Bastille in Ballard, the newest ‘in’ place for new-to-Seattle hipsters and California rejects, has just about done away with their happy hour selections.  The Happy Hour remains, there are just fewer specials.

Bastille used to offer one of the better happy hours for the first few weeks it was open.  Moules and frites, Lamb burgers, Mac&Cheese, etc.  Now, just moules, no frites for $6.  No frites.  Frites are extra, $4 at happy hour.  So to get the ‘old’ half price moules and frites, regularly $12, now you pay $6 for the moules, and $4 for the frites, for $10, a discount of two bucks off full price (and a larger portion?)

Same for the half price lamb burger and fries, which used to be $6.  Now its $10 with the fries.  The mac and cheese is now reduced to a tiny little ramekin of a taste of mac & cheese’lette!   Used to be a decent plate of food.  And no discounted price anymore, you pig.   Removed completely from the happy hour menu is the falafel, and the poutine.  And the discounts all around are reduced.

Bastille has had major problems since opening.  It severely restricts the number of diners for dinners, leaving most folks stuck with over-priced appetizers in the bar area.  Dinner is essentially a reservations only affair, and even then they severely restrict the number of diners “because the kitchen can’t handle it”.  (I recently had dinner at Le Gourmand, because Bastille was too hard to get into!)  The fancy filtered water system (both still and gaseous) is not hooked up to the bar, so you can’t get that nice sparkling water in your drink.  The kitchen frequently runs out of food.  Service is mediocre or worse.  And of course, prices keep going up and the happy hour specials, which were a good way to entice people to try the food, are essentially gone.  And what is with smaller portions?

How long can Bastille keep going like this?  When it opened the restaurant was hailed for its reasonable prices, making it an affordable and frequent stop for locals.  Bastille has apparently decided that locals filling the place weren’t enough for them, so now they are going after the tourist crowd.  In a location way off the beaten path, with no parking, I say good luck. You will need it.


OK, I admit I was a total slut for Bastille, the new Seattle french restaurant.  But after a short but abusive relationship, I’m pretty much over it.

For the fourth time in two weeks, I was refused dinner service.  This time, I was sitting at the bar.  After failing to get the bartender’s attention for about an hour, I finally asked if I could order their chicken dinner and was told that I could only order from the bar menu.

Here is what Bastille needs NOW (like last week):

1. A back bar in the kitchen for filling orders of wine, champagne, beer, carafes, etc.  There is no reason these orders are being filled at the front bar, where the bartenders don’t have the time.

2.  The bartenders filling orders for the dining room means there is poor service for people sitting at the beautiful zinc bar.

3.  Not that you would want to because you don’t have the space, but you can’t order off the extensive dinner menu at the bar.   And since they won’t seat you in the dining room absent a reservation and, you know, lagniappe, then you are fucked.  Six times visiting this place and I still haven’t had a full meal entree there.

4.  Basically, only a few people can eat off the menu posted on the front window because you can’t get a seat.  So nice menu.  Too bad it is kind of a bait and switch situation.

5.  This is an extremely loud restaurant even when it is quiet.  WHY ARE THEY PLAYING MUSIC IN THE BACKGROUND??!!

6.  If they are really going to be a sports bar, they need another TV.

7.   Live music out on the patio tonight.  Too bad almost no one could hear it because it was only outside!!  The outside tables are set far apart, so there are fewer of them.  What a waste.   Although there were several empty tables.  Reserved I suppose.  No one asked if I wanted to sit there.  This is just a colossal management fuck up.

8.  Bastille Day should have been the biggest day yet.  But they have been successful at keeping the customers away in this ‘soft opening’ (I thought that was a sex position?)  The place was not full and still the staff was barely able to manage.  They don’t have a first string wait staff and I can kinda see why now.  Are the better waiters staying away?  Do they know something?

9. The Bastille authentically recreates that Paris feel:  bad and surly service, abusive wait staff and bartenders.  Ignores singles totally.  Singles have to sort of elbow their way in.  But good food so everyone ignores the bad service.

Except Seattle has many excellent french restaurants where you don’t have endure abuse; Viola, Cafe Presse, Le Pichet, Anita’s, 911 Supreme, etc.  I appreciate Bastille has spent a butt load of money and created a wonderful environment.  But this restaurant is going in the wrong direction, getting worse each week instead of better.  C’est la vie.