11 February, 2009

Wine Bar Wednesday, 3.2009: 10 Things I hate about the Franklin Square Wine Bar, Oakland

I hate the way you snark at me,
and the way you're not a Square.
I hate that it's not safe to park my car.
I hate the hostess's glare.
I hate your big dumb wine list
and the way you skip my glass
I hate you so much it makes me sick,
it really chaps my ass.
I hate the way you never seat me,
I hate it when you pair.
I hate it when you make me stand ,
even worse when you make me leave.
I hate the cheese denied me, and your crazy sour flights
But mostly I hate the way you don't care,
not even close
not even a little bit
not even a hair

Okay, so that was paraphrased from one of my favorite movies, "10 Things I hate about you," which inspired me to limit myself to ten things I hate about this place:

First, it's not just me, most of the reviews I saw mention the service as being at best lackluster. My own experience was that they left me to the elements even though there were several seats open at the bar. Finally, on my last approach the hostess came to the door and offered me the seats I had coveted, greasy nose against the window for the previous 20 minutes. "Thanks, but no." My skin blue with cold, I had a thought that given $10 and access to Trader Joe's, I could do better on my own at home. More on that later.

Second, it's not a "patio". It's a strip of sidewalk in an uber urban area where the thumping of bass will infuse your meal

Third, portions/quality to price seems out of whack with the QPR I have come to expect in the East Bay. For $ I want more atmosphere and interesting things.

Fourth, I have failed to be impressed by the wines I have tried here. On more than one occasion. Maybe I'm ordering the wrong things. Or maybe I'm just in the wrong venue. I am not capping on Oakland. Just Franklin Square. Even the flights with some good things have come tied with clunkers. Coincidence?

Fifth: Opportunity cost: If you're looking for a nice wine pairing experience go to Citron. Yes, It's twice the price, but you get actual food and at no time feel herded, ignored, left to the elements, or in danger. If you have any attachment to your GPS, don't park here!

Sixth: If you're looking for a Wine Bar with swagger, checkout Alameda Wine Co. Karen offers a great experience and when you have to wait, you know it's going to be worth it.

Seventh: The only time I ever enjoyed this place I was at a Petit Sirah seminar and let's face it after 10 pours of up to 17% wine, the West Oakland BART station would look cozy.

Eighth: This is personal and not their fault. Every time I try to schedule a visit here, something happens...riots? miscommunication? Reschedule? Yes. If it's going to happen, it will happen when I plan to go here

Ninth: Maybe some of you like snark. If yes, proceed to Cafe Oliveto. At least the food is rocking and the wine list focused on Italian delights.

Tenth: It ends where it begins. If the service sucks (and this service is pure HOOVER!) the rest of the program has to struggle to overcome. It can be done, but in this case, there is nothing worth struggling for.

Affordability -Doesn't matter. You couldn't pay me to go back

Wine list - Interesting. I do like the pours vs. half pours and I love a flight. but on the rare occasions I found a seat, I ordered things I didn't like. I think the only thing I discovered here it that I don't like the place.

Wait staff- Cue "Final Jeopardy" theme music...these girls put the "w-a-i-t" in waitress! And a hint, don't bet too much on them knowing anything about what they're pouring.

Food: It's been so long since I actually got anything to eat here, that it seems irrelevant.

FSWB: Run! Don't walk...to some other venue.

Franklin Square Wine Bar
2212 BroadwayOakland, CA 94612
(510) 251-0100


Xandria said...

Attention all wine bar propiertors: beware the wrath of Liza!!! Never make her wait outside on a cold, rainy evening for her party. That's bad bizness...But I have to agree with her; for my money I would go to the Alameda Wine company, or Zza's Enoteca...

Anonymous said...

Love it, love it, love it!! Love this review because you really managed to convey the absolute ineptitude of said establishment. If only you could review all such sucky places so we wouldn't have to endure them.

Anonymous said...

ouch, I guess reserved bar seats on fully booked Paramount show nights should be handed over to bully bloggers lest they decide to viciously tear down the efforts of a hard-working and pioneering effort like this tiny kitchen and wine bar. How dare Franklin Square try to establish a wine bar in Uptown Oakland??, maybe Liz should stay away from SCARY downtown Oakland and stick to a more predictable milque-toast experience in Rockridge

HP's NorCA PBM Team said...

THanks for your rebuttal Buddha Boy. However I LIVE in Oakland and there are places in West Oakland, like Brown Sugar Cafe that I frequent where I feel more comfortable and safe. Also, We do not do one shot deals fro Wine Bar Wednesday. Usually it's two visits or three. THe FSWB review was an unprecedented FIVE trips. None too good. The feature is there for this reason. If you are settling for this experience, there are better out there. If you are happy keep going there..more sapce for me at nocer places. THanks for your comment!

Anonymous said...

wow five trips and you didn't try enough food to develop an opinion about it? that's a strange method for reviewing a dining experience. reviewers who are not specific about the food, service, or atmosphere shirk their responsibility to present an informative, honest and believable opinion, you didn't mention even ONE specific dish or name ONE wine you tried on your many visits, your "review" is so full of vagueries and obvious bitterness that unltimately this blog entry is less a review of a wine bar and more of a joke.

HP's NorCA PBM Team said...

Dear Buddagow---That's kinda the point. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Buddah boy is somehow connected to FSWB? Also,he's not being very buddha about it all, is he? Maybe he needs to go and sit under a tree for a fortnight or two....

Anonymous said...

I'm not connected with the FSWB and feel that the food there is great, and the owner has the best curated wine list for a wine bar in the East Bay.

We've always had great service and been able to find safe parking nearby, so I don't really know what the original poster is all about, unless she works for a rival wine bar...

Unknown said...

Anonymous---Glad it worked for you. Maybe I chose an off month, but I will never go back.

Anonymous said...

BTW I've had HORRIBLE experiences at the Alameda Wine Co. The owner is truly psycho. That's one place _I'll_ never go back to

Liza said...

Sorry to hear that. I love Karen' s knowledge, passion and stemware. But that is the beauty of diversity---I will take your seat at Alameda Wine Co. I will leave a chair free for you at Franklin square.