Our best friend is a regular at 'Vino.' She goes at least once or twice a week and sits at the bar. I should say, used to go. She will never go again and neither will we.
We were excited, after her raves, to go and taste the food, order a nice glass of wine, and have a good time being treated like princesses at one of 'America's 25 best wine bars.' (according to Travel and Leisure 2012). Our friend did say that we had to get there early in order to sit at the bar, which is the great experience during the cocktail hour at this restaurant. There are only about 10 stools at this bar. We got there five minutes after the establishment opened. Our friend met us at the door with a desperate look on her face, apologizing for the fact that there was no room to get aps and wine at the bar. She had tried to save us 3 stools and reminded them that she was a regular. They said no.
There was a nice waiting/lounge area with comfy leather couches and warm lighting. We asked if we could sit there and order drinks and aps. 'Not unless we had a reservation for dinner.' They said no.
There was not a soul at any of the 20 or so tables, so we asked if we could take one and have some of their famous aps and wine until the dinner hour started. They said no.
Nothing like an arrogant waiter who follows the program and enjoys his small moment of power. We were out of luck and treated like a bother for asking for such things. I'm telling you, except for the people at the bar, this place was completely empty.
Any good restaurant owner would have accommodated a regular. It wouldn't have hurt them at all to let her save three stools at the bar for five minutes for her friends . A gracious owner would have let her friends sit in the lounge area (5 feet from the bar) and have a glass of wine. A really classy restaurant would have let us sit at a table for a while until the restaurant began to fill up. It was only 5:30 for chistsakes. These people just don't get it.
I hate arrogant, elitist establishments. I don't care how good the food is. There are a hundred other fine restaurants in Honolulu that would have been glad to give us a nice first experience at their establishment. We will go to the other ones instead, and so should you.
See you at the Mai Tai Bar at The Royal Hawaiian!! Or maybe L'aperatif or La Mer, or Lewers Lounge, Morimoto's, The Halekulani, I could go on and on.
Screw you, Vino.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.