Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Favorite Bar & Grills

Last night I originally planned on taking Madelene out for sushi in the city. We were going to walk around, window shop and take in the vibrant energy of Manhattan. Since she had a customer that held her up, we were running very late, so I suggested a local place, perhaps even an entire different type of place. We went to this bar & grill called The Savory Grill, (more so an expensive upscale restaurant with a pub inside) and sat at the way end. It’s not your typical “pub” either. Mad had a sandwich, while I had a burger plus a few drinks to boot, and it costed us about $60 bucks- but this place is so worth it. We’ve known the owners and employees for years. This place is hopping on a Friday night with such an interesting array of people, ages ranging from late 20’s well into the late 90’s. That’s why I love this bar so much. It’s one of the few establishments that has been around this area for more than 20 yrs. Most places usually close down after five months or so because they just can’t compete, whether it’s due to bad location or simply, just not good enough.

I used to love “fine dining”, until I got older and realized that fine dining is right in my own home. Now I prefer simple bar & grills that offer a cold beer, bar food and guaranteed good times, meeting different people from whatever age range. It’s not so much the food anymore as it is the company for me. This is another reason why I would move to Provincetown in a heartbeat, if it weren’t for the dreadful winters out on the Cape. Their restaurants, even if it’s “fine dining”, offer a pub on the side where you can eat dinner and talk with everyone around you. I guess with the process of maturing, I have become more secure with myself, where I don’t need to hide from people and sit at a table. Different strokes for different folks I guess, but I find it so much more fun when my wife and I can sit back and get the entire bar talking as a group. The energy of getting people out of their shell is just amazing. There is this one bar & grill over in Provincetown, MA called, Bubula’s. We usually watch the Yankee's kick the Red Sox’s ass on their big screen, and then get our own asses kicked by the Bostonites who are drinking with us later on in the evening...just for being New Yorkers. Just think, you can have carpaccio with capers or salmon tartar while nursing or guzzling a cold one watching the game. It doesn’t get better than that. I think more restaurants need to mix up the “high end” and the “low end”. People like their beer, people love their exotic foods - why not mix it up?

Even back in the day when I was a bartender, the most important tip I’ve learned in order to have customers return to your establishment goes back to the old song from “Cheers” - “Where everybody knows your name...” Eye contact - huge! If you don’t know the person’s name, look at their credit card when they hand it to you. Listen to their conversations while serving drinks. A good bartender hears EVERYTHING. It’s not all about serving drinks, it’s about knowing your customer and remembering what drinks he or she prefers. Remembering their name and their “usual orders” means “they care”.  I have gotten to know a great deal of personal data through "listening" to my customers. Be careful what you say sometimes, because bartenders have bionic ears just to learn more about you. We're trained that way. I have three places in my area that I know of, where I would feel completely comfortable walking inside to the bar area, having a drink by myself and not feeling the least bit awkward about it. I know without a doubt, there will be other regulars in there that I’m familiar with as well as the staff to get a good conversation flowing. To me, when you can do that at a bar & grill, you know they’re doing something right.

Well, my entire point of this post is that I had an awesome time having dinner at the bar of The Savory Grill last night. If you have never been there - check out their website and try it out. Every single thing on their menu is to die for and their pub is just a nice cozy place to socialize and meet other great people. Ask for Jennie and tell her Deb & Mad sent ya!