At first glance, The Towne Club (next to Lizard’s Lounge after the new “wall” went up) looks like a chic, inviting little cocktail lounge. If fact, prior to it’s opening after the renovations, I recall reading in one of the ads that it was going to be a “high-end cocktail lounge”. Of course, such a statement raised many eyebrows in this little Gold Rush town.
As soon as it opened, some friends and I decided to check in on this new little spot, complete with comfy chairs and other furniture from The Country House (unfortunately, this furniture store is closing soon). It did, indeed, look very inviting. There are many choices for seating: bar stools at the bar, regular dining tables, high tables and high chairs, comfortable nooks with sofas, sofa chairs, and coffee tables. Very pleasant atmosphere, comfortable, and soft background music. And even though there’s a giant TV screen in one corner, it doesn’t feel invasive.
Being a wine drinker, I anticipated a wine list with a decent selection of wines at various prices. What I got from this high-end lounge was a choice of two very low-end wines: Jackson Triggs (hang on while I run to the bathroom to throw up) and Sawmill Creek (so-so for a house wine). After spotting the owner sitting at the bar, I thought I’d approach him to compliment him on the new place and make a suggestion about the wine list. This was the last time I went there, which was many months ago.
Yesterday, my mom had a hankering for Chinese food. Note to those outside Canada: Unless you’re in certain restaurants in Chinatown (Toronto/Vancouver), Chinese food in Canada isn’t what Chinese people would call Chinese food; it’s the chop suey, chow mein, sweet & sour whatever, and other Westernized dishes. Anyway, like many other Asian foods, there are always sesame seeds or sesame oil in something, which will send my husband into anaphylactic shock. So our challenge was to find a place that serves Chinese food along with other non-Asian choices on the menu. Remembering the menu at our fancy-pants establishment, we decided to go there. Oh yeah, I guess I forgot to tell you that high-end cocktail lounges in Whitehorse have Chinese food on their menu.
We sat at a regular table and the waitress quickly came over to ask for our drinks. I was pleased to see that the wine list had been expanded to a few more wines. We all had menus in front of us, ordered our drinks, and then the waitress asked if we wanted to start a tab.
“We’re ordering food, so yes.”
“Then I’ll have to ask one of you for a credit card,” she smiled.
Huh? Wait…did I hear this right? What, otherwise we’d have to pay for the meal before eating?
“But we’re having dinner! Giving a credit card for a tab is common in bars, not when people are having dinner,” I answered incredulously.
“That’s just regular procedure,” she tried to reassure us.
So, after giving her the “I can’t believe I’m hearing this” look, I handed her my credit card.
Eventually she brought us our drinks and we ordered our food. My wine tasted like it had gone bad, so she graciously brought me a different one and didn’t charge me for the first. For Westernized Chinese food, it wasn’t bad and the portions were huge (we had enough for lunch the next day). My husband ordered fish and chips (again, can’t have sandwiches or burgers and risk sesame). His plate looked like it came from a greasy-spoon diner with a scattering of what looked like McCain’s frozen crinkle cut fries and two small pieces of fish.
And the worse part? I LOVE rock ‘n roll, especially classic rock…but not while I’m having dinner! Pink Floyd, Rush, and AC/DC while having a meal at a high-end cocktail lounge?
In the end, the food was okay, and it’s what I expected. I just find it ironic that the place is so chi chi looking, but the treatment of customers and the atmosphere turns out to be like that of a local bar. There’s sort of a disconnect, a dissonance, certainly not a je ne sais quoi. The owner needs to make up his mind as to what he wants the place to be, and then advertise it as such.
My head is still spinning.