I wrote about the Pint Shop almost a month ago when they first opened. You can read about it here. I went back this weekend with my best friends so that we could experience it together, the three of us.
Side track for a minute: If you're not familiar with me and my friends, it's usually me and my two best girls, Physics & Knives and Kaylessi. You'll notice they're in a lot of my photos and adventures with me. Together, we make the Bitches of Cosplay. We're just a trio of girls who have been friends since high school and college. We're all on different paths but we try our best to make time for each other despite adulting hiccups. Recently we've slowed down in cosplay to focus on our real lives.
Back to the Pint Shop. I originally visited on June 7th, their second day of opening and I also visited on June 30 and let me tell you, both visits were very different. So this post is kind of like a follow up review.
The first visit was on a Thursday but I did anticipate it to be busy since it was brand new. I imagined the weekend would be crazier since I had to wait about 30 minutes or so to get in the first time around on a weekday. So what we did naturally to avoid this wait was book a tasting session. Tickets are sold on showclix and are similar to purchasing NYCC tickets. The virtual queue is a wretched place and it's the luck of the draw if you can get in and get the day and timeslot you want. It was sold out within the hour after tickets released for this booking period.
If you have tasting tickets, you get to skip the line and go straight into the shop so you can make your appointment on time. And obviously once the tasting is over, you have immediate access to the rest of the shop. Being a weekend and that it was 100 degrees this past weekend, the tasting tickets did come in handy for being a skip-the-line ticket so we weren't standing outside dying in the sweltering summer heat waiting to get in.
Once in, we had to wait a little longer since the previous session was still cleaning up and getting ready for us. We took advantage of that time by snapping quick pics in the shop. I noticed that the shop has definitely changed since I was first there. They removed some items like the giant pink gumball machine, and some of the cute merchandise was no longer available like the sprinkle pool plushes. The area in front of the Museum of Ice Cream sign was no longer vacant and Instagram friendly for photos, but replaced with red tables and chairs for people to sit, lounge and eat their ice cream. Honestly, I hated this because it not only took away from the photo opportunity but allowed people more time in the shop as they can sit and loiter longer, making the line outside grow even more unbearable.
The giant pints were also different. The bananas that were there last time were 2D bananas, carefully patterned and coordinated. This time they were replaced with plastic toy bananas and scattered in no particular aesthetic pattern but just there. It looked kind of cheaply thrown together compared to what it originally looked like.
The last time I was there, the sprinkle pool pint had lost its swing on the second day! I chalked this up to a guest breaking it. But this time, it was fixed and available for cute photos. So this was one good difference.
The final difference was another bad one though. Last time, the cherry pool pint was FILLED with cherries for you to dive into and take cute photos and boomerangs. It was that deep that you could even bury yourself and a friend inside. This time? It was a joke. The cherries were unrecognizable! They looked like giant cherry pits because they had been smushed since opening. The cherries were all being squashed by all the people going in and out of the pint with their shoes on and people not being careful. And not only were they flattened, but there was significant less of them and you could see the bottom of the 'pool' visibly. You could no longer bury yourself and "swim" in it; You could tell this was not being maintained or replenished to keep up with the original intended look. And it wasn't even a full month yet! There was still a huge line for the cherry pool but from the looks of how pathetic it was, we passed this time around. I really wish they had taken care of this better. But the rest of the shop, was in a similar array. You could see its wear and tear after only a humble 3 weeks. It wasn't being maintained very well.
But the main point of the visit besides taking photos for the gram in the shop, was to experience what the tasting had to offer. The shop itself is free to visit as long as you're willing to wait on a first come, first serve line, but the tasting tickets were being sold at $33 a pop with a $4 service fee on top. It does come with a free pint of ice cream of your choosing, however I didn't really care for this perk since I couldn't really bring it home with me anyway since I come from Long Island. I could do without the 'free' pint factored into the ticket price. I'd rather get a coupon for the ice cream for when I can purchase it when it becomes available in Target. I loved the pink lab coats but you don't even get to keep them, nor are they available for purchase.
The main question - is the tasting worth the splurge? Let's be real. $37 is a lot to shell out for a 30 minute tasting session. While the tasting experience itself was fun, I don't think it was worth its sticker price. Honestly, I think it's just an overpriced skip the line ticket. It goes by too fast and honestly there is not much to the tasting. You can do without it and it wouldn't take away from the free experience of the Pint Shop itself. I had a better time on my first visit here when it was just the Pint Shop itself, without the tasting. You should just go with waiting outside on a slower weekday day to visit the shop rather than pay for an overpriced skip the line ticket into a free shop unless your only option is to visit on a weekend and that day happens to be the hottest day on Earth. The experience of the tasting itself is interesting to learn, but it's all facts you can google. And the 'tasting' part itself where you learn how they make and develop flavors isn't anything to write home about either. Sure you get to try all the flavors, but you can do that in the shop too. You're allowed to sample all the flavors available at a cart inside the store. I sampled 4 of them the first visit, and this time, I was able to sample all of them. I would say Cherrylicious is probably my favorite flavor. Churro Churro is pretty good too.
I was honestly disappointed by my second visit to the Pint Shop. The tasting was a let down and the lack of upkeep and maintenance in the shop has left me disillusioned. We were also rudely told to leave after an hour of being there by one of the managers there. He was upset with us because we had a DSLR and taking a lot of photos, but isn't that the point?!? We weren't the only ones with DSLRs and this place was built for that to help generate more publicity and popularity through people sharing their photos of their visits. I understand there are people outside waiting to come in, but we had spent money on their highway robbery tasting tickets, as well as the overpriced novelty merchandise, so honestly we should have been able to freely roam and spend as much time as we pleased. But that's also why the store is not a ticketed experience but rather free and open to the public. You're allowed to browse as much as you like. Even if there was a time limit to how long you can stay in the shop, the man who shooed us out could've been nicer at handling the situatin.
Don't get me wrong, I still love the Pint Shop and would visit time and time again, but only because it's free. The MOIC LA ticket was $29 and there was a whole lot more to experience at that exhibit than a simple 30 minute tasting session and a few cute aisles, that's for sure. It's the only pop up I've experienced actually that I can say was actually worth its price.
Do yourself a favor, I still recommend stopping by and experiencing this pop up, but you can really forgo the tasting. Go on a weekday, during off peak hours and with a friend who knows how to take fire shots for the gram so you can maximize your experience. And try to steer clear of that rude Nazi that monitors how long you spend in the store, but not how much money you spend.
Here's the kicker. As poor as this experience was, I'm headed back there in another week for the ice cream social, hahaha! What is wrong with me.