In theory, everything about Hopmonk Tavern makes sense. The patio layout is the best in town, perfect for enjoying sunshine and music, and the beer selection is perfect - packed with Sonoma county favorites and their own micro-brews (I loved my Hopmonk Tavern Ale). But as time passed during my first visit, none of this seemed to make a difference.
Since the thorough conversion from Emmy’s Pizza Shack to Hopmonk Tavern by the Gordon Biersch people last year, I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz praising Sonoma’s newest Tavern - which offers traditional and innovative pairings of beer and food, with an emphasis on local suppliers. Last Sunday had the makings of a perfect Hopmonk evening: the weather was absolutely beautiful, and great local band, The Easy Leaves, were playing on the patio. I was excited to check it all out.
Upon arrival, Hopmonk seemed like an ideal venue for hanging out in Sonoma, the place I’ve been waiting for - long picnic tables packed with all walks of life. I was feeling great about this place.
But as time passed, a dismal mess unfolded...and in true Sonoma fashion no one got mad, we just sat back and watched the train wreck.
The issue at Hopmonk is clearly an organizational problem; I have never seen communication at a restaurant so poor, especially coming from such a successful corporation.
The young staff of frowning faces was very busy walking around in circles and was rarely doing anything productive. Most of us were ignored. All the patrons on the back patio seemed to stare and ponder the display: it took a minimum of twenty minutes for a drink and an eternity for food - and if it arrived, it was likely to be the wrong dish.
Well, at least I’ve heard the food is good, but I wouldn’t know. After sitting at Hopmonk for almost two hours no one ever asked if I wanted some.
Somehow I enjoyed my time at Hopmonk, thanks to the sun and music. It’s too bad all the unacknowledged people who walked out missed The Easy Leaves - hopefully Hopmonk’s booking agent keeps doing a good job and the waitstaff irons out the kinks. It'd be a shame to waste such a perfect spot.
Hopmonk, 691 Broadway (707) 935-9100