Houston >Food & Dining > Red Cat Jazz Cafe
711 Franklin St., Houston, TX | Directions 7700229.764494 -95.362617
Neighborhoods: Central, Downtown
It Was Once A Great Place – Red Cat has totally taken a turn. I took my parents there a few years back and it was an awesome experience - great music, ambiance, food and service, however I revisited a couple months ago and it was a big disappointment. The service was way too slow, despite there being very few customers. We were charged a fee at the door, which was not worth it - depending on how much you paid determined where you could sit, but it was once open seating. The band was decent but definitely ruined by the acoustics and host which were both way too loud and overbearing, and the waitress was inexperienced and had no clue how to serve. A big waste of money in such a short period of time; we couldn't wait to finish our food and drinks so we could leave and never return. The food was decent and very affordable, but all other factors of the experience outweighed this positive. Red Cat was once a good place... not sure who's managing now, but they're doing a terrible job... so sad to see a place I once loved and recommended to all my friends and Houston visitors become such a disappointment.
Horrible Service, Food, Drinks – My girlfriend and I went on last Saturday to receive a drunk radio personality talking way tooo long and a late musician. We paid 20.00 to get in and they didn't have any pineapple juice, I ordered a seafool platter that didn't have any shrimp on it, but they substituted with wings. HORRIBLE. If you want to listen to jazz visit Joe Carmouche Jazz Cafe, not the Red Catt, Horrible experience every time I go and its getting worse.
Terrible service, second rate food – We went there on a Sunday when no band was playing yet and they still tried to charge us $10 to get in. Although we were the only people there who were eating it still took us 30min to get our food. To top it all off the server brought us our appetizers and entrees out at the same time!!! The counter top was sticky and gray with some kind of residue. Right within my line of vision I had a great view of what must have been the service entrance which for some unfathomable reason they had propped open with a trash can. I could see gross mop buckets, dirty floor and disgusting aprons while I was eating. Plus the drinks were way overpriced $14 for a captain and coke. Don't expect the bartender to know how to prepare any complicated drink either. I don't know what he thinks a long island is but it wasn't the crap he tried to give me. All in all it was a TERRIBLE experience, and I would not recommend this place to my worst enemy.
Horrible... – Everytime we go to the Red Cat we say we will never go back, but I love live music and it is hard to find in Houston so....I had made a reservation for a centerstage table and was told that if I didn't get there before 9:00 PM that I would lose the reservation. Got there before 9:00 PM and there were people at our table and the "manager" (who was also the sound guy) ask the people to move. So my friend and I were thirsty and we waited on our waitress..and waited and waited. When she emerged she came with A menu (meaning ONE), that my friend and I were to share, wtf? Waitress took our drink order, and to be honest I keep it simple there because the bartenders are novices (just know that from experience) I ordered a margarita on the rocks and my friend ordered kettle one with pineapple and cranberry juice. So we get our drinks and hers looks like red koolaid! So my friend takes her own drink back to the bar to be told that they don't have pineapple juice! On a Friday night! Are you kidding me???!!! Food was Sysco branded food and came out cold. The performer of the evening was late and then only performed for an hour. My friend attempted to get Sam's (the owner) attention about the bad experience, but it was just like the reviews...I will definitely not go back...ever. He pretty much has children running his club, from the hostess to the waitstaff and bartenders. There was not one seasoned professional in the house, and that includes Sam Pink.
Before You Park...Good Luck... – So...it all started Friday night when I attended a party for some friends at Hotel Icon (across the street from The Red Cat). We pulled up to the valet in front of The Red Cat since they were the closest parking service (Front Row Valet) to the side of the street on which we were. There were no retrictions posted to indicate they only parked for The Red Cat. As the attendant took my key, I asked what time they closed to which he responded, "We close when they close."
We emerged from Hotel Icon at 1:15 a.m. only to find ghost town across the street...business had completely shut down at The Red Cat and Front Row Valet.
While my vehicle was parked in front of the strip, with no key on hand, that did me little good! I enlisted the help of two HPD officers. Not One Single Phone Number or Hours of Operation were listed Anywhere!
Friends of ours that live in Champions & were at Icon, drove us home to Sienna Plantation.
I called the manager (Amora) placed me on hold 3 times while she seated guests and apparently spoke with the owner.
She then apologized for "the inconvenience" and asked what I would like. I exclaimed that I would LIKE to get my key back & for them to post some accurate and updated information to better communicate their hours of operation and services.
She said I was welcome to stop by and pick up my key the next day, Sunday, at 8:00 p.m. (!...not 11:00 a.m. like the voicemail stated).
I changed my Saturday evening plans and went to The Red Cat to retrieve my key and have my face-to-face conversation with the ever-elusive, Mr. Sam Pink.
Mr. Pink himself descended from his throne to speak with me. He rudely brushed by me to walk outside indicating that I should follow him. I proceeded to share my disgust at the procedures in which his affiliated parking service closed early with no means of contact and the inaccuracy of information posted online and on their voicemail. He claimed the valet did not close early Friday night to which I replied, "Bullsh***!" I know what time the officers and myself were peering with flashlights into his establishment looking for signs of life.
Needless to say, the rest of the conversation ensued in a like manner with this arrogant, smart-aleck not taking any responsibility at all for the actions of his valet service or his miscommunication of business operation.
