Last Friday, I had planned to hit the gym and have a low-key night with my boyfriend. I mean coming off bartending ElektroPOP! the night before had me still recovering. I was playing around on Facebook, as usual, my feed was a buzzing with posts by Alex Garcia. I usually just scan over them as most tend to be about the Social which has proven to NOT be my cup of tea. But, one popped at me. Theory Vodka Lounge. What the hell was that and why am I just hearing about this now? Oh….it’s Evo, you know, the bar that just closed a few days prior. Needless to say, the ‘NEW’ Theory Vodka Lounge was promoting a high quality vodka-focused cocktail. I had to check this out.
I have to admit, I walked in with a less than open mind to say the least. I was convinced that it would just be Evo with a paint job. I have to say, I was surprised. I didn’t hate it. I am not the type to get hung up on decor changes as you can have the prettiest bar out there, but it boils down to customer service, product quality and consistency in this industry. They did some minor decor changes. I did like the seating change. Let’s face it, it isn’t a restaurant!!! It now lends itself to the art of lounge. I could have sat there and bullshitted with my friends for hours. Comfort is key! I chose to sit in the back towards the kitchen so that I could get a server who had no idea who I am. It is hard to review someone who you have a relationship with. Needless to say, the server approached.
Keep in mind this was promoted as a very soft opening. The server really had no grasp of the menu or the confidence to give the customer that WOW service. Maybe in time he will get there. At any rate, the menu is cute. Very creative. I had 3 drinks from the menu and all were good. No. They weren’t good. They were fantastic! Whoever designed and trained the menu did a fantastic job here. Not a lot of vodka selection yet, but they are getting there. Do you drink bourbon? Well, there is a section on the menu called “Cheating on Vodka.” Will this succeed?
Let’s look at a couple of things here. There are some obstacles that must be overcome. First, this isn’t Evo or The Social. How can Theory get around the brand reputation that has already been attached to the building? My suggestion, narrow your market and hit it hard. The market that was targeted for the Social and Evo will be more difficult to win over. Is the damage done? If I were to market Theory, I would do two things:
1) Target the foodie market in Seattle. The ability to feature such a wide variety of Vodka lends itself to this market.
2) Get an event planner who can book events such as corporate happy hours, birthday parties, cocktail receptions, etc.
In my opinion, for Theory to succeed it needs to distance itself from the Social/Evo’s mistakes. Target a new market and listen to its customers. If they can do all those things, expect to be the busiest ‘prefunk’ spot on the hill. If not, I have a theory about that too!