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Piratz Tavern, Downtown Silver Spring - Rrrrr You Ready? It's Back! Owners Tracy and Juciano Rebelo - Closed Apr 4, 2015


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I know, it's a gimmick from the start but, I wanted to get in touch with my inner pirate. Boy, did I learn a lesson about pirates. They rob you, it's what they do. From terrible service, to the worst meal I have ever choked down, this place was completely authentic. Inedible potato and chorizo soup was served straight from the microwave, inconsistantly heated and all. Some sort of stew that trauma has flushed from memory was equally terrible. A tomato mozzarella sandwich was the highlight and, when I say highlight I mean, I had a second bite. Being in the restaurant biz, it's hard to be negative about someone else's project. Authentic it is, edible it is not. Maybe therepy can help me move past this but, I know I will never look at pirates the same again.

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We took the kids there once, because Ian loves pirates. The service was so dreadful, and the food so mediocre, that it wasn't even worth posting about. Like shooting fish in a barrel.
Poor service? That implies that you get service. We curiously stopped in one weekend night on the way to QH and milled around by the bar for about 10 minutes hoping the employee seated on a stool by the door would signal someone to come man the bar. When we finally just asked we got an eye roll and he went out to the patio to get the bartender who had been having a smoke. I don't know if she was unpleasant because she had to give up her cig or because the corset was choking her will to live but she was extremely um, unpleasant.

Anyways the 2 girls ordered hard cider which was taken right out of a case sitting on the floor behind the bar (with some other unopened cases of bottled beers). They were, obviously, room temp so thinking that they had just been delivered or brought up from the back or something the girls asked if they could get something else while they cooled off in the fridge. The bartender had already started heading back out to the patio and said, without breaking stride, "that is how we serve them here." Um, ok cool. (And just for some context it was about 85 degrees and we were headed to the patio) She was already out the door by the time we decided to just try pouring it over ice. We asked a random bus boy that was cleaning up the tables in front for a cup of ice and he got it right away (in hindsight I wished I would have tipped him instead)

It was also kind of awkward when we went out to sit on the, rather small, patio and she was like ten feet away from us recounting the story to some of her friends explaining why she had to leave a few minutes ago. They were all looking over at us. I think my brother actually waved. Probably close to the worse treatment I have received in a bar (well, that didn't immediately follow a slurred proposition anyways). We took a few sips and finished on to our original destination never to return again.

Lest any of you think that I am not telling you about something rude we did, my brother and I (2nd generation lifelong restuarant employees) are probably 2 of the most easy going bar/restaurant customers you can find. We didn't make any rude comments or anything like that and even apologized when she first came inside for interrupting her smoke break. It was just really out of the blue.

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We took the kids there once, because Ian loves pirates. The service was so dreadful, and the food so mediocre, that it wasn't even worth posting about. Like shooting fish in a barrel.
It hasn't gotten any better. Took the girls back in June. They had read a pirate story and wanted to reward reading something new by relating it to real life. They did get a kick out of the costumes, but really a yucky place.
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Everyone seemed to be having a good time when we stopped by briefly this afternoon -- pirates and customers alike. I didn't get to try the food, but it all seemed to be being made fresh and to order -- maybe things have improved since it first opened? At least on this dreary day, it was an entertaining place to spend some time.

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Their Facebook page says that they're closing for a week to film for Spike's Bar Rescue show. I've never seen the show, but I gather that it's a bar-centric version of Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. So that's......encouraging?

So THAT'S why I've seen so many peg-legged cameramen around there (the eye patch doesn't work too well for them)!!!

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Their Facebook page says that they're closing for a week to film for Spike's Bar Rescue show. I've never seen the show, but I gather that it's a bar-centric version of Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. So that's......encouraging?

It certainly can't get any worse than it is now...

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Walking by there after work tonight, the sign has been yanked down, so I think the chances of Piratz Tavern re-opening under that name are slim to none (which is totally unsurprising now that I've seen the show - Jon Taffer has changed the names of about 70% of the bars he's worked with).

I don't know that the re-do will help them succeed long-term, but I give them credit where credit is due - even if it's just out of morbid curiosity, I will probably find myself heading in there shortly after they open back up, whereas I had no plans to ever step back into Piratz Tavern otherwise.

