Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Last Thoughts | SIFF 2007: Sat Highlights »

Friday, June 8, 2007

Confidential to Havana

posted by on June 8 at 18:08 PM

I got to the bar at 5:30 PM.

At 6:00 PM I left—without having a drink. The place was crowded, but not completely packed, so there’s no excuse. I mean, you’re a bar that doesn’t serve food—all you do is drinks and if you can’t get drinks into peoples’ hands in less than a half an hour… well, what’s the point? There was one bartender and one cocktail waitress on and based on my experience just now I’d say that’s clearly not enough staff for a Friday at 5:30 PM—you know, happy hour, after-work drinks, beginning of the weekend. WTF?

Woulda, coulda, shoulda had two cocktails. Didn’t have one, left without spending a cent. Staff up, would you?

RSS icon Comments


Where's Havana?

Posted by ljg | June 8, 2007 6:17 PM

I also ducked in and quickly ducked back out... but I was also starving and suddenly realized that they don't serve food.

I'm solving the food problem right now, but this is actually a good heads up, Dan: if I'm gonna wait half an hour for a drink, in a loud place where it's hard to hear people talk (I'll confess to a hearing problem), well... not sure I'm down.

That said, thanks, folks, for the offer, and I do sincerely appreciate it, even if I didn't take. If you saw a guy in beige with glasses and a backpack duck in, look around quickly and duck out, that was me.

We can always meet again sometime down the line and, of course, I'll be on Slog.

Posted by Gomez | June 8, 2007 6:27 PM

Cuba, AFAIK. Dan must have pulled strings to get a visa.

Posted by Sachi | June 8, 2007 6:28 PM

The guy in gold lamay and a codpiece, is that Fnarf or the guy from Cameo?

Posted by vegetable lasagna | June 8, 2007 6:40 PM

IIRC, Fnarf is way too white to be the guy from Cameo. WORD UP!!

Posted by Gomez | June 8, 2007 6:42 PM

Dan - The same damned thing happened to me at your beloved Liberty last weekend. In fact, I would go so far to say that my last *three* Liberty experiences have been sub-par (one downright bad).

I hope apathetic service doesn't become a theme in this town.

Posted by Ryan | June 8, 2007 6:49 PM

#6--I'm from Minneapolis, and I hate to tell you this, but apathetic service in one of the first things I noticed when I moved here. Five years later and nothing has changed. Also Seattle: learn the fucking rules of walking down a sidewalk!
p.s. I really do love this city though.

Posted by matt | June 8, 2007 6:56 PM

touch my butt! TOUCH IT!!!

i'm sorry. i just haven't really said anything for a long, long time.

ps---i hate havana. a pretentious twat of a bar.

Posted by adrian! | June 8, 2007 7:25 PM

completely off topic
hey adrian..
i'd've sent you this through your e-mail but couldn't find your address..
have you discovered the pleasures of alexyss k. taylor ?

and here ?

Posted by reverend dr dj riz | June 8, 2007 8:16 PM

Dan & 6 & 7 - That apathy is nearly everywhere here, although it seems to be concentrated around Capitol Hill. Can't explain or understand why (related to "The Seattle Freeze?") but it's almost laughable how shitty the service can be in this city, especially from bartenders.

Worst offenders on the hill: Purr and Linda's. At both, the bartenders (not the waitresses) always seem to be occupied with something way more important than their customers. And when they finally decide to serve you, their attitude is like they're doing you a huge favor. Maybe it's some sort of pathetic power trip.

Posted by thirsty and annoyed | June 8, 2007 8:17 PM

oops.. i mean tYlor.. alexyss tylor..
as you were

Posted by reverend dr dj riz | June 8, 2007 8:19 PM

Havana fucked over the wrong customer... and there'll assuredly be hell to pay.

Posted by charmed and dangerous | June 8, 2007 8:19 PM

10. It's a hipster thing.

Posted by Gomez | June 8, 2007 8:54 PM

Why is this confidential to Havana? Which part is the confidential part? Shouldn't it be posted in invisible ink?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 8, 2007 9:46 PM

They do serve food.

Posted by hunh? | June 8, 2007 9:50 PM

I pretty much hate most bars on the weekend. Its hard to get service, hard to hear, and hard to be left alone with your friends. I ma really not a fan of overcrowded cramped spaces were I have to fight a crowd for a small chance of getting a crappy drink from a surly bartender. Honestly I can have much more fun in my living room with my friends.

