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July 04, 2010

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Evan- I found your misery very humorous. Never had that happen, but I do wonder if it might be fair to do give the restaurant a follow up phone call to a manager or owner type to verify that this is 'policy' and not just a lazy employee who doesn't want to open the cellar for some reason.

I have, quite often, had the experience of having a restaurant consistently tell me that they are out of a particularly inviting bottle, offering to replace it with a 'better bottle' that is in stock. They do that once, and I give them a pass. Twice and I smell a rat.

Evan,

I've never experienced this and think it would be interesting, just for the sake of knowing, to do as Steve suggests and follow up. I'm struggling with why it would be so hard to 'unlock' the bins; I mean this isn't a bank!

If they were preparing to close...maybe it would fly but all things considered it just sounds very peculiar indeed.

Evan - a sad post. I have never had that happen to me. And as an owner you always want to make sure that your guests and customers have a good time. This sounds to me like a manager who may have made a questionable call. The folks at Bellhurst Castle are smart people. They've set up a top notch establishment and tasting menu.

There must have been a good reason for this. I'd call management. If they do require the bins loceked up by a certain hour, then maybe they need to train their staff to better explain it to their customers. If it's not policy, I can assure you they will want to know.

Carlo - Yeah, I agree. As I mentioned, it's an awesome facility, gorgeous room, great vibe. If they don't serve bottles past a certain time, they should create a separate list. But I guess I'm still left wondering why certain bins would be locked, while others would be open. Seems arbitrary to me, but I've contacted the nice folks at Belhurst and I hope we'll get an explanation.

I'll certainly go back, if just for the wine list and energy alone. I've had family members get married there. We recommend it to out-of-town friends. None of that will change.

I've managed Food and Beverage locations as large as this one, probably a bit larger - this is not at all uncommon. Corporately owned operations, or private ones with a corporate mentality have very strict alcohol access policies. Typically there are only two people, sometimes just one, responsible for the access. The unfortunate staff is left on their own when one or both of these managers is not present. That said, this is still unbelievably lazy on their part. They will tell you that their bottled wine sales plummet after a certain hour, which is true, but there's still no reason to disappoint a customer who wants a product that is advertised for sale. Actually this says much more about the management style than about the managers per se.

To Jim's point, I did wonder if this was not an issue caused by management's paranoia, rightly or wrongly, that the late night staff might steal the good stuff from the bin. That being said, I agree with you that this kind of stuff should not be visible to the customers.

I used to work in the business, not as many wine selections as this place, but in the business. I'm wondering quoting from your article, the bar was absolutely jumping, the process to go unlock and retrieve said wine bottle may have taken a while to leave a "post-wedding" party with an unattended bar? Just another view from an insider.

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