It was 6:30pm. We were sitting in the New Kingston shopping plaza for an hour and wanted a drink. One of the participants sand we should go down to Cuddyz . I was surprised and said ‘of course let’s go” . I did not know Cuddyz’ was so close and I am an admirer of Courtney Walsh.
On reaching the place I realized that i had actually passed the place several times but had no inclination to venture in as you could not tell it was a sports bar. Of course the nice glass decal was eye catching, an oversized pic of a football stadium but it could have been an artistic glass cover for a renovation of sorts. Tonight I looked up and saw the word ..in small font..cuddyz! I was not impressed.
We opened the door and an elderly gentleman opened the door from the inside and then closed it behind us. Maybe my expectations were too high but I would have preferred a smiling beautiful VERY ATTRACTIVE young lady as opposed to daddy! No problems with Dad, just a preference.
We waited , and waited no one to greet the party of 5. Finally after some 5 minutes, a young lady came over with menus in hand. 5 minutes waiting for service is like an hour waiting on a train to show up. Maybe she was busy attending to other customers but the acknowledgment that we came in was not there. We told her we wanted just drinks and she politely showed us to the bar.
The bartender, casually dressed with shirt out of pants , a button down shirt so he actually looks undressed, came over and asked for our order but we wanted to take in the place first- feel the vibe and look at the selections so we opted to wait.
The bar was nicely stocked. Beers were visible and so too was the premium top shelf liquor. The bartender didn’t offer us a bar menu as I guess there was one placed on the bar top so if you did not see it you were on your own. The room had a dining area, there was another entrance to the bar on the far side with another door handler.
Now there are some things that you must find in a sports bar. They are like the Holy Grail of the sports bar business. One of the most important prop in a sports bar is the “man toy” you offer for the sports junkies that come to the bar. What are these man toys? LARGE and I mean LARGE screen TV all around the room offering different games so a guy can revel in the bar like a kid in a candy shop. TVs were present, some with bad reception and a projector that should have been off as the projection was so poor you wondered why did they take it from Noah’s arc? Cricket was the main feature on most of the TV’s with one showing the American Baseball all star game and another a football game. TV must be right in a sports bar. The patron is in his virtual stadium. He IS there at the game. So if nothing else is working, make sure all your TVs are working and giving HD reception.
Table games- maybe a snooker table somewhere or some small felt table to play table games, in other words have some BAR GAMES. It gives the sports buffer whose team is loosing something to take his mind off the game. Did not see and we did not bother to ask.
Another necessity is GOOD SOUND- we saw some ugly boxes in the roof somewhere but they were off! no vibes, no energy, nothing to make your blood pump and this is a sports bar! You don’t want to walk into a sports bar and the noise you hear is the tinker and clatter of plates of other patrons eating the food. We have enough of those types. You want to hear good noise. noise from the TV channels and from the crowd that is gathered. And as for music….well let’s just say it was like it seemed like they did not want to wake the baby!
Speaking of food that was good- good choices and clever names. Service was a bit slow but they redeemed themselves in that area.
Comfortable seating is a must in any sports bar unless you want to get your patrons out and you put in dreadful seats. But sports bar patrons are not your average 45 minute customer. He is there for at least 2 hours so make him comfortable. The bar stools were a 5 out of 10.
Finally I asked to go to the mens room. If you want to know if a place is classy, check out the rest rooms. Well it was clean, well appointed with modern fixtures. The smell could have been better but overall I gave it a 7 out of 10.
My first time to Cuddyz but hopefully not my last. Maybe it was a bad night – a Monday night what can you expect? Well let me tell you what to expect – you should expect the same upbeat vibe and energy if not created by the crowd certainly by the staff. This was not so. Seems like we walked into a restaurant, any restaurant. The difference between this and a morgue is that this one had liquor.
Cuddyz is located at the New Kingston Shopping Center. Check it out if you are ever in the city. You may get a better first time experience than I did.