Posted by Giffy | June 8, 2007 10:44 PM

@ 10

Me too! Arrived from the Midwest 6 years ago and could not believe the inept and non-existent customer service. These businesses wouldn't last a week outside of Seattle. I'm not just talking about the too cool for words 'hipster' businesses, but even mainstream chain stores. It's like I want to say to the clerks, "no don't bother, I'll ring myself up because your are too busy . . . staring off into space or whatever."

Posted by Seattle Salmon | June 8, 2007 10:56 PM

@ 7

Ditto! In America we walk on the right hand side of the sidewalk. That way everyone knows what's going on, instead this endless clusterf**k that jams up Seattle's sidewalks.

Posted by Seattle Salmon | June 8, 2007 11:10 PM

I have to add that there is at least one bar on Capitol Hill that has some of the most amazing, attentive and talented bartenders I've ever encountered anywhere. But I won't to say where it is, at least here.

If you go out enough and really think about it, you'll know where I'm talking about. The place where the bartenders are not flipping you shit but actually working to impress you. The place where you've probably tried a drink you'd never had before because the bartender actually knows how to make it, because he's an actual bartender and not some dude with a fledgling band or a dyke with a machismo complex. The place where you drink gin even though you always thought you hated it.

Posted by thirsty and annoyed | June 8, 2007 11:44 PM

@ 6 - My friend had a horrible experience at Liberty last Friday. She's had multiple sub-par experiences there before, but this time she said she will never set foot in there again. I'm trying to get her to post on the Stranger restaurant guide, because I think it's a recurring problem there (but I wasn't there, so it's not my story to tell).

I've been wanting to try Havana - and now I know not to bother.

Posted by genevieve | June 9, 2007 2:50 AM

@19: Yes, and interesting to note that it is well off the Pike/Pine/15th/Broadway main drags set.

Posted by Tom | June 9, 2007 6:25 AM

Speaking of Word Up: Cheers to astute observations @ 18 & 7.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | June 9, 2007 8:02 AM

I think I was in Havana once- are they the guys that have a cigar humidor in the back because they used to be a "cigar bar"? It was late, and my friends and I were looking for 'gars (this was before my smoker mom came down w/ pancreatic cancer.)

The cigar expert was very polite and helpful (good since we were each spending $30-50), but the place overall reeked of scenester-ism. I'm not surprised the bartender was aloof.

Thanks for being our secret shopper, Dan!

Posted by Big Sven | June 9, 2007 10:19 AM

Napoleon, with regards to the use of the word "confidential" I believe Dan inserted an oxymoronic adjective into the title of post. It was intended to point out the inherently unconfidential nature of posting to his online minions.

Whether this was done to elicit a humorous reaction from his fans or a threat response from the owners of Havana, or more likely some combination of both, is unclear.

Posted by Big Sven | June 9, 2007 10:29 AM

I never noticed a real service problem in Seattle during my eight years there - some specific places, sure, but not citywide. But I never lived on Capitol Hill and the only CH restaurants I made a point of visiting regularly, Monsoon and the Kingfish Cafe, had decent and very good service respectively.

Posted by Matt from Denver | June 9, 2007 10:29 AM

It seems that the problem was NO service, not SLOW service.

Posted by Du Du Dude | June 9, 2007 10:34 AM

For the most part, I don't mind being ignored or waiting in line:

Line by day, and night by-lines
I ain't got time to
shake - a short -hand
Stick it on out
How Glad became
the name of a trash bag
it's insane
It's typical
and don't forgive me
Just use me to do. I'll even do
a Please Plase Me
If you can't, we're still losing
no time, cancel the show
I'll just stand her in line. Line? next Line? what's my...

Posted by Garrett | June 9, 2007 10:59 AM

there's never a wait at the Wedgwood Broiler's lounge. especially since the career smokers have been exiled.

come on up to Wedgwood! there's enough orange upholstery for all!

Posted by maxsolomon | June 9, 2007 11:04 AM

Wedgewwood is purdy. Fiddler's Inn has cool open-mics too.

Posted by Garrett | June 9, 2007 11:11 AM

Thank God I live in Bellingham. Drinks are cheap and service is fast; these owner-run places know there's 15 other places you could take your business to. The blend of atypical students and people in town makes for a great bar scene. Sure, there's a couple of douchebag bars for the few would-be frat boys that didn't make it in to the UW and their hos, but most bars are holdovers from Bellingham's blue collar days. Small enough of a place to get to know your bartenders, too.

@19- you hit the nail right on the head.

