I would never write an entire blog post for a restaurant/bar I’ve walked out of but Agent Jack’s Bar, unfortunately, deserves it. It’s very rare to see that a new bar that launches with 2 outlets has absolutely no focus on the customers. Here’s a summary of what’s wrong with this place –
I visited the Senapati Bapat Road outlet of Agent Jack’s Bar (AJB) on a Sat evening. I was told that it had the same concept as Bar Stock Exchange in Mumbai where the alcohol rates fluctuate basis demand (or an algorithm) and you can get drinks for as cheap as ₹50! I haven’t been to BSE yet so I was hoping this was my chance to experience something unique but I was SOO wrong!
AJB SB Road has been built in the inside section of Sky Bar & Grill which only occupies the terrace section now (or has it shut down? I’m not sure). AJB has 3 sections – a closed seating area, a kind of terrace area with a roof and a small seating area in between the other 2 sections. All 3 have super dingy lighting only fit for a ‘gents’ bar. 2-3 tables were occupied by group of guys but the inside section was empty so I opted to sit there. It took the staff 20 mins to turn on the AC after requesting twice!
I had already downloaded the AJB app on my phone so I powered it on to look at the alcohol rates and bid for a drink. There was no 3G network inside (Vodafone) so I struggled a bit before I could get the app working. I don’t think they’ve even tested all mobile networks inside and they don’t offer Wi-Fi for customers so most people will struggle to use the app to order their drinks!
The algorithm or logic of this app is not the same as BSE. It basically has a rate range for every drink (for eg. ₹95-120 for a pint of beer) and you ‘bid’ for the rate at which you’d like to buy. Now ideally speaking, if you order more quantity of the same drink, it should allow you to buy it at a cheaper rate but it doesn’t – I tried ordering 1 pint at ₹100 which it denied but it also denied 6 pints at ₹100 each. This means the optimum/minimum selling rate is already set and there’s no chance you can buy the beer at ₹95 unless the controller wants you to.
Anyway, I did order a Budweiser Magnum, which I was told was out of stock – after 15 mins! I changed my order and was told KF Mild was out of stock. I was really irritated by then and just ended up ordering whatever beer they had in stock.
Another friend joined us about 30-35 mins into this ordeal and as soon as he stepped in, a guy came over to our table to inform us that ‘shorts’ are against their dress code policy. While I’m not against a dress code policy, I see major issues here –
a) Who is your target audience? If you’re going to open a bar near colleges and in an area where mostly students reside, you cannot have a dress code policy that doesn’t allow shorts! I mean c’mon, I can only think of 3 other places in Pune (all 3 nightclubs) that don’t allow shorts which is understandable.
b) My friend wore shorts that evening as he had an accident earlier in the day and HAD BANDAGED HIS KNEE. In spite of the AJB guy seeing this, he again asked my friend to leave.
There was no way we were staying in that place post this incident so we just walked out. And yes, the beer that I had ordered was still ‘on the way’ until we walked out.
I’ve never been to any other bar or restaurant where I’ve experienced such horrid service. There was no Restaurant Manager on duty on a Saturday evening. The food came from the restaurant next door. Avoid this bar like the plague!