The atmosphere at Three Tides is laid back, casual, easy-going. Maybe that is an effort to offset the schoolmarmish wait staff and the laughably bullying owner, who picked a fight with my husband, and then, when he found out he was up against more than he had anticipated, walked away in a huff.
We are part year locals, and have come many times to Three Tides, and have brought many visitors– but last night was the first time we encountered the owner, and it was truly bizarre. I must acknowledge that we were not blameless in what I will call the Great Peanut Affair – my husband committed the mortal sin of going out to the car to get a can of peanuts to eat with his beer. On the way back in, he was reprimanded by the waitress, who announced that they had a policy against allowing customers to bring in food other than what they served there at the bar. But we just didn’t feel like oysters, and the only other snacks they offered were some sort of German stuff that doesn’t appeal to us but apparently fits with their “biergarten” theme. So my husband said, ok, I’m just going to finish this handful, but it would be better if you offered a wider range of snacks to choose from. She then marched over and told him, again, that she was “not kidding” about the policy. I’m not sure if she was suggesting that he actually spit out what he had in his mouth or not. OK, OK, we heard you the first time. At this point, I took the can of peanuts and put in on the bench next to me, out of harms’ way. But I was not quick enough for her, because two minutes later, she marched over with reinforcements, in the form of the owner, who, was just itching for a fight: “You say you’re not eating peanuts, but my employee says you are, so which of you is lying?” My husband is not easily flustered so he just calmly replied that the owner had misunderstood and that no one was “lying”. But the owner, undeterred, when on to ask “what other restaurant do you know of that allows you to bring food?” And at this point I replied, “Young’s”. He then muttered something about Young’s being a BYOB (as if that had anything to do with food) and then walked away with his tail between his legs.
We will not be back there. Yes, they have a nice harborside location, but we have a choice where to spend our money – as do the fifty or so guests we host over the course of the summer and whom we will no longer bring there. My husband and I are not really beer people, though some of our beer-drinking guests do like the Marshall’s Wharf beer. But you can buy that and head elsewhere. Belfast has many more welcoming harborside dining options where you don’t have to put up with an arrogant, rude owner.
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