’ll kill him,” and walked off.
Finally, someone showed up. The waiter apologized, although half-heartedly, and offered some quick explanation that boils down to an employee miscommunication. Totally avoidable, but I at least was able to order.

I ordered a strawberry mojito and a turkey club sandwich. Everything either came out surprisingly quick, of my expectations were lowered while I was still waiting for a server to show up. The menu boasted that this place had the best mojitos in town, and while I haven’t tried every mojito at every place that offered one, I did like this drink enough to consider getting a second. (the cost is somewhat prohibitive, but more on that later.) I did notice that there was plenty of undissolved sugar settling at the bottom, which is why many bars go for simple syrup instead. This wouldn’t bother me as much, as I don’t like a lot of sweetness in my drinks, but surely others might not feel the same way.

The rest of my food was not wholly impressive, but I didn’t come here for an extravagant lunch anyway. The sandwich was made up of thick slices of turkey and cheese with a sizeable pile of bacon, with three slices of bread and mayonnaise.

I definitely can’t complain about the music, either. A Beatles song played when I was sat, and a varied mix played throughout.

Halfway through my meal, I noticed that I was not given any napkins. The tables are all completely empty except for a small flip-through menu for advertising drinks and hookah. Twice I tried in vain to flag down my absent-minded waiter, but after he took my order I was promptly ignored. Another server seemed to be much more attentive to her section, which started just behind me. Perhaps I was just unlucky enough to pick the wrong part of the dining area.
I finally got his attention after having to yell. And no, the music wasn’t to blame as he was no more than three feet from my table at the time. It seemed more that he just wasn’t paying any attention. Once I could get a hold of him, he brought my napkins and check quickly enough.
The menu also warned that an automatic 15% gratuity would be added, and to “feel free to raise or lower this at your own discretion.” Most places add this to large parties, but I as a party of one still had this added to my check. Perhaps this was why my waiter didn’t pay me any attention: he would get paid either way!

I had three dollars added to my check. I know that in a lot of places, the employees pool their tips, and it seems that the waiter was the only one here who dropped the ball today. The hostess was friendly and made sure that I was served, and the bar and kitchen staff gave prompt service. So, I decided to leave the gratuity alone. I still had to resist the urge to laugh when my receipt was given back to sign and the option to tip was presented.

Would I ever come back? Certainly not for food. The mojito was good enough that I would consider getting a seat at the bar and grabbing a quick drink, though only on a special occasion. As you can see above, the drink cost me more than my sandwich. I would also consider coming back with a friend, though also not for food. Go there if you want a good drink, go there to try out the giant margaritas (something I have yet to do), but don’t go there for food.

Rock Bar on Urbanspoon

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