What's a nice way to tell a local craft bar they need to step up their game?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by leedorham, May 21, 2013.

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  1. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    Here's the premise: A place opens up a few years back and has, at the time, one of the most impressive tap lists in town. Fast forward a few years and that place has been surpassed by a half dozen new and/or improved establishments.

    I pop in the other day for the first time in a while and get the whole 'long time no see.' I just laughed it off and ordered a beer but, truth is, it's because they just aren't the place to go any more. They haven't added any handles, they don't seem to be first to get the new releases, and they seem to be switching out their handles much less frequently and opting to stick with several regular offerings.

    What's a non-douchey way to tell a bar owner they need to step it up to keep your business?
  2. Rekrule

    Rekrule Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    "Please step up your game."

    Just don't go there. If they don't care now, I can't see you saying something changing that.
  3. Ri0

    Ri0 Poo-Bah (2,474) Jul 1, 2012 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    Just ask, "Hey have you ever thought about getting X beer, as it is a very highly rated beer and many people seek it out." See what the reply is.
    LMT, Barrel_age_me and Roguer like this.
  4. RandomBattle

    RandomBattle Aspirant (232) Jun 25, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    Buy em out and change it up.
    alucard6679 and Roguer like this.
  5. BKBassist

    BKBassist Devotee (434) Jan 24, 2013 New York

    Yeah just have a conversation with them. Look at some of the brands they carry, see who distributes those brands and see what else they have in their catalog. Bring those brands up in your conversation, talk about how you dig what they have.
  6. YogiBeer

    YogiBeer Initiate (0) May 10, 2012 Illinois

    Talking does wonders. Crazy, right?
    mychalg9 likes this.
  7. ParchedNeedBeer

    ParchedNeedBeer Initiate (0) Feb 21, 2011 California

    Bring in your own bottle of beer. When they question what the hell you're doing, tell them they dont have what you're looking for.
    Bosoxfan20 and Barrel_age_me like this.
  8. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    That doesn't seem very nice.
  9. jl28r1

    jl28r1 Zealot (511) Jan 10, 2011 Texas

    You had the perfect chance to tell them when you got the "long time no see" line.
    Simply say that you like the place but other places in town seem to be more eager to keep things new and fresh. Seems odd that they would not know how many awesome places there are up your way to choose from but maybe they just got comfortable with how things were. You might be doing them a great favor by having a nice and relaxed chat about what you think.
  10. PalatePilot

    PalatePilot Disciple (344) Dec 24, 2010 Colorado

    Let the owners run their bar how they want to run it.

    If there are other bars that offer what you're looking for, frequent them.
  11. Swik

    Swik Initiate (0) Oct 2, 2012 Indiana

    Sounds like you were a regular right? If they value your business they should seriously consider any feedback you provide them. Unless they truly don't give a shit. Just ask the bartender, bet it wouldn't be the most offensive thing they've heard all day. At first I thought you may have been talking about a smaller brewery but if it's just a beer bar their livelihood depends on you buying pints, go up there, suck down some liquid courage and demand better beer, nuff said.
    Bosoxfan20 and KVNBGRY like this.
  12. YogiBeer

    YogiBeer Initiate (0) May 10, 2012 Illinois

  13. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (789) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Is the bar crowded and doing well? If so don't waste your time.
  14. bifrost17

    bifrost17 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Washington

    You don't need to be an asshole if they ask where you've been, just be honest. Tell them that other places have beers that you'd rather drink than what they've usually got on tap. I really doubt they'd take offense to that, especially if it's a beer bar and the people that work there are into beer, they should understand that you just want to drink the best possible beer that's available to you, and if they're not providing it then you're going to take your money elsewhere.
    jl28r1 likes this.
  15. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (4,790) Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Well, since you're in Washington, you could just go the Passive-Aggresive route: "Hey, I heard some asshole started an on-line thread about about about how shitty you guys are. I would never do that, you guys are my favorites!".
    draheim, GFG, JG-90 and 6 others like this.
  16. PalatePilot

    PalatePilot Disciple (344) Dec 24, 2010 Colorado

    What don't you get about that statement?

    Why does the OP feel like he needs to tell someone how to run their business?
    If a bar doesnt have what you want to drink, go somewhere else.

    That's the beauty about a capitalist economic system, if the public doesn't like a product ( Bar ) then the owners will choose to change something on their own, or they will fail.

    I thought it was a straight forward statement.
  17. smartassboiler

    smartassboiler Champion (871) Apr 9, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    The point is that the OP would like to make an effort at a place that he spent plenty of time at before. It's obviously a place the OP used to really like, and judging from his comment here, it's a place he'd enjoy frequenting again if they'd simply offer better beers. There's zero downside to him walking in and respectfully talking up the bartender or owner about why he's started to take his business elsewhere. If they're receptive, maybe he gets his frequent hangout back. Worst case they do nothing, and he goes somewhere else knowing he at least made an effort.
  18. cyclonece09

    cyclonece09 Meyvn (1,158) Aug 5, 2008 Maryland

    Why not just do it with your feet and your wallet? If there are better options, your business there will help to show them something is wrong. Also, if you tell your friends and word starts to spread about the better options, things may change.
  19. OldBluesNewBrews

    OldBluesNewBrews Initiate (0) Oct 25, 2012 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    walk in with two storm troopers, wave your hand a la Obi-Wan and say, "these aren't the beers you're looking for." Then walk out
    ESeab, s_wit, cnbrown313 and 5 others like this.
  20. RWLawman

    RWLawman Initiate (0) Mar 4, 2012 North Carolina

    Be honest, but be nice. I think some of the people here have given good advice. If you're blunt, you'll come across like a prick, but if you sugar coat it just a touch, you'll be fine. I think the best advice on here was just saying something along the lines of, "Hey, you ever thought of getting "x" beer?" I don't see anything wrong with that. Of course, tone has a big part of conversation, so maybe find a tone that isn't sarcastic or degrading, and instead, genuinely inquisitive.