I mentioned that a review I read on CitySearch was, in fact, right on with the interaction I was receiving. Sam Pink replied with a statement to the effect of, "I don't care about CitySearch...that's a paid subscription." Really?! All I did was create an account and log on...!
While Mr. Pink implied that I was the only one that took issue with his means of communication and operation, it is evident from the recent reviews listed here that I am truly Not The Only One. When I visited The Red Cat almost a year ago, I concur that the service was just as slow and inefficient for mediocre food as the other reviews state.
My parting comment to Mr. Pink was that if he was interested in attracting and maintaining a professional crowd of clientele who could spend money in his establishment, regardless of the economy, he may want to consider revising his practices. His reply was, "Ya'll have a good time."
It is truly a shame that Mr. Pink's lack of empathy and humility will now exclude patronage of my professional and social associates...because there are all those other patrons beating the door down until...hmmm, 1:00 a.m. on a Friday night.
Incredibly rude management and owner!!!! – My man and I were looking for a place to enjoy nice live music and thought that Red Cat was the place to go. We were so wrong! We arrived at about 7:15 and were seated by someone at the hostess stand (not even sure that he was a host). He gave us a booth right in front of the stage and proceeded to tell us about the performer that night, that we were in for a treat, and to enjoy the show. So we ordered drinks, appetizers, and dinner. During the course of the meal, the wait staff and management seemed to be behind in opening and were still setting up for the night. Someone actually climbed up on a booth directly behind me to light a lantern as I was eating. We were close to finishing our meal around 9pm when a man came to our table and asked us if we were staying for the show. We replied, of course (that's why we came). He then told us that we would have to pay $20 per person and that we would have to move b/c the table that we had been sitting at for the past 1.5 hours was reserved. I told him that that was absolutely ridiculous and extremely tacky. I asked to speak with the manager, which turned out to be him. A cover charge was never relayed to us, nor the fact that we were seated at an already reserved table. He was not accomodating at all and it took him about 15 min to apologize for the mishap. He then told us that we could stay if we shared one side of the booth with another couple and still paid $20 per person, which was not a compromise b/c my man is 6'4" 250lbs. How would we be able to share our booth??? We then asked to speak with the owner. At first we were told that we would have to wait a few minutes, which we did. The the "manager" came back and told us that the owner was TOO BUSY AND WOULD NOT COME OVER TO SPEAK TO US. I couldn't believe it!! How is it that the owner who was standing about 20 ft from us refused to talk us??? At that point we realized that they were only concerned about the money they made and we left immediately.
I DON'T CARE WHO IS PERFORMING AT RED CAT, WE WILL NEVER EVER GO BACK!!!
We ended up at Legends Jazz Cafe, which did not have a cover charge, had great music, and exceptional customer service.
Great atmosphere, food and music!!! – I took my family to the Red Cat last Friday for my daughter?s 21st birthday, and we had a fantastic time. The cover was $20 which surprised me after reading the other reviews, but the service was fantastic and the music was great.
The owner came over and introduced himself and was very cordial. Music was outstanding and the band and performers played long sets. The food tasted very good. The only suggestion for improvement is the food was served warm and not hot.
We will definitely be going back.
Not enough Jazz for your $$ – Visited 1/2/2009. Paid cover charge of $10/pp. If you arrive later than 9:30pm expect to stand. Very good band but speakers were "too loud" for such a small space - you couldn't talk with your guests. The decor is nice. We ordered the sampler $24.95 for a 2-3 pieces catfish, boudain ball, hot wings and fries. Catfish strips - Good! Stay away from boudain ball & wings! - Not Good! Drinks are watered-down and soft drinks just as for carbonated water.
Try for yourself though - don't forget to post your experience
Poor Service – My fiance and I went to the Red Cat, Saturday (around 9:30 pm). The cover charge was $10.00 per person which is fine as long as I have a place to sit, Well, we paid to get in and the place was over packed. There was absolutely no where to sit. I went back to the hostess stand and asked her what were we suppose to do because we definitely were not gonna stand up. She looked around (from her station) and proceeded to tell us to check upstairs (which my fiance did again). Finally, I had enough and recieved a refund and we left. I had been at the Red Cat before (2 years ago) and it wasn't this bad, In my opinion all they're worried about is making a dollar. Why in the hell would you allow people to inside when you know you don't have enough room to seat them? For the people that were standing on the wall I can't see how they were doing it. The music wasn't that damn good.
Don't go for the food – We went tonight mainly for the food which we had to pay a cover charge-no biggie-it's a jazz club. We waited over 40 minutes just for appetizers which I paid 7 or 8.95 for 4 pieces of the chicken wing (1 wing +1 piece of the wing). It was also suppose to be hot buffalo wings not knowing they were just fried and you put your own sauce on it. Then I ordered the Bourbon Broil Steak which was the most tasteless piece of steak I have ever had and a dallop of garlic mashed potatoes which were cold. It was suppose to be served with dirty rice also but instead received green beans-which I do not eat-and was later told they did not have any dirty rice. I was never offered anymore to drink and my friends food was cold also. On top of that there was an 18% gratuity added to the bill which I can't understand why when it was only two people. Needless to say they will never have to worry about me again. Very disappointing.
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