What Jessie Did Next...

...being the inane ramblings of a mundane Yorkshire bird.

Just got back from lunch after a totally and utterly failed trip to Oracle Bar in Leeds, and I felt that I should document our experience because it was utter bollocks. They actually take quite a bit of money off us in this company – we had the MD’s birthday lunch there last week, and I’ve visited there with other staff as well.

So, we arrived and sat at a table. And waited. And waited. And after waiting for a waitress for a while, one of us goes to the bar and gets beers ‘cos it’s quicker – and find out the reason we’ve not been served is that we’re not “in a food area”. Ok – the food area’s not delineated and there’s no indication but never mind, we move. And wait. And wait. And wait. Eventually we manage to flag a waitress.

“We’ve got 15 minutes – can you feed us two burgers and chips?”
“Sure.” she answers. “Let me just check with the kitchen.”
That’s fair, so off she potters.

Then we get pounced on by another waitress carrying a clipboard – looks like the manager or something asking if we’d been served – yes we have thankyou, at which point she just… ‘hovers’. Then the original woman comes back and says “No, we can’t – waiting time of 20 minutes on burgers.”

So (only having a short time for lunch) we think “never mind” and start finishing our beers so we can grab sandwiches elsewhere (from Yum Yum in fact, highly recommended), and not two minutes later Clipboard-Waitress (who knows we’re about to leave anyway) comes back to say “oh you can’t sit here, you’re not having food.” Mention no fact that there’s another 9 empty tables around us.

There’s an epilogue: while leaving, we got chased by Clipboard-Waitress who attempted to return us somebody else’s credit card. Not sure we’ll be going back there. Anyone got any other suggestions for lunchtime beer-n-burgers?

24 Comments

  1. Yes we go there for lunch a lot and have found out they had to change the system to keep up with the demand as the burger sales have taken them by surprise but they have doen a great job of kicking off that area so a few teething problems wont stop us for great burgers

  2. S’ok – we discovered the Aire Bar across the road, who serve people without looking down their noses at you (10m waiting to get served a beer in Oracle last night, three of us at the bar and four bar staff – so we sodded off again).

  3. Totaly agree. My past experiences of service at oracle ranges from "useless" to "haven’t got a clue what the definition of waitress/waiter is?" I would like to go in the bar and feel like a valued paying customer – not sneered at by a waitress ordering me to sit down instead of letting me get my own drink from the bar(yes this happend to me too)!! I dont expect to feel like a naughty school boy when i’m out enjoying myself. If they are going to impose such stupid rules then at least display them on a large black board so we can all make sure we abide by them!!!??? or… get some staff who are aware of who is waiting and who isn’t.

    Why should we have to sit and wait at a seat with no drink until the staff are ready to serve us? Next time i’m telling them where to stick it and walking straight up to the bar for my pint. Tip: Leave the waitresses to do the food menus and let the drinks be bought from the bar (life made easier!).

    What I want to do in a bar should not be determined by a waitress.

    P.S. Nicks Brasserie is heading in the same direction!

  4. I totally disagree…I have always found the staff there friendly and more than helpful. I really feel for them as staffing a venue like Oracle must be quite difficult with the sheer volume of visitors particulary at this time of the year. Oracle has to be without a shadow of a doubt the best outside drinking space in Leeds if not the north. The food is excellent and reasonably priced.I understand they are experiencing a few problems coping with the volume of visitors and have designated a particular area for eating which i believe to be a sucess. Come on guys give them a break they all work really hard and have some particulary akward customers to deal with…Thank you Oracle for providing Leeds with an amazing new bar….

  5. Judging by the comments, it seems to be pot luck depending on who’s serving and whether anyone can be bothered – nothing to do with the load. Thankfully there are alternatives, especially outside up near the Corn Exchange.

  6. It seems strange you said you were never going back and you went there the next day, perhaps you are better suited up near the corn exchange at the pitcher and Piano or Rehab.

  7. Did I say I was never going back? I said I wasn’t sure. As it was, I was with another couple of colleagues who said "nah you just had a bad experience" and we went for beers before going off after 10 minutes again not being served. I don’t look *that* scruffy – maybe I’ve just got a "don’t serve me" face 😉

    (Which one’s Rehab? The one which is always bashing out that really loud music? I walk through the Corn Exchange and catch the bus from next to Oporto so frequent there if I get there that little bit late, but that seems to be pot luck too…)

  8. In response to Stuarts last entry – have you ever ventured beyond Leeds? If so try York & the numerous excellent al fresco spots, not to mention Ripon & various areas of Manchester. Oracle & its owners/directors have mistakenly believed their own publicity before the venue even opened.

    The truth is they talked the talk but can’t walk the walk. Anyone can throw money at an advertising campaign, but at the end of the day if your product & service is rubbish – this will be apparent to your guests. My own experience of Oracle was shocking – on both visits & I certainly will not visit again.

