Review: The James Lobby Bar

If you’re looking for a good cocktail in a quiet atmosphere with music that still allows a conversation, you can find it in the lobby of The James Hotel. Just be prepared to drink that cocktail verrryyy sloowwwlly.


If you sit in the lobby of the hotel you can order and be served from David Burke’s Primehouse. Saturday night I stopped in with a couple of friends for what we hoped would be a quick drink before heading off to The Joynt for some dancing. Our server was pleasant, the drinks were good, the Japanese pretzels in chili oil were addicting, and the Kobe sashimi was delicious, but good heavens it took forever! I spent 10 years in the restaurant industry, one of my friends serves at a popular River North restaurant, and the other one hosts networking and social events; all of that means we understand that you shouldn’t expect speedy service on a Saturday night, but this was very frustrating. In the hour and a half we were there, we had one James (sparkline wine and currant compote), the Kobe sashimi, and shared a martini. We had to go to the bar to get water after asking for it, and go to the bar to get our check after asking for it.


We couldn’t tell if our server was overextended, but the lobby itself was very quiet. We also wondered if it was single-table syndrome: as a server, when it’s very slow service slips because timing’s off. The end result was that, despite how pleased we were with the product itself, we couldn’t wait to get out of there and now I’m hesitant to go back and try the restaurant itself.


Have you been to David Burke’s or The James? If so, what was your experience?






Leave a Reply