Knox Public House

Sunday, 20 February 2011
I have dreamed of patronizing the new Knox Public House on Magnolia since I first caught wind of it on Twitter. Imagine my disappointment when the girls decided to stop by one Friday night and we had a bad experience.

The venue is amazing. I must say, the artwork behind the bar is racy but tasteful and the lighting provided just enough glow to make the space feel mysterious. The menu is interesting and consists of bar bites such as bowls of popcorn with truffle oil, dips for chips and cashew nuts to snack on.

We arrived around 10 p.m. and noticed the place was crowded. People were sitting at small tables and at the bar. It was my turn to buy drinks so I found an opening and stood there. And stood here. And stood there some more. There were only three people working behind the bar on a Friday night at a new establishment.

How embarrassing is this? I stood there so long waiting to be served that my friend actually came back up to the bar to ask if I needed help. To add insult to injury, one of the bartenders (large guy wearing a UT orange baseball hat, flannel plaid shirt and large beard) finally came over to me and asked the girls standing BEHIND me for their order. I was horrified. When I finally waved my hand in the air (so rude to do in a bar, I think) after he served them, he asked what I needed. I ordered a gin and tonic for Melissa, 3 beers and a bowl of the truffle popcorn. The bartender said, "We're out of tonic. It'll be a moment," and got the other drinks. Then, he forgot about me. I asked about the gin and tonic later and he brought it right over...while I was still standing there waiting.

The popcorn? It was BURNED (check the picture - see the black??) and there was no taste of truffle oil whatsoever. I watched the guy put a bag in the microwave and pop it. Not what you'd hope from a trendy new spot. I would've asked for my money back but I wasn't about to wait at the bar again.

The positives? Again, I like the venue. Someone later told me the owners poured the bar themselves and it has an amazing look. There's also parking next to Knox Public House. That is such a bonus for people who like to go out downtown where parking is at a premium. I also enjoyed the Gaelic ale they have on tap.

I'm sure I'll be back sometime this summer to try it out again, but for now, I'm sticking with Crown and Goose - a pub with parking, amazing outdoor space, excellent service and a fantastic happy hour.

Melissa (in picture with me), Melissa, Hillary (in the booth in the background to my left) and I still had fun chatting and laughing it up.


Mike Cohen said...

We tried Public House not long after it opened and had much the same expereince. Horrible service...although it wasn't crowded when we were there. They charged me twice for a bottle of wine, but seemed genuinely sorry when I pointed it out. The truffle oil popcorn was burnt. We sent it back. Even redone it is clearly just microwaved.

Denae said...

Hi, Mike. Thanks for sharing. Maybe it's the employees they've hired? Bad service is not excusable! And the microwave popcorn? Clearly time for the KPH to rethink that one. Let's hope we have a better experience next time.

The Food Hound said...

Wow, I didn't comment on the service when I went there the night of the olive oil tasting b/c I thought maybe it was just super-busy due to the event. Nope, looks like the service is just plain bad! We had to wait about an hour to get our tasting platter, as well as more bread when I asked for it. No one asked if we wanted another drink, and no one smiled. I was hoping it was an isolated event, but it looks like they have some work to do! And microwave popcorn??? Really??? You need to tell them about your experience. Then get back to me and let me know what they say!!

Denae said...

The Food Hound - Sad to hear that you had a bad experience as well. I would never want to run an eatery or bar. Attention to detail is a must to keep patrons happy and if people have a bad experience they'll share it. I did tell them through Twitter and the manager said they'd "work on the popcorn and service."