Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Thoughts: Service

We are traditionally at home and thereby feel most comfortable sitting at the bar in dimly lite, cluttered pubs that have well placed television on which to watch the game and a friendly, affable but not too invasive, knowledgeable bar tender pouring us great craft beer. Our favorite Toronto places are quite diverse in atmosphere, menu, and service structure but they all are held as 'favorites' and are visited according to some not-arbitrary but difficult to communicate system wherein we 'feel' like a certain place.

Why do we choose the crowded comfort of Tall Boys on some days? Or the hipster living room vibe of 3030 on others? Or the informal atmosphere of Junction Craft Beer? Or the welcoming atmosphere of Mugshots? These favorite Toronto bars offer us variations of the same feeling – familiarity. We are comfortable and at home in all of these places. But no bar – like no friend – is ideal for every occasion. Your love-able but loud friend, while the perfect choice for a beer festival, may not be the right choice for a visit to the symphony.

This is how we choose which of our favorite bars to have a pint at. Each favorite bar makes us feel at home – the definition of home varying depending on our outlook on any given day.

My recent excursion to Azure made me think about service. The atmosphere at Azure was not one in which I was immediately comfortable but upon reflection this was due primarily to the (mostly imagined) personalities, goals and desires of the other patrons than to the staff themselves. By the end of the night, I had come to appreciate the atmosphere at Azure for a different lifestyle but acknowledged, without judgment, that it simply did not fit my aesthetic – or my sense of 'home'.  

What is the service like in your favorite haunt?

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