The Urban Kitchen – #114 on the Tour

The Bar: The Urban

The Address 225 Shrewsbury Street

The Day and the Time Thursday 8:40

The price 8

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime Yes

What was the type of gin Tanqueray

What was the gin and tonic like Eh. Just eh. Well, I really felt uncomfortable during my seven or so minutes there, so I didn’t enjoy the drink.

The Joint For years this was Coral Seafood, a perennial of Worcester. Now the kids have taken over and made it a charcuterie. The insides are nice and feel like a hip joint (more in a second on that) but the outside they have done nothing. Nothing. They have not taken down the Coral Seafood sign. Instead they put a big plastic banner and hung it over the Coral Seafood signage, which you can see peeking out. That’s an okay stop measure, but this plastic sign has been out there since the end of December, so five months.I’m sorry, but you want to be a serious business, change the damn sign.

The place has a nice design and warm colors. I liked it. Behind the bar was a huge projection screen where they were playing without sound On the Waterfront. I liked that a lot, I thought it was cool. All you need is people to make it good and I know I always hit the wrong times, but I don’t think Thursday at 8:45 is a time to roll up the sidewalks. Really.

General Impressions One of the weirder conversations I have had during this whole thing. Before I went in, I decided it was time to check the place out because I saw through a window people sitting at tables drinking and chatting. When I walked in I realized that what I saw was not the Urban but the window to the coffee house right next door. That place was busy, this place, it was not. There was a bartender and a woman at the bar, who was a waitress who had finished her shift. There were two other people wandering around as well, who from time to time perched like birds at the bar.

The girl at the bar, the waitress, looked at me and started asking me questions in a monotone, that could have been exhaustion or a sense of existential annoyance. She asked me questions in a lackadaisical manner, but still you could tell she wanted answers. Why did you come here?” This is always a strange question. Shouldn’t you be happy for customers, not questioning? I said I was in the area and decided to have a drink (my standard non answer). She asked me what I was drinking. She asked me if I liked gin and tonics, even though I told her I drank them. She asked me if I like beer. What beer do I like. All in a weird bland tone. A medicated interrogation. This was going on for a couple minutes. Then she asked, “Where you before you came in?” I am not quite sure but I took this as the oddest of questions. I paused and then said, “What?” She asked the question again, and I paused and said, “I just walked in for a drink.”

She stopped the grilling and then the two others at the place went back to the bar and apologized to the bartender (their friend) for what happened before, for all the chaos and they hope she won’t get in trouble from her boss. The bartender shrugged and said she didn’t care. What the hell did I miss?

I spoke to Bartender Brian afterwards and we thought that the off duty waitress’s strange behavior could be three things. She could have been hitting on me in the most horrible way possible. She could have figured me out as Dante of Worcester, which we both thought was not too likely. The one we thought is that she just hates waiting tables here and hates the place and is asking these questions because she can’t understand why anyone would want to come to this place that’s totally empty at 8:45 on Thursday.

Amount of Time in the Joint 10 minutes, if that, the waitress at the bar kind of freaked me out. I don’t know why exactly, just that I was looking forward to getting away from her and her robot voice questions.

Will I come back No. Come for the cool atmosphere. Come for the sad emptiness. Come for the lame banner that almost hides the fact that the Urban Kitchen is just a plastic throw over from years of Coral Seafood. Come for the uncomfortable questions from the off duty staff, which is always fun. Yes, do come. No.

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