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of Bookstore Speakeasy - Bethlehem, PA
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"Having visited Tap and Table a dozen or so times in the last few months (and enjoying it immensely) I decided to venture over and try the sister bar in south Bethlehem.
The atmosphere is that of a 1920s Speakeasy. The place is decorated appropriately, and the bartenders & waiters wear attire from the period. On Friday night, an old timey 3-piece band with a tuba player played music from the era, and patrons were jitterbugging and dancing the Charleston between tables. The beer selection and kitchen are just as exceptional as T&T, and while pricey, I don't mind paying top dollar for world class quality beer and food. It really is hard to knock the place whatsoever for atmosphere, beer selection, and food because they are simply exceptional.
The service leaves EVERYTHING to be desired here however. I arrived around 6 PM and retained some bar seats for my friends. Though there were several more empty seats at the bar, the hostess gave my friends a very hard time about allowing them to come in to place at 6:30 and join me at the bar. The house policy is to not allow standing at the bar, however the place was still virtually empty at 6:30 PM. The hostess has 2 jobs: direct people with reservations to their tables and know whether the bar is at capacity or not, and she couldn't even do the latter.
Ordering was a nightmare. We ordered mostly drafts but at one point I ordered a bottle which was never delivered, yet appeared on my bill at the end of the night. When I placed a food order for a crabcake sandwich, they brought out lamb. When my friend ordered a mixed drink without bitters, the bartender never put in the order in and (much) later came over and aksed what she would like next. You would think a bartender would remember a specialty order without bitters. Speaking of mixed drinks, by 8-9 PM the place was at capacity and despite 2 bartenders, they could not keep up with demand. I often went 20-25 minutes with an empty glass because the bartenders were so occupied with making mixed drinks for tables.
The kicker was when we talked to the manager / owner about it. He's a young guy with a pony tail and I have had pleasant experiences with him at Tap and Table, both during regular dinner hours and during a Sierra Nevada beer tasting event. He was very quick to claim that the Bookstore servers were just new, and dismiss our claims as trivial. He did not seem to be very sorry for our experience or want to make amends. A promise for a free beer or appetizer upon our next visit would have gone a long way, but no such offer was made. The idea that "the customer is always right" (even if they aren't) seemed to go right over his head, and I hope he learns this lesson before it's too late.
With expert female bartenders and servers at Tap and Table, I have no reason to go back to the Bookstore. I can get the same high quality beer selection and gourmet cuisine, with outstanding service and easier parking at Tap and Table. "
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