Posted by JakeLunden | June 9, 2007 11:12 AM

In order for a class-12 lounge to keep their liquor license they must serve food, period. They must have food available during the hours they are serving alcohol. So if you ask the snooty hipster bartender if they serve food and they say "no" they are knowingly violating the Washington State liquor laws. The thing is, they have to stop what they are doing and get you food - most bartenders don't like doing that. But everyone who serves alcohol in this state is required to have a liquor permit (which requires them to sit through a two-hour class where they learn that they must provide food to people who are drinking.)
So a little hint...If you are sitting in a bar, and you are hungry and you ask for food and are denied - just whip out your fake Washington State Liquor Board Badge and demand food. Then watch the hipsters squirm. You can tell them later that you were just joking, after you have eaten of course.

Posted by bitter waitress | June 9, 2007 11:15 AM

611 - Good bar.

Posted by tstack | June 9, 2007 11:19 AM

I won't go to Chapel because my experiences there have been just like the one Dan described at Havana.

Chapel sucks.

Posted by duncan | June 9, 2007 6:26 PM

@19: why not say where it is?

@10: I have had the exact opposite experience with Purr. I like the place, and find the bartenders to be friendly and attentive.

@29: I couldn't agree more. I love Wedgewood, especially Fiddler's.

Posted by duncan | June 9, 2007 6:35 PM

OMG. Don't get me started on bad service in Seattle. I've lived here for 20 years, and it drives me NUTS! Especially when you put cash down, and the remarkably indifferent waiter/waitress, without even looking at what you've put down, asks you if you "want change".

Posted by catalina vel-duray | June 9, 2007 8:10 PM

Well, Dan, we had fun, I think you were at the wrong end of the bar.

But if you had said the entrance is off 10th, it would have been way easier to find ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 10, 2007 12:07 AM

oh, and Matt from Denver, you're right - just come over to Fremont and hang out in all our bars with good service ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 10, 2007 12:09 AM

Duncan @33, you beat me to it. Chapel is the worst offender when it comes to slow, apathetic service. But I still love their happy hour.

Posted by spencer | June 10, 2007 12:19 PM

Havana is notorious for under staffing, and even when somewhat adequately staffed, they're still slow as maple sap in January.

Havana gets around the food issue by having an arrangement with Via Tribunali across Pine to deliver pizza. The trick is, not surprisingly, to get the Havana staff to: A. order it; and B. go over and pick it up. We had to do both ourselves when I was there Wednesday night.

And @18 - uh, maybe the issue isn't that people in Seattle walk on the "wrong side" of the sidewalk, but that you've still got a mid-western stick up your as with regards to rules and regimentation.

Get over it.

If negotiating a busy sidewalk is a problem for you, I suggest you NEVER visit New York or Chicago, lest you be immediately trampled to death by people who don't give a flying fuck about which side of the sidewalk they walk on.

Posted by COMTE | June 10, 2007 1:21 PM

You know, given a choice between discussing sidewalk etiquette and hot, spoiled incarcerated sluts, I'm going to have to go w/ Option B.

Posted by Big Sven | June 10, 2007 2:42 PM

You know, given a choice between discussing sidewalk etiquette and hot, spoiled incarcerated sluts, I'm going to have to go w/ Option B.

Posted by Big Sven | June 10, 2007 7:30 PM

One thing we've gotten much better at in the last ten years or so is elevators. It used to be an elevator would arrive, and everyone would try to get on before anyone could get off.

Finally, people have figured out - as they did in other cities one hundred years ago - that you need to let the people off to make room for the new people.

Now THAT'S world class!

Posted by catalina vel-duray | June 10, 2007 9:21 PM

Sorry, # 24--I guess I've got irony-poor blood.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 10, 2007 10:39 PM

I hate to espouse conspiracy theory but crappy service during happy hour is par for the course. If there is no staff, less people drink cheap or eat cheap. I bet there is more staff after 7 when the drinks go up. Your best bet is tip the wait staff or bar tender BIG and order drinks two at a time.

Posted by joana | June 11, 2007 1:46 PM

perhaps people should stop tipping at bars where they recieve poor service. and make a note of it on the tab when you're being rung up.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 11, 2007 2:06 PM

it's not just bars and restaurants....think of all the retail establishments that don't have enough staff for busy times of the's stores, i just drop my shit and go...for bars and restaurants, they get a couple chances then then go on the 'no fly' list...haven't been to Linda's for three years due to the snotty service...22 Doors is inept and always out of stuff...1200 Bistro is pretty lame, too...Purr is chronically understaffed and the drink prices are ludicrous...

Posted by michael strangeways | June 12, 2007 12:55 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 3:44 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 3:44 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 3:45 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).