overpriced food, bad service, often good musicians, great cozy atmosphere, cozy space, overpriced drinks, favorite spot
Have been to Catalina's a dozen or so times. Great atmosphere for music and drinks. Food definitely needs help. Stick with bar appetizers if you must eat. Otherwise, eat somewhere else and just have drinks and enjoy the music at Catalina.
We attended the sold out Steve Tyrell's show on Sunday night. It was great. The musicians were really one of the best we have heard in a long time. We are fairly frequent visitors to the Catalina club and this was our favorite so far.
Steve's selections along with his stories wether personal or how the song was written added spice to his performance. He told how Jimmy McQue's "I can't give you anything but love" was inspired. He's doing another run this weekend if you are available go!
Catalina...mix it up.. Went on a date there. I had a great time the music was awesome. It was a fun night and not the average date night. A great way to shake things up.
Musicians often good, place/food so bad, so overpriced.. Run like a little jail --all their rules, to hell with customer satisfaction. With the possible exception of the completely bland, completely UNspiced steamed clams, the food is terrible beyond belief. The "steak" quesadilla was unchewable, smelled bad (you know, that cheap "horsemeaty" smell), and was left uneaten after several unsuccessful tries to find a chewable bite. The caesar salad was barely average, like in a school cafeteria, with boring bottled dressing and cheap restaurant-supply packaged croutons, as well as I recall, since recalling is painful! The thing is, they charge a substantial cover PLUS a minimum (overpriced BAD dinner or 2 drinks) for EVERY show. I'd much rather go to a crowded little place with acceptable overpriced food and rarely a cover, like Charlie O's, or really get my money's worth at Vibrato Grill and Jazz, with rarely a cover and great food, service and atmosphere. But Catalina's, where they hustle you out even if you haven't finished eating, is an insult to diners. They should just forget the food and rushed service, and become a straight theater, like the old Jazz Bakery. At least they wouldn't make enemies or offend anyone.
I'm sorry that you feel that way towards our establishment. We try our best to make everybody enjoy great music and fresh, good dinners.
We don't run our place as "a little jail", but we have to follow some rules like everywhere else.
We are very proud of the food we serve. To answer your remarks, we never serve canned food, we never serve "bottled dressing", and our croutons are fresh daily baked from lavash bread. Beef quesadilla is made with Angus beef tenders.
The entertainment charges go to the artists. We present top of the world jazz musicians and this kind of entertainment doesn't come cheap.
I just want to mention that, this is a really difficult business (that's why we are the only jazz club left in town) and we try our best to keep the great music alive.
Have a good day,
I made a special trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles to attend the Sony Holland concert at the Catalina Jazz Club. I had never been to the Catalina so I had no idea what to expect.
Since I had never been there I decided to arrive early at 7:00 p.m. when the doors opened. The person cleaning the outside area of the building buzzed me in the front door of the building and the club was identifiable by a simple sign on a door located on the first floor of the building. I walked in the door and was pleasantly surprised. The host was so friendly and welcoming that I felt as if I had walked onto the set of "Cheers." The club had that distinct feeling all evening. I was also thrilled to see two of my friends from the Bay Area there as well.
The club itself has an L shape to it which is very interesting and I think well thought out for the venue. The main club area has table vignettes which seat anywhere from two people to around ten people situated around the stage so that no matter where you are the stage is the main focal point in the room. Even if you are at the bar which is the longer part of that L shape, you still have a good view. Each table was set with tablecloths, menus and flyers with the artist information. I found these extras very appealing which high end jazz clubs normally do not provide.
The lighting I found to be the best I have ever encountered in any club, jazz or otherwise. I was able to actually see my bill when presented with the dim lighting during the concert as well as the menus and upcoming show information. Normally clubs are so dark, especially during a concert that you cannot see anything. Here the lighting in my opinion was perfect. Even the lighting on the stage was good enough that we were able to get photos without a flash as can be seen in this post. Usually in clubs, the lighting is such that it will distort the actual colors of the musician's attire though not the case here. I really liked that.
The sound was crisp and clear. You could hear each instrument along with the vocals without anyone drowning out the other. It wasn't too loud or too soft but right on key, throughout.
The service was friendly, quick and non intrusive. The servers knew when to approach for your second drink and were very cautious not to interrupt or obstruct the view of the patrons. They were helpful, knew what they were doing and very friendly.
As I said in the beginning of this post, I had that friendly feeling all evening. Now I know why this club is considered to be the premier jazz club in LA. I've been to many in the Bay Area and have to admit I enjoyed this club over and above any other I've experienced. I will definitely go back to see Sony if and when she again performs at the Catalina. In fact, if anyone I really like will be performing there, I will absolutely make that trip from SF to LA to see them. That is exactly how much I enjoyed the Catalina.
Jazz Lovers Dream. I'm a huge jazz fan and Catalina Jazz Club is one of my favorites spots in LA to spend an evening. They continue to book talented muscians that give the crowd what they are looking for. It's an intimate setting and a great way to sit back, relax and just enjoy
Great Date Spot!. My boyfriend took me here for our anniversary. What a treat! It was a great way to spend the night out....the music was amazing and the drinks were excellent. I will def be coming back again!!!
BAD service BAD food BAD location BAD music.
"If it were possible to give no stars for this I would gladly do it. From the incompetent manager to the pompous waiters, this place is definitely a pass. Do not waste your money here...It is a complete waste of time..."
Hidden Costs. I like Catalina Bar & Grill because it brings great jazz acts to an intimate setting. The new venue allows for a larger crowd without sacrificing a good view of the stated. The downside, however, is the 2 item per person or dinner reservations requirement. Normally, I wouldn't have problem with this, however, the food is not good and is overpriced. They're charging $13 for a caprese salad and calamari that is not stellar. The martinis range from $10-14. Also, if the place is crowded it takes 10-15 minutes to get your drinks. Bottom line, for 2 people you spending at least $50. Quite frankly, I don't like being told I have to purchase something to cover the "entertainment charge." If this is the case, what did the ticket price include?
I have been a long-time fan of Catalina Bar and Grill, having frequented the old location for many years. I regret to say that I will never go there, again. The new venue is, essentially, a gutted office building. The space is large, and cold (I actually had to ask the server to turn down the air conditioning so that my date might dine with her coat off). The Cahuenga location used to be packed. No longer. Unlike the cozy, former venue, the acoustics leave much to be desired... which is reflected in the fact that the place was not even at a quarter of it's capacity.
I would hesitate to call this establishment a restaurant, rather- I would liken it to a cafeteria. My date ordered the goat cheese salad. I ordered the chicken piccata. Both dishes were sub par. They would be considered standard fare... for a 300+ person wedding if the budget were $10 a plate (yet they cost substantially more). We ordered the warm apple tart a la mode for dessert. Not only did the tart show up on our bill after sending it back uneaten, twice, but I actually had to engage the manager in a debate before he would remove it! The fact of the matter is that the tart was never hotter than a 10 second microwave zapping (not to mention- it tasted awful). The manager informed me that if I wanted a warm dessert, I should not have ordered pie with ice cream. I asked him if he had ever heard of sweet and sour sauce, but abandoned the whole "juxtaposition of harmonious textures/flavors" sermon.
I went to "Tasty Tuesdays" where I saw Michael Konik and the Tasty Band. Michael Konik is quite possibly the worst singer I have ever had to endure. I think the band would be more successful without his strained attempts at crooning. Konik's banter between sets was equally painful. His smarmy demeanor only made me feel more ill to my stomach than the low quality food.
I could go on... but who would listen? I'll chalk this one up to a learning experience (ala school of hard knocks).
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