The Spot: Robbie Fox's Public House
640 S. Mill Ave. Tempe (480) 642-6442
The Hours: Monday thru Friday from 3 to 7 p.m.
The Details: $1 off all drafts, $2 well drinks, and $3 house wines. All of their appetizers are half off. On Saturdays from 11 a.m. till 5 p.m. you can get $2 off all draft beers. Sundays, appetizers and all bottles of wine are half off from noon till 6 p.m.
The Setting: Robbie Fox's is your typical run of the mill American Irish Pub. The standard Guinness memorabilia and other Irish garb sparsely dot the dark wood walls. The tin ceiling and the 130 year old bar (from Ireland) are stunning to say the least, but other than that, the place feels generic.
The back patio is spacious with lots of tables and a very nice outside bar, but the towering office buildings made us feel slightly claustrophobic.The too-loud music that blares out of the patio speakers was an interesting mix of country, alternative, Peruvian flute music and classic rock with an Irish song thrown in here and there.
The Cost: 2 Boddingtons, 2 Carlsberg's, Island Mussels and Garlic Shrimp came to a grand total of $25.41.
The Conclusion: We really wanted to like this place. Such was not the case. First, the positives -- they have a patio. That's a huge plus. The have a very good selection of Irish Whiskey and Single Malt Scotch. The beer selection isn't horrible, and you get 20 oz pints instead of the all too common 16 oz. The fries were thin with just the right amount of crispness and the seafood chowder was pretty close to perfect.
And now for the bad. The patio is great until you are surrounded by people smoking cigars (Churchill's cigars is right next door). Not just a couple people, we're talking at least 15 people. That's a lot of smoke to handle. On to the food, the Garlic Shrimp, although tasty, only came four to a plate and the sauce was a hideous pinkish color. Thankfully it was happy hour, as the normal price is $9 and that's a little steep. The Prince Edward Island Mussels were average but lacked flavor and the bread/cracker that comes with it seemed pointless.
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But the worst thing was by far the service. Horrible doesn't even begin to describe it. This is obviously yet another case of a restaurant hiring attractive girls who have no skills. While very cute, this was either our server's first rodeo or she was just clueless. When asked what kind of beer the Warsteiner Dunkel was, she replied, "Um it's like darkish." After ordering our drinks we waited and waited and waited some more. Fast forward 10 minutes and we see our beers sitting on the bar, but our server is deep in conversation with another staff member. Two customers with fleeting patience finally got their beers 20 minutes after sitting down. Somehow the appetizers came out more quickly than the drinks but our gal just dropped them off and didn't look back, of course forgetting about our possible need for utensils, which ended up having to be hunted down.
When it was time for the check, we waited another 20+ minutes. What was she doing?! This might have passed on a busy Friday night but it was Monday and not busy.
In Robbie Fox's defense, the place opened just a few weeks ago. Maybe they need some time to work out the kinks and hopefully retrain a certain server. However, first impressions are everything and they did not make a very a good one.
Overall Grade: D