image I don’t do restaurant reviews.  That isn’t the purpose of this blog, but I have to share an experience that I had tonight.  Looking for a unique place to eat while I am in DC for a conference I went on over to The Dubliner.  They had some Irish cuisine which I typically can’t get in Des Moines.  It was close to my hotel so why not give it a go?

I found the place, it was busy, crowded… I thought this was a good sign.

I went to the server and said that I was a party of one who was here to eat (it’s a pub as well).  She looked around and asked if the table next to the kitchen was ok.  I wasn’t thrilled about it, but I was hungry and didn’t want to wait.  And the I proceeded to have the worst customer service I have ever experienced.  I am not exaggerating.  The worst.

  • My server, Dan (I only found out his name after he ran my credit card), took over seven minutes before even acknowledging my existence.
  • Asked if I was ready to order and seemed to be in a rush.  I asked one question about the Irish Bangers, as I didn’t know what that was.  He said sausages and gave no other explanation of the dish.  I ordered the Guiness Burger which is described as, “Ground sirloin marinated in Guinness and cooked to order, served on top of a potato pancake with Welsh cheese sauce, topped with onion straws.” and then I asked for a water with a beer (I know, I need to repent), Kilkerry Irish Cream Ale to go along with it (no I’m not turning in a receipt for that).
  • I drink my water.  I get half-way through my beer, and Dan brings my plate out… which was supposed to come with a roll and butter, but did not.
  • Oh, I didn’t mention that he just slid the plate in front of me and said not one word in the process and promptly left.  I needed salt & pepper which I noticed wasn’t on the table.  I would have asked, but he was nowhere to be seen.  So I went over to an empty table and took theirs.
  • The dish was mediocre and for what I paid for it ($13.95) I could get a steak or seafood at some places in Des Moines.
  • He never came near enough for me to get his attention, but would walk quickly by… my water was empty.
  • A bus boy came by to get my empty plate, and still no Dan.
  • I waited eight minutes before Dan showed up again, I know this because I decided for amusement’s sake to time it on the stopwatch feature on my cell phone.
  • He then came up and asked, “are you all done buddy” (a pet peeve of mine, along with being called honey or sweetie by complete strangers).  I said yes and then went to settle the bill.  My change should have been $4.65, he brings me $4.00.  I took the $.65 out of the tip I gave (which was intentionally lousy, and I try to tip at least 20% normally).
  • A manager was nowhere to be seen, and I didn’t want to deal with it there.  There was no phone number on the receipt, I had to wait to look it up online at my hotel.  I talked with the manager on the phone and he said he would talk with him, but didn’t seem overly concerned.  Also he did nothing to try to make it right.

The only thing good I could say about The Dubliner was that the beer I had was good, and I was glad I could pirate the neighboring hotel’s wifi for my PDA to kill the time.  Otherwise, if you are visiting DC or live in DC I would recommend that you avoid The Dubliner.

If you are in the hospitality industry – here’s an example of what not to do.

So am I overreacting?  What’s your customer service nightmare?  Can you beat mine?

  1. I hate experiences like that. I really enjoy Clyde’s on 7th by the MCI Center. I think it’s officially called “Clyde’s of Gallery Place” as it’s the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro station that’s about a block or so South.

  2. Shane, I am so sorry to hear of your unpleasant experience in DC. I am a Washingtonian and wish I would have known as I could have recommended a good place. The Dubliner is “known” to have some problems and though frequented by tourists and some on the Hill, I would not recommend either for service or food. I pray you are feeling well after the meal! A good source for recommendations in DC is The Washingtonian and their “very best” list of restaurants. I am in DC this week and would have been more than happy to recommend a good and fun place, which, btw, is a must in DC! Here is Washingtonian’s very best in DC link:
    .-= jacy joypals´s last blog ..Happy April & Spring! =-.

    1. @jacy joypals, I should have tweeted/facebooked asking for suggestions as I’m connected to several people from the DC area. I’m dining with my cousin who lives out here tomorrow night and I’m sure she’ll take me someplace safe. Fortunately, no adverse side effects. I’ll check out your suggestions in case I have to do lunch on my own, as well as, when I am back out this way in May.

  3. The worst customer service I’ve ever had: One time, at what used to be my favorite Mexican place (not in Des Moines), my friend found a huge, long dark hair in her food (she had short blond hair, so it was clearly not hers). We told the waiter, and he looked at her and said, “Ok, so is there a problem with your food then? What would you like me to do?” She asked if she could just have fresh rice, as she had already eaten the main portion of her meal. The waiter acted completely annoyed – even rolled his eyes as he turned away, and probably thinking that we couldn’t speak Spanish, start talking about us RIGHT IN FRONT OF US, about us being picky, etc. Unfortunately for him, I do speak Spanish, and what he said wasn’t very nice. We also couldn’t get anyone to refill our water glasses.

    When my friend got fresh food (they had at least re-done the whole meal), THERE WAS ANOTHER HAIR. They didn’t want to replace it again, and still asked us to pay full price for the meal. I was absolutely horrified by their lack of apology for something so disgusting. And the waiters kept talking about us like we were being unreasonable for wanting hair-free food!

    Needless to say, it’s no longer my favorite, and we have not been back.

  4. Sounds like you were restrained, to me. I know I probably would’ve started acting like my mother about the time he dropped the plate and booked.

    I can’t think of a real customer service thing that was worse than that…My family has a habit of chatting about the “style” of service in places, what they do right or wrong, though, so something would have to be REALLY bad to stick.
    .-= Foxfier´s last blog ..How Much Is This Costing Us? =-.

  5. Shane, Go to Dublin Bay up in Ames. They have good Irish food. Also, you can get (should be able to by now) Iowa-made bangers at Ames British Foods. If you want decent Irish food in Des Moines, come to my house. I’ll make you some although it will be more hearty than gourmet. I haven’t found anything all that good in Des Moines, but I haven’t been to the new pub underneath Sbrocco’s yet.

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