Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Annoyed in Brooklyn on a Saturday night

I went to Brooklyn for a friend's birthday on Saturday. We started at Biscuit BBQ, where they seated the 15 of us in their back room, which was also their performance space. The manager told us that we couldn't turn the chairs around from their set-up in neat rows for the band that was due to play at 9 PM. We ignored him and turned the chairs around anyway so we could all talk to each other. At 9 we were asked to move the chairs back, but by then we'd gotten our food and it was impossible to move. The band turned out to be better than I expected, an Argentinian three-man ensemble with clarinet, guitar, and drum box. After the first set, the hostess passed around a kettle and asked for contributions for the band. She said that the cover charge didn't apply to us, but I think everyone chipped in anyway, though I felt like we were being guilted into it. We paid our bill and got out of there before the band came back for the second set -- I got the distinct feeling that both our group and the management wanted us out of the way. We were there for a party, and we brought in a few hundred dollars' worth of business on a Saturday night, but the restaurant made us feel like we were a problem for them.

We took the party a few blocks away to Union Hall, a trendy-looking bar with bookcases visible in the main room and an outdoor patio next door. As we waited outside the bar for a few more people to arrive, the bouncer told us to move to the left, but didn't give us a reason. I moved, and made a comment to my friends about the bouncer, but they hadn't heard him. A few minutes later, he said "Didn't you hear me? Move to the left!" So we moved... to another bar. We went to a small dive bar nearby with its own outdoor patio where we weren't hassled about seats or what we were drinking or anything else.

Aside from the restaurant management and the bouncer, I had a fine time. But I don't think I'll be going back to Biscuit BBQ anytime soon. The food wasn't good enough to outweigh the hassle from the manager.

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