Friday evening started out with a much anticipated happy hour at Barrio in St. Paul. I was super excited to check out Barrio in lowertown St. Paul becaused it is a close 3 mile drive or bus ride from my home in South Saint Paul and I like to support businesses going in downtown St. Paul because it is known to be quite a ghost town in terms of any nightlight.
Unfortunately, Barrio was not a good experience. Here are the details:
Barrio's website hours said Friday was open from 11am - 2pm and that happy hour was M-F 4pm-6pm. Libby and I got there promptly at 4pm only to have a woman inform us that they didn't open until 5pm. That wasn't a huge deal, but seemed odd to me that they wouldn't have some information on their website about different hours for their St. Paul location or perhaps it was special hours for the opening week?
The highlight of the evening was heading over to Bulldog to kill time while we waited for Barrio to open. That place is awesome, they had great happy hour specials and great service. I will definitely be going back to Bulldog.
5pm came quickly so we paid our Bulldog tab and headed back to Barrio (next door). The hostess asked us if we would like a table, I said "sure, we're here for happy hour" to which she (very rudely) replied, "we don't have happy hour until Monday". Is it just me or do you agree that it's weird to not have specials available until the week after you open? I thought so and I thought it was annoying that their website (again) had incorrect information. Libby and I were not the only ones who came for happy hour because the couple behind us also asked about happy hour.
I hope I don't sound like a cheapo here but I have had enough bad experience trying out a new restaurant that now I like to check them out during happy hour when drinks and appetizers are discounted rather than dropping $100 on a meal that is disappointing.
Anyway, back to the details:
- Waitress was awesome, no complaints there
- Libby ordered a $9 blackberry mojito, it was not good, way too sweet!
- I ordered a chelada beer cocktail called a bloody chipotle beer and didn't like it. It basically tasted like watered down beer with a tiny bit of tomato juice and way over-spiced.
- Enchiladas and tacos can be ordered a la carte so I ordered a chorizo potato (I think the potato part convined me) and Libby ordered a chicken enchilada. Both good, but a bit over-priced.
- We also shared a "small plate" of mushroom quesadillas. They were horrible! They were so salty that neither of us could finish more than one slice. Ew.
The total for all the above was $40, which doesn't break the bank but also wasn't worth it. I think I was mostly disappointed in the lack of correct information on their website. There has been a bunch of local press about Barrio opening in St. Paul and buzz on Twitter and it just really surprises me that there wasn't a special section on their site calling our different St. Paul hours and specials.
A couple good things I'll say about Barrio is that the decor and atmosphere is cool as hell. It has this semi-dark, romantic, almost goth feel with sexy candelabras and cool Mexican masks on the wall. The second thing is that the presentation of the food was really lovely.
If I was convinced by someone who had a really good experience then maybe I would give Barrio a second chance. So if that person is you (who had a good experience) shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know!
If you are still reading this post, thanks, you're a trooper for keeping with me this long!
Some pics from our Barrio experience, as I mentined above, no complaints about the presentation.