Primebar seems to have everything it needs to succeed. The food is great, they have a wide selection of beer and drinks (I haven’t delved much into the wine), and it is all set in a large, but inviting space. It is missing something, however…it is missing people.
I have yet to be at Primebar when people give the place energy. That’s too bad. This is perhaps the best new place for friends to gather in the Uptown neighborhood in a long time. If you’re tired of fighting the suburban kids on local rooftops, go to Primebar. It might be a stretch to make this comparison, but think of it as Butcher & the Boar on Lake and Hennepin.
Butcher & the Boar has people and an energetic vibe, however, and the other does not. I think that makes the difference. Difference in food, drink, service, and so forth wash out with energy.
If I were Mr. Primebar, I would open the doors a bit more aggressively. They have a lot of space and,some might argue, big shoes to fill, too. The best spot on that corner — Figlio — didn’t mess around. You knew what you would get and you got it in abundance. When I talk to people in the neighborhood, Primebar is still a mystery. As recently as yesterday I talked with someone who hadn’t heard Primebar was open. Primebar quietly opened a couple weeks ago, right? Not the way to open that restaurant.
Where are the specials, the parties? Invite us in with a smashing happy hour and opening events. Remember Figlio’s “2 good 2 be true” weekends? Now I know Primebar isn’t Figlio, but things like this connect with the local bar and restaurant set. It will get people to come in and see what the place has to offer, and Primebar has a lot to offer. Primebar just isn’t creating any buzz.
Primebar could do a better job promoting itself once you’re in the restaurant, too. I have yet to be told about their frequent diner program, for example. I know about it from the website. Servers should be mentioning this to everyone every time. The place is new. This is the when the iron is (supposed to be) hot.
The bar staff does an inconsistent job promoting as well. They should know more about the menu than “everything is excellent.” Overall everything indeed is excellent. A little push, however, might get more food out the kitchen. That would be good for Primebar.
And my pet peeve. Oh, boy. It is a little thing, but it is one of those that drives me nuts. I ordered a beer. $5.50. (I presume happy hour is still in the planning stages.) I gave my bartender $6.00 and never saw him again. What happened to my fifty cents? I was going to tip a dollar — yes, I am a high-rolling big spender — but he decided fifty cents was enough. I don’t like the presumption. And why not ask me if I want to see a menu or tell me about a special or come back and see if I might want another beer?
So I suggest a mix of strategies. Tweak the little customer service things and get some events going to get people into Primebar. I am convinced people will like it. The place offers a refreshing break from the Parasole empire and doesn’t smell like the fried fish over at Stella’s. It also escapes the mayhem downtown and isn’t as parochial as Edina. I can’t compare it with any West End establishments because…well…thats’ the suburbs, right? I don’t go there.
Primebar…here we come! (You’re open, right?)
- Primebar Uptown Minneapolis Update (alittletourinyellow.wordpress.com)
- DeRusha Eats: Birdhouse Combining Healthy, Tasty (minnesota.cbslocal.com)