Friday, August 17, 2012

Review: Tonic Bar

The Rundown:
The City: San Antonio
The Place: Tonic
The  Day: Thursday
The Time: 9:30-10:30
The Review:

I came to Tonic early on a Thursday night, hoping for a few quick drinks before jumping off to hob nob about town. Unfortunately for me, quick drinks were not in the cards.

 Tonic is a rather spacious bar located at 5500 Babcock Road in San Antonio, Texas. Blessed with a large main room for bands, couches along the rear, an intermediate lounge area, a back game rool taht includes pool tables and darts, and finally an exterior porch with its own bar, one would think that Tonic has all it needs to be a success. What was unfortunate about Tonic was not so much its facilities as much as its service. At the hour I arrived there were, perhaps, 15 people about the bar. One gentleman was washing dishes behind the bar, while three women served the patrons. I use the term 'served' lightly, because it became quickly obvious that if you weren't a regular, you weren't being served.
Despite three bartenders, service moved at perhaps a snails pace. There's a chance it moved even slower, as slow as it took for the band to get set up on the stage. This led to a lack of buzz, and a lack of enjoyment. In my hour at Tonic I struggled just to get two beers served. Not mixed drinks, not liquor or margaritas. Two beers.
 The problem arose from a lack of involvement from the bartenders. My main bartender became occupied on the other side of the bar with other customers, fair enough. That's understandable. However, you still can't excuse the lack of attention to a patron when there were so few customers. The frustration would not have been so high if the other bartenders had helped pick up the slack. One disappeared for almost the entirety of the hour. The other, a woman who seemed to be in charge of things behind the bar, busied herself with conversations she conducted with a regular and the dishwasher. She was perhaps five feet away from me but never paid attention to my beer. Bloody hell, she never even said hello.

It's not the first time I've seen this woman, and each time she has consistently had a bad attitude that can be felt around the bar. She rarely seems happy and while I respect her desire to stick to her work, she rides the other bartenders but produces little effect. Paired with her own failure to properly serve the bar, it just comes across as hypocritical.
I can't speak for the food and won't attempt to make a judgment based on it, and I didn't get any liquor so I won't make a call based on their mixing skills. However, the most important aspect of any restaurant or bar is service. When the night grows old and the evening gets hectic, you can understand a lack of attention. You can see the bartenders struggling to keep up and know they're doing their job. However, when you can't get a simple beer, there's a problem in its service.

Overall? Bad service, in what can be a great establishment. There's so much room here and so much potential. They have various events from time to time, such as all day music concerts with live bands. They also have something called "Porneoke", karaoke with porn playing behind the singers. I understand they've also had jello wrestling and such, but I wonder if these events are designed to bring in as many people as possible in lieu of their inability to be able to win customers via great service. It's a shame. They should be able to do so much more with this place.

The Final Call:
Facilities: 4/5
Staff: 2/5
Service: 2/5
Drinks: N/A
Food: N/A

Overall: 2/5

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