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Review from Citysearch

Doesn't Recommend
Jim Jon

Concertgoers beware!. I purchased tickets to see my favorite singer/songwriter Dan Bern at Tin Angel in February 2011. I'm not from Philadelphia (I live in Long Island NY). I’ve seen concerts in basically every small, medium & large venue in the Northeast, including the same artist at similar sized venues like Puck in Doylestown PA and Club Passim in Cambridge MA, among others. Tickets were a bit pricey at $22, but I purchased them nonetheless. About 1 month later, the venue announced there would be two separately ticketed sets, one at 7:30PM and another at 10:30PM. Apparently my original tickets were for the 7:30PM showing, but in calling the venue I was able to change these quite easily to the 10:30PM event. Before traveling to Philly, I’d read reviews of the Serrano restaurant online. Most of these claimed the food was overpriced and not particularly good. With this in mind, I sought to make a late reservation at Serrano (for drinks and appetizers only)... After multiple calls to Tin Angel and after consulting their website, we ultimately were told that we needed to dine at the restaurant before the show to guarantee getting a reserved table upstairs for the concert. The exact website policy states: "SEATING - Unreserved except for Serrano diners. Reserved seats are assigned based on the order in which dinner reservations are made, and only available for those diners who honor their reservations in a full and timely manner." As you can see, it's not entirely clear how much you’d need to spend at Serrano to “honor your reservation in a full manner” in order to secure this reserved seating. Again, based on internet reviews, we were weary of eating there. The restaurant people kept telling us we should make an 830PM reservation for a 1030PM show, which seems like a long time to be eating.... I lied to the restaurant & said that we wouldn’t be getting into town until 9PM. They let us bump the reservation to 9PM. We showed up to Serrano on time, had 1 drink, and were ready to order some food – we planned to order 2 entrées & 1 appetizer between 4 people (after having gotten 4 drinks). The waiter then told us we needed to order either an entrée per person or two appetizers per person to be eligible for the reserved upstairs seating! Naturally, we were quite upset with this, given the ample opportunities this could have been explained (over several phone calls, or simply stated on the website). Since we were there primarily for the concert & felt we needed the reserved table upstairs, we obviously would've made plans to bite the bullet & eat dinner at Serrano had we known about this minimum food purchase...(instead of eating down the block at Khyber Pass - a great beer & food bar!). At that point, we grew disgusted and didn’t order any food. I even offered to bribe the waiter $50 to secure us the reserved table for the concert – my offer was unfortunately rejected, so we finished our drinks and waited on the stairs to be let into the concert. Luckily, the person who sat us at the Serrano restaurant table gave us a slip for reserved seating before we had even sat down, so we managed to finagle the front row table without spending any money on food. My overall impression is that unless you’re seeing a no-name musician & you’re not particularly demanding of your seating reservation, be prepared to spend a lot of time & money on a (supposedly) mediocre dinner to guarantee that front row spot. Otherwise, just show up ½ hour early and wait on line like everyone else – the dinner is probably worth skipping.

February 22, 2011