I'm not a big restaurant critic of any sort. I may have written two reviews in my life for some crazy spectacular experience. And I've honestly never written a bad review about any place in my life. But here's my experience with Loft 610.
On New Year's Eve, my family and friends reserved two tables at Loft 610 to ring in the new year. In order to ensure that we didn't have to pay a cover charge, the VERY NIGHT BEFORE, my brother's fiance called the establishment to see what the cover situation was going to be like.
The person that answered the phone clearly told her that before 10:30 pm, the guys would not have to pay the cover charge of $20 and that the girls never have to pay a cover fee.
The evening of New Year's Eve, we arrived early at 9:50 pm to be well in the clear of the 10:30 cutoff time. The hostess at the stand told us that the cutoff was actually 10pm.
As the guys pulled out their wallets, a few of us took out our phones to prove that, even if a 10pm cutoff was the case, we still shouldn't be charged. The hostess's response was "Well, we've been charging people anyway." Not wanting money to ruin our evening, the men begrudgingly paid $20 each.
At 10:30, the time of our reservation, we asked if our table was ready. One of the managers rudely said to us, "Um, your reservation was at 10:30. It's 10:28 right now." I said to him, "Well, your hostess us charged us cover at 9:50 when the cutoff was 10pm. So if we're going by your clock then our table should be ready by 10:20."
He replied, "Actually, the cutoff was 9pm. Who told you it was 10?" And the hostess who had told us 10pm was standing right next to him. He looked at her, looked back at us, and said "Why did she tell you that?" Clearly there were some major discrepancies concerning the cover cutoff fee.
After all that, we just decided to ignore it and enjoy our evening. When our bill finally came, we had been charged $275 for the bottle of Jack Daniels. When we questioned the manager to see if it was a mistake, he was amazingly rude to us.
He told us that it was our own fault for not asking before we ordered it, and that no one else seemed to have a problem paying that much for it.
Perhaps he thought we were belligerent drunk people on New Year's Eve and could get away with being extremely rude and mean (maybe we'd forget it about it by the next day!), but unfortunately he did not realize that I do not drink alcohol at all, I was just there to enjoy the company of my family and friends. I told him at that point that if the "bottle service charge" was $275, then he should take off the added 20% gratuity on our $422 bill, which made our bill about $500. He told me that he couldn't take off the gratuity because it comes with the bottle service.
I told him we did not want to pay that gratuity, and he replied that he'd "have to call the police." I have never heard of any restaurant manager (and I have worked in high-end restaurants myself) that refused to take off gratuity. Especially even after we told him about what happened with the cover charge confusion earlier that evening, he was still extremely rude and said there was nothing he could do about it. Only after a lengthy, heated discussion, he took off the gratuity charge, but by then our entire evening was effectively ruined.
It wasn't the money that upset us. Obviously $275 is a lot of money for a bottle of Jack, but whatever, it's a lounge/club and you expect that sort of crap when you go. In fact, we actually still ended up giving our waiter a big cash tip because as a former waitress, I know what it's like to get screwed. But it was the way we were treated that night from beginning to end that got us so riled up.
I don't care if the head chef is Tre Wilcox or Conan O' Brien. If they continue treat their customers so rudely, eventually people are gunna stop going.