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Say hello to Corporate Bar and Grill. Looks like they went in the complete opposite direction from the whole pirate theme. Couldn't get close enough tonight to see much of anything inside (and certainly not to GET inside), but my curiosity is piqued too much to not get here in the next week or so.

Screw you, reality television.

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Say hello to Corporate Bar and Grill. Looks like they went in the complete opposite direction from the whole pirate theme. Couldn't get close enough tonight to see much of anything inside (and certainly not to GET inside), but my curiosity is piqued too much to not get here in the next week or so.

Screw you, reality television.

It really *is* Corporate Bar and Grill - I thought you were making a joke!

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Gazette article

Taffer said he hopes the bar’s new focus will create a place for executives to go to lunch and happy hour, a niche he said did not exist in Silver Spring previously. “There is no place to come to get a great executive burger,” Taffer said.

1) If he wants them to rely on execs in silver spring they will be broke soon

2) Pedro makes a damn fine burger at 8407 for lunch. I guess that 200 yards away was outside of his area of research.

3) No place for execs to have a HH in Silver Spring? 8407, RTC, Sidebar, McGinty's...

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I was thinking of that as well. Maybe 8407’s lunch offerings were just too value priced to qualify as “executive burger”. Silver Spring doesn’t support much fine dining lunch options – 8407 tends to be relatively empty for lunches, Jackie’s and RtC doesn’t even bother to open for lunch.

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Oh my God - I can't decide whether this is the funniest or saddest thing I've ever seen. What the fuck is an executive bar - does he think that Silver Spring is an airport?

I've actually watched Bar Rescue before and I thought that Taffer's ideas were always bland, corporate and sort-of 90s (probably when he made his bones and thinks times never change). "Hey, make this blue cocktail with a Grand Marnier float in it and PROFIT!" But to literally name something Corporate is astounding.

The sad part is that the space and location isn't terrible (especially the nice outside garden begging for a young crowd). Silver Spring needs a lot, especially a place with simple, attentive service that Jackie's places can't seem to manage. Woe is my hometown - this bar is rescued into something even worse; 600 bajillion spent by the county on The Fillmore and it's a Live Nation hellhole. But I digress...

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Oh my God - I can't decide whether this is the funniest or saddest thing I've ever seen.

Voting funniest.

Don't think these were posted yet, a bunch of other small photos from the place: http://www.thayeravenue.com/2012/02/18/piratz-now-corporate-hipsters-make-t-shirts/

There's a lot of backlash going on, from the owners, and from old regulars. Apparently a fair number of people still showing up in costume, including the host wearing a pirate hat.

Haven't managed to find any reviews of the quality of food/drink yet though. Should be entertaining to see how this place turns out, to say the least.

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A faceless suit for a logo. Could Taffer mock Silver Spring any harder? Is this Chris Rantamaki taking revenge on his former bosses' lunch options at Discovery Networks?

Not that anyone should care, but in ol_ironstomach's fantasy I would have reinvented it as a suit-friendly pan-coastal-tiki bar. Lose the old name, pick something more Key West-ish. Keep the new menu, divide the space between vaguely-respectable (up front) and romper-room (towards the back). Curiosity seekers will find their way back to see where the shanties1 are coming from.

1 "The best bit about being a pirate is the shanties." - The Pirate King, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe

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Well that didn't last long - just walked by to see a sign stating that they're closed for renovations, and there's black plastic in the windows. It's a lock that they're changing it all back, right?

Best of luck to the ownership if they are, but I can't imagine it'll be open for much longer if it's all going back to how it was.

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Well that didn't last long - just walked by to see a sign stating that they're closed for renovations, and there's black plastic in the windows. It's a lock that they're changing it all back, right?

Best of luck to the ownership if they are, but I can't imagine it'll be open for much longer if it's all going back to how it was.

Yup, it's back.

If someone can link to it, there's a whole story in the Washington Post that even quotes directly from this very thread. Interesting behind the scenes info.

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Don't you think that going from Piratz Tavern to Corporate Bar was going from one bad idea to another?

I still think the places that are quietly laughing all the way to the bank are places like Circa. Although I have absolutely no knowledge of Circa's ownership, business model, etc., every single time I walk by one it is crowded.

