Thursday, May 2, 2013

Restaurant Review: Bar 145°

Bar 145°
5305 Monroe Street; Toledo, OH 43623
(419) 593-0073
Regular Hours: 11:30am - 2:00am
Kitchen Hours: Mon - Thurs 11:30 - 10:00; Fri - Sat 11:30-11:00
Sun 10:00 - 9:00
Happy Hour: Mon - Fri 1:45 - 6:00

Having a preference for bourbon and wanting lunch in the very worst way, I stopped in at Bar 145° the other day in the hope of satisfying my appetites.  I've eaten there several times, and so decided to review the place.  Here's what to expect and why you might want to reconsider your options.
Bar 145° is one of those places that can't decide what it wants to be if it ever survives adolescence.  They serve food, but the menu is filled with odd selections that most people won't recognize.  They have a bar and an extensive selection of bourbon.  They have live music on Tuesday (and probably other nights as well), but I get the distinct impression that the bands may be halfway between someone's garage and the band's third gig.  Let's talk food first.

Today's Lunch Menu
I recommend the Stack Your Own burger.  I've had this and the burger is excellent, if a bit overpriced.  The side orders are good, but not special and portion control is observed.  For instance, the order of house truffle fries was small, far too small for the price.  My order came out in time, but the kitchen could have been faster.

The trouble with the kitchen is that it's not always open.  The food service receives a major focus, and it isn't like the kitchen is some poor minimum wage slave 'cooking' microwave pizza and learning the intricacies of a deep fryer with limited supervision.  The chef knows what he's doing, but you cannot show up hungry and expect to get fed.  It doesn't work that way, and it should.  The bar's always open though, even at 10:00 on a Sunday morning - so you can get a little snort of bourbon just before church.

Most people don't care for bourbon.  I like it, but I'm not most people.  I have been cursed with a fine sense of aesthetics and a discriminating palate.  A few of my drinking companions would argue that this makes me somewhat difficult to satisfy, but I maintain it doesn't.  All that aside, the list of bourbon is good.  It could be better.  For instance, there's no Hudson or Van Winkle, which I can sort of understand and sort of not understand.  The place should stock Hudson.

The best thing about Bar 145° is the outdoor patio.  They bar extends part way into the patio, and there are six or eight umbrella tables available.  There are few things as nice as enjoying the weather during lunch.  So if you enjoy dining outside, Bar 145° is now on your short list.

Outdoor Patio

View From the Bar Outside 

Outdoor Grill
It appears that they may open an outdoor grill at some point, which is likely to eliminate one of the tables.  Too bad, but I think the grill will be a nice touch.

There are two problems with Bar 145°.  The first is the location, which is not the best in the world, but it can't be fixed so there's little use in complaining about it.  The second problem is the service, which can be fixed.

Consider that my last visit (and it probably was my last visit) to Bar 145° happened to be on the first really nice Spring day we've had this year.  When I walked through the door I was waylaid by a corpulent woman with a sour expression who immediately escorted me to the worst table in the entire place - indoors, when the outdoor patio was open.  She made no mention of the patio or even asked if I'd like to eat outside.  The place was practically empty, and since I'm not one to accept substandard real estate when primo is available, I led the way outside - after I noticed that the patio was open.

Once out on the patio I selected a table, and the mouthy little hostess asked me if I'd be joining the people sitting at this table.  I looked at the table carefully and noted that there were no personal belongings at the table and no reserved sign.  I shrugged it off and took a seat at the bar.  The bartender took my order and the rest is history.

About five minutes later a young couple wandered in and chose the same table, sat down and made themselves comfortable.  Again the hostess came up and told them someone was already sitting there; the couple apologized profusely and moved to the bar.  I could see they felt bad about it; they were polite and believed they'd committed a serious faux pas.  They hadn't.

Twenty minutes later some people finally arrived and sat at the table without being asked to move.

The thing that bothers me is that the hostess treated me poorly, then lied to me.  No one was sitting at the table.  This was the hostess seating a few personal friends.  While this isn't the epitome of bad restaurant service, it's close.

The service at Bar 145° is poor, but your mileage is going to vary.  The reason I chose to sit at the bar was because I'd be served by the bartender, not a waitress.  The bartender did an excellent job of serving me and making me feel welcome, for which she received a generous gratuity.

One incongruous item I noted is the advertisement on the web site advising everyone that kids eat free on Tuesday, which is also the night the place offers live jazz.  No matter.  For the life of me, I cannot imagine what this place will look like when Trixie Trailertrash throws her brood into the family pickup and heads on down to the bar for a boilermaker or three and free dinner for the family.

In summary:

  • Ambiance: 5 indoors; 8 outside on a nice day
  • Service: 3
  • Food: 7

Overall rating: 5

1 comment:

Momma Fargo said...

Well, I love good food and I have to have good service. If I have good service, I tip very well. If the food is great and the service is poor... I may not come back. If the food is terrible and the service is good...won't come back. Great review! Found it very interesting.