The Kingsmen once shouted “Louie, Louie”!
Far from being the Delta House, “Bar Louie” located at 2615 Medical Center Parkway, STE 2395, Murfreesboro, TN 37129 is nestled in the old familiar places of The Avenues and Gateway District and sports an interesting mix of themes and cuisine.
Let’s give the password for this speakeasy turned trendy watering hole and slip past the Murphy bookcase to take a look inside my second “bar” location out of three in this series.
Bar Louie owns the corner spot on the right side of the main intersection when you come into The Avenues. Its perfect real estate. Plenty of parking around, or able to pull foot traffic from the other areas in this outdoor mall. The exterior façade is nice, with the bar’s name prominently displayed. If you’re in the parking lot or entering this part of the mall (from a choice of several possible entrances) you can’t miss it. If you aren’t familiar with the location, looking for it from the street, or in the back side of the mall area or further down the road near Boombozz, you’re not going to know its there.
Once you walk inside the foyer, the bar area presents itself with a bit of fanfare. While they do offer a full menu, the entire aesthetic and mood of the place tells you it is a bar first. The dining area is to the left, partially in the bar area and also in a smaller separate area. There’s something of an upscale feel to the place, but it doesn’t feel like it earned it. I’ll explain that comment shortly. A cheerful hostess was on hand to take us to our seat, and beside her was a young man whose function I could not immediately determine. More on that also below.
As I mentioned, it’s a bar. As such, it has that bar energy about it. Isolated pockets of intense conversation peppered with merry-making and frivolity. The décor struggles somewhere between 20’s speakeasy and 60’s atomic. Lighting, furnishings, floors all suggest something a little upscale but not unattainable by those wearing jeans and t shirts. The one thing that breaks from this being a classy place most prominently is the attire of the servers. Most are wearing shorts just a bit too short, and cutoff jeans at that. “Wow, HHH! What happened to The Summer of Love? That sounds kind of prudish!” Everything has its place, and neither The Missus nor I are divorced from our sensibilities concerning this kind of apparel. You never know, I might squeeze into a pair of jorts every now and then too. But it just didn’t seem to be the right thing for the rest of the establishment. Classy, trashy, and just a little bit sassy. But that’s just me. Maybe its on-purpose and I’m just yelling at the kids to get off my lawn. Whipper snappers.
There was oddly enough a server in a tank top and jeans. There was really no cohesion to the employee wardrobe.
As to the young man of indiscernible intent…he had the dress and demeanor of a kitchen person. Bar Louie T-shirt, ball cap (maybe, not sure I am remembering that right), bar towel slung over his shoulder, and a spray bottle of some sort of chemical/sanitizer hanging from his back pocket. This young gentleman spent a fair amount of time with arms crossed at the host stand. I thought he might be a bus boy, but never caught him bussing a table. Perhaps a kitchen lead, surveying the flow of business to properly direct his staff? Total mystery, Scooby. “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings. Look on my works ye mighty and despair.”
Our server was very nice, and seemed to be well trained. She also seemed to be nervous or unpracticed in her routine. Very pleasant, but following a script she wasn’t quite relaxed with yet. No bad marks for that. Drinks were refilled, check backs done, and plates cleared timely and politely. All in all, service
was good though it would have been better if our server had relaxed just a little.
One thing brought us out here, and that was the food. I had always heard about dollar burger night here and wanted to see what that was about and how it stacked up against the heavy burger competition in this town. I was informed that the dollar burger and upgradable toppings for an extra price model had been retired, and a straight $5 for every burger on the menu was in effect on Tuesday nights. That includes a small side.
I got the Southwest Burger. It had fresh jalapenos on it, guac, and pepperjack. I can’t say I was impressed with it. This was pretty standard condiments, the same as any similarly themed spicy burger you might find anywhere. The jalapenos were cut a little thick, and had a tendency to fall out of the bun due to that. While not a bad burger, there was really nothing inspired about it. As I said however, this is a bar first and after a couple of good drinks or beers, I am sure the food fares better.
The Missus, bless her heart, has the endearing knack of finding the one trouble spot in any meal and unintentionally grappling with it to the last. All the burgers on the menu were $5…except for one. The Impossible Burger. (I know, right?) It had a patty that was not just vegetarian, but comprised of some secret plant-based material indistinguishable from real meat but totally NOT meat. She had to have THAT patty, but not on THAT burger. She wanted it made the Spiked Bulleit Bourbon Burger style. What The Missus wants, The Missus gets. For an additional $3, making her $5 burger $8. They were more than accommodating in this regard, though they initially brought out the wrong burger. It was the right patty, but the wrong style. The server took it back, and the corrected burger came out very quickly. A little TOO quickly. Less than 5 minutes. The patty was warm, but not hot as were her sides. What this tells me was that instead of cooking a fresh and correct burger, the initial patty and sides were saved, and new condiments and bun added. Not the worst thing to happen, but a hot burger and fresh sides would have gotten them more peace signs. A final note…if you get the bourbon burger beware…the sauce comes on the side for a reason. It is STRONG. A disclaimer says you have to be 21 to order this.
Over the entire place is in good shape. Clean floors, no signs of “old dirt”, and the guy with the cleaner in his back pocket and towel over his shoulder looked ready to clean the crap out of something though I never saw him pull the trigger.
Again…it’s a bar. I don’t review alcohol often, because I don’t drive and drink at all (zero tolerance) and there are others who do that better than me. But the menu while not inspired lacks something to make it stand out from the rest of the pack. At least the burgers. If I were out for drinks with friends, I think this would be a cool spot. Very social atmosphere around the bar area, and a confused but not unappealing atmosphere. If your primary goal is a great meal, there are other places that do that better. I think your win/win is when you combine the two here.
3 out of 5 peace signs. Dig it!
Remember, every time you like or comment a hippie gets his tie dye. When you SHARE, the band gets back together, Elwood.
“Make lunch, not war! Dig it”!