« New managers at Bedrock | Main | Federal Hill needs Jumbo Slice »

April 21, 2008

Horrible service at Holy Frijoles

Went to Holy Frijoles (908 W. 36th St.) for a happy hour a couple days ago and had some of the worst service I've ever seen.

The bar was swamped and there was only one bartender.

I could see that ...

But all he had to do was look at people waiting for beers and say, 'Hold on a minute guys, I'm swamped.'

Instead, he just blew by bar patrons, completely ignoring them.

He asked me twice what I wanted in the 10 minutes I stood there waiting for a beer.

The total came to $4. I paid with a five dollar bill.

He held the single in front of me and I snatched it from him and said 'Thanks!'

I was hopping mad, and when I'm hopping mad (which is not often), I don't tip.

Was I justified?

Follow Midnight Sun on Facebook and Twitter @midnightsunblog
Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:35 AM | | Comments (20)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


I agree Sam.

What gets me even more is when the place is swamped, but the bartender(s) is gabbing anyway with someone at the bar. Listen, chat away when you aren't busy, but you still have a job to do.


It's possible that another bartender called out; however, a good restaurant/bar manager will have an emergency list of staff who can be called at the last minute to fill in.

Of course its fine to not tip. And I don't want anyone to say its not his fault... blah,blah,blah --- its not your problem as a customer

I heard that an owner of Holy Frijoles passed away on Friday, so that may account for some of the staffing issues and poor service.

You were justified, but I usually just go to another bar when it's that crazy. You should've ordered 2 beers though.

The word's been out on Frijoles' crappy service for some time now. It also doesn't help that their food sucks. How you can mess up Mexican food is beyond me.

Tim, this was last Thursday.

Jeff, I was so peeved by the time I got the beer I stormed off into the crowd and had other people order for me the rest of the evening.

Last time I ate there I white knuckled it all the way home... Barely made it to the bathroom. Nuff' said.

That's a tough one, Sam. My response that situation is to leave the dollar and head somewhere else. The no-tip is dicey.

And, yeah, Frijoles...I hate to talk bad about the place (it's in my neighborhood, they've been there since the pre-gentrification days, etc) but they could really use some help.

I'm with Sam on this. A bartender ignoring me when I'm looking to order a drink will immediately decrease or eliminate their tip.

Oh and the WORST bartenders for ignoring patrons are the ones at DuClaws in Fells Point. (in my experience)

Isn't this kind of a "hipster" place? Are they known for good service, or just cheap Mexican food while, trying to be cool?

I'm confused by this article as I thought this was known.

Holy frijoles had lousy mexican food way before it was a hipster hangout. The bar itself, when it first opened, was just fine as far as service goes, but saw a surge in traffic due to the Great Hipster Influx of 2006(ish). They should know better than to staff one bartender during an otherwise successful happy hour, there's really no excuse for that.

I was there Saturday night at 6 ... and they were out of guacamole. Classy. Isn't that like an Italian restaurant running out of marinara?

this is not news. the service there is always rude and treats you like they're doing you a favor by serving you the drink you ordered after standing there for 10 minutes waiting to order it. and how rude of you to interrupt the bartender's conversation with his friend. i mean, it's not his job to SERVE you...or is it.

Bad service?? Head across the street to Golden West - too hip to actually serve customers seems to be the approach..have no idea how they have survived for so long

There are some hipster places with good service. Club Charles and Mount Royal tavern. But as a general rule, if the bartender is wearing jeans so skinny that wouldn't fit over your calf, the service sucks.

I swore I wasn't going to comment but I think the margaritas I had at a different mexican restaurant (that also has HORRIBLE service) have gone to my head...anyhow my comment pertains to the person who said "however, a good restaurant/bar manager will have an emergency list of staff who can be called at the last minute to fill in."

I have worked at a Fed Hill bar for 8 1/2 years and thats just naive.(Sorry not trying to be mean!) By the time someone was "called in" the rush would probably be over. And thats if you can actually get hold of someone who would drop everything. A good manager (like all the ones where I work) would be behind the bar serving and helping out. That's realistically what should have gone down. I am a bartender and Im finding it harder and harder to get good service around town. It sucks. But I couldn't not tip. It's bad karma in my biz.

Holy Frijoles a bad dining experience? What scoop will i read about next, Cafe Hon serving meatloaf? I don't know where all these hipsters come from, but I'll avoid the throngs. They've come (and mostly, thankfully) left Rocket to Venus, which "gets it" with mostly good and occasionally memorable food, and fun, attentive service.

Good service at Rocket?! Now THERE'S a real scoop. Honestly though, I will admit that in the last six months their service has become exponentially better than when it opened. It probably has to do with my more frequent patronage (any bar right around the block gets at least some points for convenience). I usually go to Frazier's though.

The trouble with the no-tip is that the server doesn't know if the person is just cheap or if he/she did something to cause the person to not leave a tip. So if leaving no tip is meant to "teach the server a lesson", it is not clear he/she will get the point, and the service won't actually get better.

You'd almost have to leave a note...maybe even with constructive criticism. "I am leaving you this note instead of a tip because you ignored me for 10 minutes. I realize you were busy, but a quick acknowledgment would go a long way in helping me be patient." Just dreaming here...

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Please enter the letter "p" in the field below:
About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

Most Recent Comments
Recent tweets
Sign up for FREE nightlife alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Photo galleries
Stay connected