  9. I believe the phrase is all fur coat and no knickers, Oracle is all about style over substance. And OK, to be fair, it is pretty swish but give me somewhere with a sense of humour and a bit of atmosphere any day

  10. No such thing as a good time here, by the time you’ve finished sucking in your belly, been sneered at by a loser in a suit who says you’re not special enough to be ‘invited’ to the bar upstairs, had private parties gatecrashed by some flannels workers ( cos apparently they’re special enough to do that)hosted an event you cant attend cos you’re under 25 and whilst on a client lunch been asked to move to a table in the shade – there is no need or want to go back! yup – the above really does make me sound how the place makes people feel!

    Nice one oracle staff in your above comments by the way, lol!

  11. Stuart mentioned "have some particulary akward customers to deal with."

    I was one of those akward clients.

    I was quite sunny to begin with, but having to telepathically figure out the ordering system and being move around tables just to be able to order food and then having to wait for ever (2o minutes) for a reticent waitress – now that gets me in that old akward vibe.

    As a person that spent the better part of his life working in restaurants I have learn’t people will put up with a lot and be very forgiving if you communicate with them to start off with.

    The inconsistency of service is not a waiter/ess issue – it boils down to one thing. – Management

    I know of one punter who complained in wrting and got the following back:

    "Life’s to short"

    Now that just an ace example of how not to provide customer service – and this from management.

    The upshot is the place is trendy – and trends fade – hopefully in 2 to 3 years these guys will be forced to think of service as a way of flogging overpriced burgers.

  12. hmm guess the 2 people who have got the hump about the article work there!!lol!!i personally don’t rate Leeds much for a night out – find these modern bars boring and unimaginative and usually full of fakes and fashion victims..get yaself to Wakey or Barns or Harrogate is better than Leeds – small town, better bars – you don’t have to walk for miles to get to the different pubs n clubs as everything is close together. The old venues like Ritzys were more fun than these rubbish new bars trying to be all posh!!

  13. Bad.

    1.They take your orders and forget to bring them out

    2.They serve people with allergies things that they are allergic too, even after apparently checking with the chef("ooh you mean the relish counts too?:-O)

    3.They make you wait on average 50 minutes for your food

    4.After waiting those 50 minutes they bring out the wrong food.

    The above happened on several different occasions and several times over the past few months. I have been a very loyal customer going nearly every week for nearly 2 years because I live next door bringing many friends and family along too, but tonight really was the end of it.

    It is a terrible place to eat, the service is rubbish, the food is hardly ever right; they are too far stuck up their own behinds to bother with the people who go there nearly every week.

    Won’t be going there again!

  14. Went to Oracle today.

    Here is the result
    http://moblog.co.uk/view.ph

  15. thinking of going to the oracle for drinks with friends for a big night out that im planning,and im worried to say the least. maybe the birdcage would be better?????

  16. Lisa i suggest if your lifes about being influenced by others without gaining experiences for yourself and making your own mind up, the birdcage it definately should be. The sheep get well looked after there.

  17. go to the adelphi

  18. oracle has really gone down the pan by the looks of it, i was head chef there up until april 2007. i got out as it was getting worse, if you think treating the customers is bad you should try working for them!!!!!!!

  19. We live just across the way from Oracle and it wasn’t a bad place to grab a burger on a Monday night.

    That was about 18 months ago, when we last visited. In summary:

    Food – awful
    Service – awful
    Us (and everyone I tell about our experiences) – not at Oracle.

  20. Joe Benedict

    May 9, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    We’ve just been taking full advantage of the sun in Leeds City Centre and have visited the few bars with a beer garden… unfortunately, someone suggested we went to oracle thanks to it’s terrace.

    Oracle, like most bars in Leeds were busy this afternoon, but we ended up walking out in disgust after waiting fifteen minutes to not get served – along with five other punters.

    It was important to note that the staff that were on were too busy cleaning the coffee machine and talking about the illicit substances they had taken the previous night. No "I’ll be a minute" or "sorry we’re busy" just ignorance! We’ll be avoiding at all costs from now on (a beer indoors is better than no beer at all!)

    BTW… three comments up ‘Fan’ written by info@lcla.co.uk – doesnt take a genius to realise who you are!

  21. Just been for lunch at Oracle as it was a mate’s birthday, wish we’d seen this first!

    Waited nearly an hour after ordering for our burgers. Unbelieveably bad service, food was typical pub grub quality not worth the price.

  22. The biggest let down on our visit to Oracle was the horrendous staff, they treat customers with utter contempt. We were just there for a drink but the next table for us was a bunch of suits who got tired of waiting for there lunch and left. Hope they didn’t pay!

  23. Second Jen H’s experience; we went for a couple of coffees and despite being several staff behind the bar it still took five minutes before any of them deemed to serve us (they had trouble making a decent Latte as well for the record)

    Such a shame. Oracle is practically on our doorstep but I think I’d rather go some where where they have a clue.

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