    If you're looking to help them out, and are genuine in your motivation, then go for it. Otherwise, I do think going to the places that have the selection you're looking for may be a good option too. You know the business owner better than any of us here, so the end decision is in your hands.
  21. SammyJaxxxx

    SammyJaxxxx Poo-Bah (1,800) Feb 23, 2012 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Ask the owner if he has ever watched Bar Rescue?
  22. bifrost17

    bifrost17 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Washington

    Oh damn. I didn't realize that we're in the same state. What's the bar you're talking about? Feel free to message me if you don't want to say it publicly, I'm just curious.
  23. bcm75

    bcm75 Zealot (590) Mar 23, 2013 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I run my own business. I would very much like to hear about why potential customers are taking their money elsewhere, if I am doing something they do not like. Maybe I have my reasons for what I do, but more info is always useful and it might change my decisions going forward. The OP is of course free to do what he wants, as are the bar owners in question.
  24. Stugotzo

    Stugotzo Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2012 Florida

    You must be new around here.

  25. bifrost17

    bifrost17 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Washington

    Hahahahaha well of course we're all assholes on here, with the "privacy" the internet provides.
    ironchefmiyagi13 likes this.
  26. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,061) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Supporter Beer Trader

    Who says they are in trouble? It seems quite plausible that they have settled into a niche that is comfortable for them, but just not the Op's cup of tea.
    PalatePilot likes this.
  27. devlishdamsel

    devlishdamsel Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2009 Washington

    Would this establisment be anywhere near the west side of Spokane :wink:?
    If I am correct get in contact with the local distributor and have the distributor talk to the establishment... they are friends and will listen to the voice of reason.
  28. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    Just level with them. "Hey, I'm no business man, and I don't want to be telling you folks what you should be doing with your business, but I gotta say....
  29. mtbeer3649

    mtbeer3649 Aspirant (200) Feb 10, 2008 Washington

    either man up and talk to them face to face or do a google/yelp review. any business worth a shit reads those from time to time to see what people are saying about them.
  30. Madoo25

    Madoo25 Initiate (0) Apr 1, 2013 Texas

    Give em a smack up side de head.
    beertunes likes this.
  31. zestd

    zestd Disciple (363) Jan 18, 2013 Idaho

    Kick in the door wearing Shock swag, turn over tables, run in the cooler and switch the tavern heads around, steal the bartenders tip money and run out screaming "go Zags!"
  32. TheGoof

    TheGoof Initiate (134) Apr 10, 2013 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Talk to them. I am completely shameless when it comes to bitching about/suggesting beers to local bar managers/owners. And it pays off. Two of the best beer bars around me have gotten beers at my request before, all because I was shameless in asking for them.
    rlcoffey likes this.
  33. bpd2001

    bpd2001 Initiate (127) Jun 14, 2012 New York

    Like bcm75 said, most small business owners would appreciate direct feedback from their customers.

    Voting with your $$ might work at McDonalds. But a bar owner might not understand why he's losing customers. Unless someone tells them. Just my 2 cents.
    bcm75 and TheGoof like this.
  34. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky


    I did it with a new place last summer. They did.

    Your situation is different and you should have said something about the time you stopped going regularly, not now.
  35. TheGoof

    TheGoof Initiate (134) Apr 10, 2013 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Yep. Now, I don't think he should mention the bar's selection in relation to others in the area, but he should just talk to them about beer, what he would like to see there, and maybe mention something like "such and such bar has beers x and y... it would be awesome if you could get those and maybe beer Z from that same brewery sometime too."
  36. neophilus

    neophilus Initiate (0) Apr 4, 2009 Massachusetts

    If its only the beer you're interested in just buy it at the store and bring it home, no reason to pay so much for a pint if the atmosphere/staff/food don't really mean much.

    If you like the place but wish they carried beer x or y then just keep suggesting it to them, I'm sure they would appreciate customer feedback. When someone doesn't come back they don't know if it was because the hamburger was overcooked or the bartender cussed them out or something else.
  37. TheGoof

    TheGoof Initiate (134) Apr 10, 2013 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I don't know if it's different where you live, but where I live the selections of what you can find around town on draft are far different from what you can find in bottles.
    beertunes and leedorham like this.
  38. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Same for me. Lots of stuff I drink on draft is only available on draft.
    beertunes and leedorham like this.
  39. mecummins

    mecummins Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2012 Illinois

    The easiest way would be to shoot the owner an email. Just mention that you enjoyed your visit the other night, but the reason you've been frequenting other pubs is their more diverse beer list (or whatever your reason is.) Give them a positive that you enjoy about their place (you like the bartenders, the mood is friendly, whatever) and then mention that you'd probably visit more often if they changed up their tap list with a higher frequency. Be polite and to the point. If the owner has any business sense, he will take your email seriously and be glad of the feedback. If he blows you off, just be glad that you have other options to spent your evenings at.
    Beerontwowheels and YogiBeer like this.
  40. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA Devotee (490) Jan 2, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    If they are loyal to the same breweries they have been carrying from day one maybe they should ask for the seasonal and special releases instead of the regular stuff. No reason they shouldn't be rewarded...
    bjhorvat likes this.
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