Remember that line in "When Harry Met Sally," where the older woman said, "I'll have what she's having?"

Circa. Bistro du Coin. Lauriol Plaza. Sweetwater Tavern. I could probably rattle off 100 more (Flippin' Pizza just came to mind). Places that don't give a whit about this website, or quality, or cuisine, or much of anything else other than making fistfuls of dollars. Hell, I can even think of a few places (two leap to mind, and I guarantee they aren't the two you'd first think of) that *do* care about this website and are using it to their advantage, financially (and why wouldn't they? It takes mere minutes and costs nothing). And I guarantee they're making a fortune.

Well anyway, *I* care about quality, for whatever that's worth, although quality seems to have very little to do with Piratz Tavern or Corporate Bar. I wish the owners well - I'd rather something individual and quirky succeeds than have yet another generic institution open up. If people can go play pirate and have a good time for a few hours, well, why not?

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Maybe it was a bad idea that was going to appeal to a clientele that didn't exist, but they didn't even give the new concept a chance. They were open for maaaaaaaybe a week's worth of nights after the first renovation - I'm sure there are plenty of people (myself included) who wanted to see what they had done to the place who never got the chance.

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Don't you think that going from Piratz Tavern to Corporate Bar was going from one bad idea to another?

I still think the places that are quietly laughing all the way to the bank are places like Circa. Although I have absolutely no knowledge of Circa's ownership, business model, etc., every single time I walk by one it is crowded.

Remember that line in "When Harry Met Sally," where the older woman said, "I'll have what she's having?"

Circa. Bistro du Coin. Lauriol Plaza. Sweetwater Tavern. I could probably rattle off 100 more (Flippin' Pizza just came to mind). Places that don't give a whit about this website, or quality, or cuisine, or much of anything else other than making fistfuls of dollars. Hell, I can even think of a few places (two leap to mind, and I guarantee they aren't the two you'd first think of) that *do* care about this website and are using it to their advantage, financially (and why wouldn't they? It takes mere minutes and costs nothing). And I guarantee they're making a fortune.

Well anyway, *I* care about quality, for whatever that's worth, although quality seems to have very little to do with Piratz Tavern or Corporate Bar. I wish the owners well - I'd rather something individual and quirky succeeds than have yet another generic institution open up. If people can go play pirate and have a good time for a few hours, well, why not?

I'd say that Piratz actually did a smart thing here, in a way. We're talking about them, and when the show airs, they'll make a stink about how they weren't going to let some show destroy the pirate culture ( or some other David / Goliath triumph story). WaPo just ran a big article... and frankly, my takeaway was "oh hey, theres a pirate place I could take my kids for a birthday. Didn't know that.". And the Piratz people are probably thinking "mission accomplished".

As for those other places....you're right that quality isn't the main concern , as it is not for the public. I believe the general public wants the following:

- edibility, where quality is measured by being a "good" version of what they are used to - which is generally home cooked meals made of so-so ingredients, and fast food.

- consistency. If they like a dish, they want to be able to order it that way, every time, for decades to come.

- no surprises. This is really just the two bullets above, but is the underlying reason why they want those bullets

- a known system. One of those undesirable feelings is that you're in a place and everyone knows what's going on but you, and you're unsure how to act and fear that a mistake will make you stand out- or that asking what to do will make you an obvious noob. I believe this is the main reason most people aren't willing to try new, independent places, unless they have "tour guide" companion, and even then may not return if they feel they still didn't understand the whole thing. So they don't go on their own and don't waste much time with tour guides.

- the setting and other aspects of the meal- they simply aren't willing to get an awesome meal if it means sitting on a hard chair. Or going to a small place and being waited on by many ( that's uncomfortable). Or hearing a foreign language spoken nearby (also uncomfortable). Or paying a lot extra (it's still steak, why pay 3x?). Or making even the slightest changes to their favorite meal ( our "perfect char" is their "charred thus ruined perfection").

The rest of the experience matters way more than the food in point, so long as it is hot and edible.

I went to lunch one time at Outback with my very uncultured father in law and a few others. He complained about the music playing, the service, where our seats were - he was a nightmare guest. But the food came and he loved it. I believe he's average America - and the restaurants he visits will naturally focus the way he does.

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