Houston >Food & Dining > Absinthe
609 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX | Directions 7700629.734422 -95.387570
Mon. CLOSED;Tue. - Fri., Sun. 5pm - 2am;Sat. 7:30pm - 2am
Neighborhoods: Central, Neartown/ Montrose
Places to pretend it's winter: Absinthe is generally good for pretending
This use to be a lovely place to have cocktails with friends. Recently the staff has been inattentive and more concerned with self image than customer satisfaction. The last 2 times I have attended were less than expected. A few months ago I walked in with a group a 3. What we walked into was to two 40+ something ladies dancing on the bar, as club music was playing. It appeared to be someones birthday, but It reminded my wife of something resembling a dirty strip club so we abruptly left. (I liked the place so I didn't right the place off, for one evening).
A group of my friends decided to celebrate a friends birthday at this establishment on a Friday night. We were a group of ~15, seated outside in the patio. It was hard to get noticed for service inside at the bar. There were approximately 15 customers at the bar and 4-5 tables outside. So, I presumed the bartenders were busy and waited pleasantly for my turn. I noticed a few times waiting for my drinks to be prepared by the male bartender took longer than average because he was focused on talking some people at the end of the bar. Later, more of the same, the male bartender showed little to no care for the customer, which is not necessarily unusual for a busy bar. Had that been the end of my night, I would not be writing this lengthy review. The last we put in I noticed the dancing. The male bartender was entertaining the same people at the end of the bar, and I now assumed they were his friends. If the bartender is busy, I am ok to wait. But if the bartender doesn’t have time for me because he is dancing like a fool to entertain his friends, I get upset. I received my drinks and back went outside. My friend said he was drunk and had been doing shots all night. A short time later, my friends and I decided to retire as it was close to closing time, and I got up to grab my check.
When I got to the bar to ask for my check I noticed my friend had my credit card. We quickly realized all the checks were incorrect and he was giving credit cards to the wrong people (lucky mine went to a friend). I had to stop the bartender from dancing to an 80’s song, to have him try to fix this. To which he answered “What’s your problem?” Not in an aggressive tone, but with an arrogant one. It took 3 attempts to explain to him that he charged my card for my friend’s bill. He said, “ok,” and started to fix it. He stopped and danced some more; then he got our checks. The bartender was clearly drunk. I chose to leave a 12% tip due to the horrible service. When we walked outside, and my friends and I were getting up to leave. Then the most appalling thing happened. The bartender "crashed" out of the back door and yelled at us “Who gave me a s*** tip?" I tried to explain his service wasn't optimal and he should have received less, and that this is not the way to handle situations. He then threatened us with violence and told us he would "F*** us up if we didn't leave". He scared the girls pretty bad, and we swore of the bar. He continued to follow us out into the parking lot. However, as we were non confrontational, he lost his desire to fight and returned inside.
Before I wrote this message I tried emailing the owners and received no reply. It is sad that a once quaint place turned into a hostile place that cares little about service. Go if you like but be prepared for violence if you do.
Shocking and Appalling
All the awesome places don't have signs – It's dark. And classy. Not in a modern, trendy, hipster way but in a classic, tiny, locals, dark wood .... with no sign way.
They do have absinthe. I love the Hemingway's Revenge [absinthe and champagne]. But I return time and time again for the caipirinhas - a brazilian cocktail similar to a mojito [but better]. And this isn't your average 'bar food.' My faves are the lamb tacos and the garlic and brie quesadilla. The sliders are also fabulous when they have them.
They open at 5 and I get there as close to 5 as I can. I hear it gets pretty crowded with a late night crowd. I wouldn't know - I'm usually in bed before 'late night' hits.
So look for the sign for Bowl, park in the lot and look the old wood door around the corner from Bowl.
