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“A Tale of Two Visits”
Review of The Compass Tavern

The Compass Tavern
Ranked #108 of 635 Restaurants in Worcester
Cuisines: American
Restaurant details
Reviewed 6 April 2018

On a Sunday afternoon visit here in February my friends and I could not have been more delighted. The place was mobbed, service great and food was awesome. So when we deiced to venture in on a weeknight we expected a the same but a less crowded experience.


The place was empty at 5:00 and so I easily snagged a booth. The baseball game was blaring from the TV and it didn't feel like the heater was working. I asked the waitress about music and she went to the bartender who finally did shut off the game. About an hour into our meal the game was back on blaring even though there was only by now a very small crowd mostly dining at booths. Needless to say the atmosphere was off.

My friend and I ordered the seafood risotto which is a more expensive item at $18.99. The last time she had it she loved it so I decided to also give it a try.

It was served lukewarm and seriously lacked any distinctive taste. A flavorless concoction of a seafood blend that looked as if it could have come from the frozen section of your local supermarket. We were very disappointed.

The place never warmed up - literally. All in all and based on prior reviews the place is spotty.

My advice is if you walk in and the vibe feels off - turn around and walk out. Your instincts are probably spot on.

Date of visit: April 2018
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank daxmurphy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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11 - 15 of 55 reviews

Reviewed 12 February 2018 via mobile

The place was mobbed at 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon. My two friends and I grabbed a good size but cozy booth in the bar area. Exposed brick and other architectural features give this a slightly urban feel.

The menu packs a good variety of apps, pizzas, a small but solid burger selection, salads, sandwiches and soups.

A few pasta dishes but a nice selection of dinner specials. Entrees with starch and veggie of the day average $14-16. A few items in the $19-20 range.

I had the bourbon pork chops with loaded mashed potatoes and butternut squash. Two meaty chops on the bone in a delectable sauce were perfectly cooked. The mashed potatoes and butternut squash were out of this world.

My friends enjoyed the seafood risotto and the steak tips (also with mashed potato and butternut squash.

Cocktails were well done and a mistake on one was quickly remedied. Prices on par with many other area restaurants @$10 but you get a good pour.

Service was great too!

Harding Street and vicinity is attracting some cool eateries and businesses. I need to hang out there more!

Date of visit: February 2018
Thank daxmurphy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 February 2018

On Sunday, January 14, we (3 adults) went to The Compass Tavern at about 1 pm. I had bought a groupon for it a for months earlier, a $25 voucher for $14. I was surprised to see the place so busy, but then realized that many restaurants in Worcester either don't open on Sunday until 5 pm or they don't open on Sunday at all.

We were seated in a booth immediately. First thing I noticed was the blaring volume of the football game on TV (not the Patriots, not that it mattered). I looked to see if they could change our table but noticed that speakers were on every other beam so there was no getting away from it. The manager said he would turn it down to a more realistic level, which he did. It was very loud!

Our wonderful waitress "Aleks" greeted was right away and we gave her our cocktail order; two Stoli Cosmos and a Midori Sour, at $8 each. Cosmos were fine in a fairly large martini glass, straight up with ice on the side, and the Midori Sour was also in a pretty large glass.

We started with the "The Ultimate Appetizer Platter" which was $16. It consisted of 2 macaroni cheese balls, 4 garlic Romano wings, 4 buffalo tenders, 3 beef skewers, about 8 large onion rings, and 4 thick potato skins. It was a lot of food and excellent.

One of us had the fried scallops for $16. She said they were "good," but she didn't think they were real scallops. The other two entrées were House Steak Tips at $16 each. The tips were good, but could have done without the seasoning they put on them. It disguised the true flavor of the meat. The mashed potatoes were wonderful, as well as the summer squash/zucchini vegetables. I had no choice as this was the "vegetable du jour," because I never would have selected it, but they were prepared in a way that they had just a little bite to them and a wonderful flavor.

That concluded our dining experience. All in all, Aleks was a wonderful waitress. Despite my few observations about the entrées, we thought the food was very good. And kudos to the manager for adjusting the volume on the TV to a more reasonable level. Our check was $94.70 with tax, without tip or groupon discount. We were charged and extra 50 cents for blue cheese, which we never ordered, used, wanted, or told about. It's like it's automatic with the Ultimate Appetizer Platter. Strange! We do recommend this place and would be very happy to return.

Date of visit: January 2018
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank islandhopper11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2017

The Compass Tavern epitomizes everything that is wrong with Worcester, and why it will always struggle to reinvent itself, as other cities of comparable size have done. If you are not obviously from Worcester, you can forget a warm welcome here. More likely you'll get treated like something the cat dragged in. Sat at the bar waiting for friends, with obvious "locals" on all sides. I might as well have been invisible. Bar staff busy serving regulars up and down the bar. Me? Nothing. Until I happened to draw the attention of the scowling barmaid to my presence. To say she responded to my polite demand for service with a pissy attitude is to put the matter mildly. I asked for a menu, and you would have thought I had made a lewd suggestion. Bottomline, if you are a Worcester native, this might be a cool place to hang out (the decor is quite nice); but if you are an "outsider," try elsewhere, and preferably not in Worcester. Life is far too short to be treated like dirt by bar staff sporting trendy black T-Shirts and bad attitudes. Drive into Boston or Providence instead, where bars and restaurants know that the first rule of good business is that you treat ALL your patrons with respect, if they are willing to part with their hard-earned money in your joint, in the hopes that they will come back; and, in addition to that, in hopes that they will spread the word about how great the place in question is. The owners/managers of the Compass Tavern, on the other hand, clearly don't have a clue about what makes for good business.

Date of visit: August 2017
    • Service
1  Thank eckerslike53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2017

We had visited Compass a previous time and found the food good, but not noteworthy.

But Worcester Restaurant Week convinced us to give Compass a second chance. This time, we were very happy with our meal - and especially our server.

We split two appetizers, the roast beef sliders and the calamari. No complaints about the size. The three large sliders featured tender roast beef and onions. The calamari was a huge portion for a restaurant week appetizer. We asked if they were just rings or tentacles. She said both, and I told her I didn't care for tentacles. She took most of them out in the kitchen for us.

One complaint we had was that the entrees came out before we could finish the appetizers, so we packaged a slider and some calamari.

For entrees, we opted first for the Summer BBQ (a half chicken, half rack of ribs, two decent sized corn on the cobs and a pile of potato salad). The menu said quarter chicken, but with a big breast, a wing, thigh and leg, we disagreed. We ate half the rack and nibbled a bit on the chicken (it was so much that we had to break down the chicken to get it to fit into the take-home box).

For the second entree, we followed our waitresses suggestion and got the chicken and shrimp scampi with bowtie pasta and cherry tomatoes. The sauce was nicely lemony. We each nibbled a little, before putting the leftovers in still another container. Do you see a theme?

For desserts, we chose the chocolate lasagna (oreo crumbs, cream cheese mixture and chocolate pudding). It was smothered in chocolate sauce and served with chocolate chips. We had the whipped cream on the side because we knew we couldn't finish and this was the easier to pack.

The second dessert was a sundae with mini scoops (plural) of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla ice cream with big chunks of chocolate chip cookies, with chocolate and caramel sauces. It was all we could do to share this dessert. We were that full.

There was a good beer list and my strawberry mule cocktail was tasty.

We almost didn't go to Compass because we tried to repeatedly use the online reservation system and the email, neither of which worked. Frustrated, we almost gave up before finding ourselves home one day when they were open and called for a reservation.

Date of visit: August 2017
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank jgot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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