Simple Ideas

Public House

Business | April 4, 2012

The term Pub is short for Public house. I spend a lot of time at pubs. Eat there a lot. But of late, I'm finding a trend among some local pubs that is making them into something other than a public house.

They are businesses on days when they feel like being businesses. Then they are something else on days when they feel like being something else.

The first place on my list is Sea Rocket Bistro as they are the most egregious offender. Any time, night or day, they are quite happy to close down their restaurant for a "private party". They post business hours, but...if someone they like wants to do a private party, they have no problem closing the doors to the general public and deciding that it is "friends only" night. A bit elitist, eh? Can you imagine a real business doing this? Think of a high end eatery in NYC with a significant real estate bill to manage for their storefront. Any chance they are going to shut down one night a year, let alone one night a month?

Of course not. This is a luxury afforded to fake businesses in relatively low rent hoods. Or to businesses that are being kept afloat by a cash flow from mommy and daddy. They only have to run a business now and then and can run a club whenever they feel like it. My policy is to avoid these places, for the most part. I'm sure they are not going to suffer from the lack of me being there, but cumulatively it will take it's toll as people shift from the fake businesses to the real ones. Near me there are 3 real businesses. Luigi's Pizza, Colima's Mexican food and the Live Wire Bar. They are open when they say they are open. I don't think that should be a major competitive advantage, but the more I see them in operation, the more it is to me. I'll go to a place that is open when it says it is, over a place that is open when it feels it.

While I'm blasting South Park, might as well add Alchemy. Much like Sea Rocket, they have good food. But here the issue was the owner. I was down there one evening, saw a seat at the bar and headed there, only to be jerked off the stool by the owner who was escorting two little old ladies to the bar. First come first serve? Nah, who ever the owner likes. I'm not going to firebomb his place, but really, very poor decision making dude. While I might go back to Sea Rocket it would only be on a 30th on 30th, I'd only go back to Alchemy if they were going to sacrifice the owner and filet him for dinner. I mean really, how stupid do you have be to jerk a paying customer off a bar stool? Ok, make that a former paying customer. Actually, that firebombing thing is starting to sound better.

So that is it for South Park. For the most part, my hood of North Park seemed to be immune to this "public business that isn't open to the public" disease. But it seems to be catching on here too. MIHO gastrotruck is scheduled to be at Live Wire from 5:30 to 8 on wednesday. Seems every time I stop there the start times slips further back. It was 5:45 a few months ago. Tonight it was 6. By 6 there were a dozen people in line. Wait a half hour to wait in line? So very Soviet of them! I guess maybe that makes you feel good as the seller, but as you can figure, I'm not feeling good as the buyer. After seeing that trend at the truck, I got beer at Live Wire and a slice at Luigi's.

Even my old haunt Ritual seems to be getting the disease. They closed down New Years for a favored customer. And now they have closed two Tuesday's since then. At least two Tuesday's while I've been in town. In both cases I ended up at Sicilian Slice. A place that has a Tuesday special of a beer and a slice for $5. And, even better, a place that is open when it says it will be open.

I have no problem dealing with businesses that run random operating hours. My surf board shaper is that way. He's open when he's in the shop. Fair enough. And one of my favorite eateries in the US, Arr Place in Oregon puts a sign "OK" in the window when they are open. That is OK with me as that is how they run their business. This is not me being arrogant and telling business owners how to run their business. I know running a business is hard and I am not very good at it myself. All I'm saying is , when you say are going to be open to the public, be open to the public.

If you say you will do something, do it. If your building isn't flooded, on fire or occupied by terrorists, honor your operating hours. Otherwise, who will trust you?


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