We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Awful Customer Service, Pretentious and Controlling.”
Review of Singlebarrel

Ranked #6 of 48 Nightlife in San Jose
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Reviewed 11 August 2014

I came to SingleBarrel with three friends expecting that I would have a drink, enjoy some conversation and then move on. Immediately we were placed in a line to get in. The doorman read us the rules (turn your cell phones to vibrate, keep the noise level down, and never come with more than 6 people). Next he talks into a head piece and waits for approval to let us in. We go down the dark stairs and it takes a moment for our eyes to adjust because the place is very dark. We approach the bar and are greeted by the bartender who begins to go through his what tastes do you like, etc. I was not in the mood for a handcrafted mix of fruit juices and so asked for a Vodka neat. You would have thought I asked for crack cocaine, a torch, and a pipe. First I got a lecture on how I should enjoy Gin. I do not enjoy gin. I then was lectured that vodka and gin are the same (um, without the juniper berries? was my reply, that didn't go over well). Next he tells me the bar has one bottle of vodka, at which point some toad of a co-worker (possibly a manager) whisper's something to him and he came back with what do I want my stoli mixed with because he can't give me just vodka. Not wanting to cause any more of seen in front of my friends, I explained I'd just have water. I waited for a few minutes, decided if I stayed any longer I'd break their no noise rule, and so excused myself and waited outside until my friends had finished their ridiculous drinks so we could move on to an actual cocktail lounge, minus the attitude. Ambiance: 2, Customer Service: 1. Pretention: 10. I won't go back.

4  Thank Marinjet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Reviews (18)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year

9 - 13 of 18 reviews

Reviewed 31 July 2014

My co-worker and I stopped here after a presentation. They have a nice man standing at the door who quietly explains the rules. A short walk down the stairs takes you to the bar where the nice bartenders try to find a neat old-style drink for you. They were entertaining, kind and we had a blast. I encourage you to check it out yourself.

Thank Christopher V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2014 via mobile

Stopped here for a drink before a show at the Center for Performing Arts. It's within walking distance which is ideal. This place has an excellent atmosphere and ambiance. They really do the speakeasy theme justice. The bartenders know their stuff! I got an exceptional manhattan. This really is a classy joint. Will definitely be back!

1  Thank Hydrolagus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2014

I have been a couple times now and taken new friends here. It is unique and fun and best of all, you can talk. It has some lounge seating as well to make you comfortable. The bar tenders are mixologists and they will ask you questions in order to customize your drink. Highly recommend going at least once.

Thank Carrie012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2013

Please let me preface this review by stating that I was very much looking forward to an evening with old friends at a genuine speak easy replete with tasty hand crafted cocktails, and a sultry but convivial ambiance. Initially the evening looked quite promising. My old College friend was visiting on a business trip, and a group of us West Coast transplants were going to show him a taste of San Jose that did not involve mediocrity, or the vapid culture of a tech hub shopping mall that poses as a city. Upon arrival we had a witty exchange with the philosophy reading door man who explained to us the rules of not being 'loud',(more on this later), and then directed us down the poorly lit stairwell entrance. First the positive points that leave a patina of potential: when your eyes finally adjust to the dim basement bar light, you see the effort the proprietors put in to selecting warm wood and fabric construction materials, and spent some money on a large bar well stocked with an assortment of spirits. It is a pleasing aesthetic. I want to note that the two bartenders I interacted with were great---friendly, engaged, informative in suggesting a drink, and quite skilled in crafting an artisianal cocktail. If every member of the Single Barrel Staff possessed the bartenders' demeanor and professionalism, my review could be for 5 stars! Unfortunately, that was not the case because of the power tripping manager, and his toady acolyte. With drinks in hand, our group of 7 settled in to a corner of the sparsely populated bar, and began to catch up and reminisce. Immediately this androgynous sever with a mullet got in our grills and told us that we were being both too loud, and that there were too many of us seated in a circle of couches and chairs. While taken a back, we responded politely in compliance, and then returned to our conversation. Not 5 minutes went by before Sinead O'Conner's talent less step sister literally came by our group and 'hovered above us as is if to eavesdrop on our conversation, and measure our volume with her own internal 'decibel meter'. Her behavior soon went from rude to outright intrusive and abrasive. After explaining to her that we were not being 'loud',(believe me, being Italian from New Jersey I know loud), in an 'empty' bar, she said she was going to get her manager. Thinking that she might be a bit eager in performing her hall monitor job, we actually looked forward to talking to the manager, under the assumption that he could be reasoned with. Unfortunately, it turns out that Peter Drucker was correct in observing that bad managers hire incompetent staff to reinforce their own inadequacy. The Manager,(who looked like a cross between 'Mr. Clean', and a more rotund version of the 'Clockwork Orange' 'Druge'), was even more condescending and rude than his obstinate underling. Instead of being reasonable and recognizing that we were not disturbing anyone in his empty bar, he kept smirking while reciting the rules. We decided we had enough, and promptly left, but not before informing the rest of the bar how poorly the management handled the situation. In conclusion, this experience was entirely avoidably. The owners should reconsider their managerial hires because they are incapable of exercising discretion, and because of their bad attitudes lost hundreds of dollars of business. The concept has promise, but the enterprising bar tenders should just buy the bar out of bankruptcy once the current owners are finished alienating all of their customers.

4  Thank Julian S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Singlebarrel also viewed


Been to Singlebarrel? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing