Young and Hungry

Harold Black Ditches Secret Number

Well, that was fast. So-called "speakeasy" Harold Black will no longer require you to text an unpublished number to get a reservation. Instead, the Eastern Market bar is switching to online reservation system CityEats, Washingtonian reports.

Owner Ari Gejdenson tells the magazine that the bar was overwhelmed with reservation requests after Y&H published the number in a January story that detailed the cumbersome reservation process. Harold Black will begin accepting reservations through CityEats in two weeks. Eight seats will be saved for walk-ins.

Harold Black is not the first bar to try and then abandon a "secret" phone number. PX had an unpublished number for nine months after it opened in 2006. Owner Todd Thrasher ultimately switched to an online reservation system because the bar was only getting 10 to 15 people on an average night.  "That's not economically viable for any business," Thrasher said.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Nuies

    News flash; if you keep your business a secret, you might not get customers.

  • Adam

    This was my point on twitter: In the original article, the owners expressed a desire to grow their demand organically, and in response you published their reservation number. Now, they're forced to give up the initial strategy due to being overwhelmed with reservations. Maybe you're right that they would never reach a critical mass of business otherwise, but isn't also possible that their "organic growth" plan could have worked?
    I wandered in with a friend a few weeks after they opened (with no reservation), had a good experience, and returned soon after with a different group of friends. I believe that's called organic growth.
    And why not let them have some fun creating a "speakeasy"? Once inside, the place is certainly not as pretentious as plenty of other cocktail bars around town.


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