clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Frustrated Attendees Call Taste of Night Market Event a 'Catastrophe'

Last weekend's Santa Monica event meant to clear up lingering issues, but seems to have created its own.

If you buy something from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

A crowded Taste of Night Market
A crowded Taste of Night Market
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

In reading the reviews online this morning, it seems the reformatted 626 Night Market event last weekend in Santa Monica was a bit of a disaster. Dubbed Taste of Night Market, the plan was to sell $65 tickets in advance as a way to help with overcrowding, which had become a major issue in years past at other Night Market events. Instead, pretty much everyone is saying the lines were as long as ever (if not longer), and that the price point certainly didn’t match the food that was available.

A look through the Yelp page that sprung up for the event shows almost all one star reviews, with everyone echoing the same rough sentiments: the price was too high for the food that anyone was able to actually get, and that many vendors either no-showed or were out of food by early evening. Even the promised on-site alcohol ended up being individual two-ounce pours, says one Yelper named Tyler E.:

Oh, and they said they served alcohol??? They gave you 2 2oz pours and put you back in a 15 minute line to get a second sip.

Facebook offers the same bleak recounting of the night, with people swapping tales of having waited over an hour in one line for a single fried chicken drumstick.  You’ll want to check those one star Facebook reviews fast, though, as they seem to keep disappearing after being put up. The quote of the bunch that we’ve seen comes from one Justin D.:

For an amount of money where we could’ve gone to Animal or Republique and had the meal of the year, we wasted on this event. People always say avoid first year festivals/events. Taste of Night Market in Santa Monica is why.

Tipsters have been writing in to call the event a ‘catastrophe’, with some food bloggers who went admitting to having left less than an hour in after witnessing the mayhem. Rumor has it there’s a class action lawsuit on the horizon, though that may be a bunch of hyperbole. Eater reached out for comment from the 626 Night Market team, but so far hasn’t heard back.

Update: Here's what the Taste of Night Market team has to say about the event:

We recognize that during the dinner rush hour access to food was slow. We asked chefs to prepare sufficient food based on the number of attendees. Chefs ranged in experience from small operations to some that were more efficient. After Friday, we worked with all chefs to prepare more food more efficiently for Saturday. We stopped ticket sales to help ensure there was enough food. We apologize to those who were inconvenienced at the event.