Monday, December 10, 2012

The Gambit Bar Guide: In Forms We Trust, All Others Pay Cash

So tonight I got into a good Twitter discussion with some local NOLA Twits? Twats? Tweeters?   The discussion revolved around comments regarding The Gambit's 2012 Bar Guide.  The comments(one being mine) all complaining about certain bars being "left off" the list.  Obviously a list like this is going to get some complaints.  But it shouldn't.  It's not a "Best of" list.  It's a guide.  A guide that tells people "where to get their drink on, organized by neighborhood." It alludes to the idea that this was researched and written by staff members.  9 of them in fact.

Some notable bars left off the list are:  Avenue Pub, Crown & Anchor, 45 Tchoup, W.I.N.O., Loa, Sazerac Bar, Cure and Belocq.  So how were these bars not on the list?

The argument from The Gambit's side is that if a bar is not on the list it's because they didn't fill out the "form".  This form is sent out to all bars and is also on The Gambit's website.  If you don't fill out the form you don't make the list.  The form isn't too long and asks all sorts of questions like Type of Bar, Days of Service, Happy Hours, Specialty Nights/Events, etc.  I am curious here:  Does the form come with a self addressed stamped envelope?

Me being the beer nerd that I am my argument is form or no form you can't leave off what is arguably one of the BEST beer bars in the city.  It just seems kind of lazy to just send out forms and wait for them to be filled out and returned or for bars to take the time to do it online.   Maybe it's just me.

Now don't get me wrong I enjoy reading The Gambit and have had some of my beer stuff printed in it(probably no more after this though huh?) but seriously I have issues here.  In my opinion you can't put out a guide of places to drink in the city and leave off great bars because they didn't fill out a form and send it back.   If you continue leaving kick ass bars off the list you have to expect complaints.  The Gambit readers don't know about the forms.  In the opening to the guide it doesn't say, "This list is only those bars who had the time to fill out our form.  All others?  Too bad so sad."  If it did we would have nothing to complain about.  Except the retardedness of bars having to fill out forms to be in your guide.

Now to be fair this is basically free advertising for a bar IF they get the form in.  Tons of people read The Gambit and free advertising is free advertising right?  What do you think?  I'd love to get your opinion.


The Beer Buddha


Kevin said...

Hey, Jeremy -

Kevin from Gambit here. You're right; it's been a good discussion, and we've already discussed making changes in the next bar guide -- both based on comments like yours, and based on the fact that a hell of a lot of good places are getting left off.

To answer a couple of your questions: There's no self-addressed stamped envelope, but there is an option to fill out the details online (which is easy and quick). It's not efficient, but it's not because we're lazy: We just don't have the staff or unlimited freelance dollars to produce a guide to every bar in town, and we don't have a full-time drinks writer on staff (I wish). Just putting the forms together, categorizing everything and getting it all online is about what we can manage and still get out a paper the week before and the week after.

But still - a lot of us agree this isn't working when some really great places are left off the list. We had a meeting today to talk about what to do next time to make sure this doesn't happen. I don't want to go into the details, because it was really an informal discussion at this point, but I think many of the problems you outline here will be alleviated or solved.

I'm not sure we can ever be 100% comprehensive, but we can aim for 99.9%. One of my goals for 2013 is to sharpen up our drinks coverage (and that includes beer, by the way).

Last: Of course you're still welcome to contribute. If you remember, the first time you wrote for us I had contacted you because I liked the Beer Buddha blog and knew of your expertise. And I may try to tap into that expertise next year when we do the next bar guide to ensure we aren't leaving off any notable ones, if that's OK.

This was a healthy critique. Thanks. And you know you can always holler at me by phone or email if you have any questions or suggestions.


The Beer Buddha said...


What an amazing response. THIS is why I continue to read The Gambit. I'm really excited to hear that you are looking to address missing notable bars! I'm also glad you saw this post for what it was. Thanks. And I was kidding about the self addressed stamp envelope. ;)



Anonymous said...

"...tap into that expertise next year..." I see what you did there, Kevin!

And yay for Jeremy getting the definitive response from the editor ON YOUR BLOG OMG! You know I love me some Kevin and now you get to see why!