I cannot spell, it’s no secret. So because of that I rely heavily on the built-in spell checking on Apple’s OS-X. I have recently found that some more obscure words like ceviche, also an excellent local restaurant here in the Tampa Bay area, is not in the spell checker but it is in the Dictionary application.
The other day Jenny and I met some friends at a restaurant downtown by the St Petersburg pier (on the water hint… hint…) that is henceforth known as the pit-o-hell. I was a little excited to go there for a couple of reasons: First off, I had not been there in quite some time (read: years). But primarily because up until recently Jenny’s ex-boyfriend had worked there and thus the place was off-limits.
The evening started off ok. We got there in one piece, but the whole thing fell apart quickly upon our arrival. As we walked up to the hostess stand we say this fairly unassuming piece of paper taped to the stand. It read, “Sorry, both restrooms are broken. Please use St. Mary’s”. Now St. Mary’s restrooms are public restrooms located across the street. That is not what makes them bad; what makes them bad is the quality of character that hangs out just outside of them. Personally I’m not very excited about getting up from dinner and sauntering my inebriated self across the street into the restroom where Martin the local transient offers you a hummer on the cheap.
Getting into the restaurant; we walked up to our friends that we were meeting and I offered to buy some drinks. The girls went down the way to use some more friendly “facilities” and I made my way over to the bar. I’ve been to some busy bars and clubs and have waited for a bit to get a drink, but never a some bar at a restaurant where they have a 10-1 customer to bartender ratio. I stood there for a good 15 minutes trying to catch the bartender’s eye when one of the guys we were there with come over to the bar next to me. The bartender comes up to us looks at me then looks at him and asks him, “What can I get you?” WTF??
The hostess comes over after a bit of socializing and tells us that the table will be ready shortly. Cool. She failed to mention that we will be sitting (more or less) in the band’s left speaker. So much for any conversation. We order food by pointing at the menu and some well timed screaming only to get suckered into the $25 chicken special.
I get up from the table so that I can go cash out at the bar. Now I’m a little put off. I try to make the best of it and make some small talk while I wait for the bartender to realize that I am in the same geographical vicinity as her. I overhear the conversation of the guys next to me, who appears to be the owner of this fine establishment, about the construction of the awning. I was interested in what it was made of so I make my way into the conversation by asking how old the awning was. As he says “A couple of years.” and abruptly turns his back to me. Wow… another 10 minutes go by and I finally manage to cash out.
The food comes and I was, to say the least, underwhelmed. We get done with our meal and are ready to pay the bill. The waitress (who has done surprisingly well up to this point, given the world class turd of a restaurant that she is subject to employment at) now tells us, “ummm… If you have cash that would be best, because the credit card machines are broken and it’s going to take a really long time because I’m gonna have to write it out by hand.” now keep in mind it was a party of 7 and the bill came out to just shy of $200. Who the hell carries cash around now-a-days? Certainly not me.
So Jenny offers to pay our part on her Visa and 15 minutes later we achieve escape velocity from the pit of hell. Monday comes around and Jenny checks her bank balance and she finds that the charge went through not once, but twice!
In summary: 1 restaurant without bathrooms, 15 minutes @ the bar for drinks, $25 chicken, 10 minutes to cash out @ said bar, dinner for 7 with the band, 1 broken credit card machine, 2x charged for dinner, 1 offer for sexual favors from a bum. And if you have been adding things up the total is 1 restaurant that we can take off of our ‘place to go in down town St. Pete’ list.