Cafe Maude at Loring Park

Uh oh…Wish I could have better things to say, but I don’t have much of an experience at Cafe Maude at Loring Park to write about, unfortunately.  First, I have to compliment the remodel.  Quite nice, very warm, cozy, and clean.  A pleasant crowd, too.

But Cafe Maude has that cocktail bar curse.  I have run into it at other places that want to highlight the craft cocktail trend (cf. Eat Street Eatery).  If you’re in for a quick beer at Cafe Maude at Loring Park…forget about it.

I arrived a half an hour before a buddy of mine was coming in and in thirty minutes I talked to a person behind the bar exactly once.  My glass of Fulton IPA sat empty for 10-15 minutes before my friend came in and got the attention of the bar tender.  Yes, I know…I could have gotten the bar tender’s attention, too — in fact I DID try once — but it reached a point where I wanted to see how long I would have to wait.

Also on the negative, when I ordered my beer I asked about the soup, something I wanted while I waited for my friend, and I never found out what the soup was last night.  They must have forgotten.  (It appeared to be a delicious squash soup.  All the entrees I saw looked great.)

Finally, settling the bill took another five minutes.  Rather than wait to run a credit card — it seemed it would take a while — we pulled together some cash and left, still unseen and unrecognized.  Why settle the bill?  If there’s a next time and this happens again, I might not.  Who would notice?

So what was happening?

The bartenders were making drinks, that’s what was happening.  And when they were not making drinks they were talking about their drinks.  It wasn’t a night when the bar was overwhelmed, not on a night when you were as likely to see a bartender leaning on his elbow talking about bitters as you were to see him chiseling away at a block of ice.  Craft cocktails take time…too much time, if it means a patron has to wait fifteen minutes to get another pour of wine or beer.  Nevertheless, it takes much less time to pour another glass of beer, fill an order for soup, or even check in to see how things are going than it does to brag about a new cocktail shaker.

The food was a disappointment, too, but only because I didn’t get a chance to try it.  I had a menu and it appeared that they served food at the bar, but there wasn’t any follow up.  Quickly, this becomes annoying.

Yes, you’re right, I could have been more aggressive and if I really wanted something to eat I would have been more aggressive.  My point is I am not sure a well-run restaurant leaves that on the patron’s shoulders to bear.  I opted to test the place a little last night and it earned a failing grade.

I am sure I will be back, but I will be prepared.  This is a niche bar serving the specialty cocktail set, not a casual stop for the quick diner looking to enjoy a beer or two.  Just a heads up.



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