Rattle N Hum
Ratings: 196 | Reviews: 150 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by donniecuffs:
3.55/5 rDev -16.7%
After a trip last week to the Victory promo (thanks for being a great guy and making even better beer, Bill Covaleski), I figured I would update my review of this establishment..but I was surprised to find that I had never reviewed it in the first place. Shame on me...but frankly, I think this was a fortuitous serious of events, because what follows should be a fairly comprehensive account. The quick-and-dirty is this: a once great place that has already...unfortunately...jumped the shark.
First of all, it is extremely important to point out that...on the beer selection/quality front...few beer bars in midtown Manhattan rival this place. Since I first set foot in RNH in March of 2009 (not too long after the bar had opened its doors), Patrick & Co have done an excellent job of procuring a dizzyingly diverse array of quality craft beers, and organizing fantastic promotional events, attended by, in many instances, the brewers/founders of the respective breweries themselves.
The departments where this place lags is in almost every other category, save maybe service, but it wasn't always this way. For the bulk of 2009, I was unemployed, and hence spent many a night..and day..in this establishment. The beers (as mentioned earlier) were always fantastic (e.g. Founders, Speakeasy, Nectar, Troegs, Ballast Point, etc etc etc), the prices were ok (though not glaringly cheap), and the predominantly female staff made up for any lack of beer knowledge with a great attitude. The food...traditional comfort fare like bangers & mash...was modestly above average; definitely not a selling point, but not a detriment either.
Fast-forward to November 2010. Because I am now employed and working crazy amounts of overtime to compensate for the time being out of work, I haven't been able to set foot in RNH since February. You can imagine that I was quite surprised when, upon entering, I was greeted with 'did you make a reservation?' Excuse me? A beer bar that takes reservations? I had not, but luckily, a nice server named Tracey was able to find something for me and my friends. Then I looked around the room, and I had to pinch myself to make sure that I hadn't gone to the Ginger Man by accident...as the place was half-filled with suits. Now, I totally understand that the point of owning a small business is to make a profit, and that in a neighborhood like midtown Manhattan, it's difficult to toe the fine line between the down-to-earth types with little money and the suited types with more money. In all fairness, of course not all suits are bad...only the ones that delight in the fact that they are fishes out of water, and furthermore treat the drinking establishment with an overall lack of respect. Back in March '09, the vibe was great, as it was definitely tilted towards the 'good crowd', but I definitely noted a change in atmosphere upon this most recent visit, more than likely attributable to a distinct shift towards yuppies. To be clear, the vibe wasn't bad, it was just nowhere near as good as it once was.
Then I looked at the beer prices. I had trouble finding a 16oz pour under $7. Of course the argument becomes, "it's Manhattan, stupid"...and I get it...but somehow I have found other respectable bars that seem to have slightly lower prices, and not just because they are sneaking 14oz pours. Anyway, that was surprise #2.
Surprise #3 was the food prices: $28 for 24 boneless buffalo chicken bites, and $24 for 9 sliders. That's over a buck a wing...whereas there are MANY competitors whose prices equate to about 10-30cents per wing...and, while they weren't bad, they certainly didn't taste like the best appetizer I had ever had. Ditto the sliders.
Surprise #4, though a somewhat mixed surprise, was the service. As I had mentioned earlier, a nice young lady named Tracey helped us find a seat, but whenever we ordered our beers, I felt like a racehorse being whipped by the jockey. "What else? Is that it? Are you guys done?" ..this was all repeatedly mentioned, and what was surprising about it was that...I believe...the server was Patrick's wife (Roz?). Admittedly, I found this personally insulting, given the fact that I had spent a lot of money in this establishment when I was out of work, and now felt a general sense of ingratitude. And it didn't exactly help the desired vibe of being able to sit down, relax, and drink some great beers in due time...which is what this place used to be like. Instead, this place felt like it had subscribed itself to the traditional NYC 'churn-&-burn customers' mentality. Maybe it was due to the Victory promo, but regardless, I didn't like it. And what a change..in less than a year.
In summary, the beer quality and selection continues to be outstanding, but the beer prices, food prices, food quality, service, and vibe are all lacking...at least during after-work hours.
11-11-2010 20:49:33 | More by donniecuffs
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Rattle N Hum in New York, NY
95 out of 100 based on 196 ratings.