Give it a wack. – I went with a small group and it was outstanding. I read all the other reviews and ppl keep saying its too expensive. Look the fact of the matter is your paying for the enviorment and service you receive both in my opinion are outstanding. The staff was very friendly and the drinks....one word delicious. Not to mention the largest selection of absithe I've seen since my travels throughout Europe. I personally loved the place and I would without a doubt recommend it to others.
Only the Hipest of the Hip – I've been going to Absinthe for many years... sometimes by myself, sometimes with a huge group of people. It doesn't matter when you go, weekday or weeknight, the staff is friendly and energetic and they add to the stigma of the ambiance. The music is out of this world, sometimes you walk in and they are playing Michael Jackson's Thiller and other times they are playing something amazing that you've never heard before. Anyone that gives this place a bad reveiw was either 1. Rude and obnoxious to the staff or 2. Just too damn pretentious to enjoy a small lounge that could get a bit crowded and has to wait for a drink OMG. Just sit back, relax and enjoy... and you will not regret setting foot into this Houston treasure.
rdeser – Would you like to see more friends recommendations? Tell them to sign-in with Facebook Connect and youll see their photos and reviews right here on your Citysearch profile page.
THEY RIP YOU OFF! – I've been twice..and it was two too many times for me.
The first time was the night before Thanksgiving, and I guess because he didn't prepare for the crowd. We waited to order a drink for 45 minutes. We were never acknowledge regardless of the fact that we were sitting at the bar area waving our hands. He just straight up ignored us!
I decided to give it a second chance bc the place has great ambiance. I was wrong to do so!
I hosted a bday party and held it there. I invited 50+ ppl. As I ordered their advertised specialty drink (menu available on their online website). I was told two shots of Absinthe was $30.00 when the menu states 10 each. Despite trying to steal from me, I gave him what he told me - thirty bucks, nothing more. He refused to take it and demanded TIP!
So here's his TIP - treat your patrons with respect! Stop stealing from them!
Needless to say, I've never return nor will I recommend it to anyone. Trust me, there are way better places that have a great staff and much cheaper not to mention tastier drinks!
NOT RECOMMENDED....DON'T GO!!!! – Hated it!!! Dont go....not worth it...expensive drinks and it seems unclean....the bathrooms are nasty. Also the waitress and the bartender are rude. Not good for groups either....the place is small with not many places to sit... The waitress thinks she can commit everything to memory...but screws up the order every time....not to mention questionable billing...NOT RECOMMENDED!!!!...
Best Martinis! – This place is wonderful. It is dimly lit and has great music, comfortable couches, and the best martinis I have ever had. Try the chocolate martini...you won't regret it. It is a great place to hang out with friends - and a very romantic place for dates.
Didn't feel it. – I just finished watching a play Friday night, and wanted to have a drink and meet friends out at Absinthe Brasserier. I was wearing Calvin Klein shorts with a polo shirt. The door guy (who looked like he never left the 90's) was wearing all black which looked fated and a black shirt that was tucked out. He then went on to tell me that "It is Friday night, and no shorts are allowed". I thought to myself...wow it's a July Friday night IN HOUSTON at 11 P.M. and it's still 90 degrees out, and this doorguy rather turn a patron away (who was in the mood to drink alot), than get the establishment business. I phoned my friend who was inside the bar and explained to him what had happend. He found it strange because he informed me that he just saw a guy in the bar with shorts and a cap. That to me was funny...thinking this doorguy was loving his power. WAKE UP...you're in Houston, TEXAS. LOL. My friends later told me as they made their exit from Absinthe Brasserie that it was a little sketchy as well.
So bottom line is I am not really recommending this place at all. Houston has many bars who will welcome you.
Satisfies every time – I go have drinks 4-5 nights a week, and this place is great with business associates and work happy hours because the menu has nicer selection of pizzas, panini sandwiches, hummus, etc,,,,,,,respectable menu for a lounge and better than "bar food."
Bartenders will maintain a conversation with you if you are solo, and fact that it has no sign, just the big wooden door is a nice touch and adds this place's mystery and great experience.
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