Author Topic: No prices on cocktail menus - what do I do?  (Read 6655 times)

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DavidH

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Re: No prices on cocktail menus - what do I do?
« Reply #45 on: May 06, 2013, 12:16:19 PM »
I think it's fine to ask the price for a small number of drinks, but not the entire menu one by one.  I undersand why many places wouldn't have a menu listing all possible drinks and don't really have a problem with that.  For a printed menu of specially drinks, it does seem kind of ridiculous not to show prices.  I can't quite see asking, what's your least expensive drink. 

In general, the price variation for house cocktails (alcohol and a mixer), say gin and tonic, vodka tonic, rum and coke, vodka cranberry, is within a dollar or two, so it's unlikely to get you much savings by asking about each one, so it might be easier to ask just about one that you are interested in.  The next price point might be martinis since in many places they have more alcohol.  Another category is specialty drinks, the ones listed on a menu.  Finally, you get into premium brands, for those, it's worth asking, particularly if you are talking about a very special scotch or Cognac which can get very expensive and vary quite a lot.

For beer, there are probably three or four categories, inexpensive domestic vs. premium (microbrews, imported, etc) on tap and then the same two categories in a bottle.  Within each category, there is not usually much variation, say a dollar or two, so asking for the price of each beer is a bit much, I think.   

Wine is a whole different issue, with the potential for huge variation and a wine menu with prices is key for all but the house wines, where you could certainly ask. 

Twik

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Re: No prices on cocktail menus - what do I do?
« Reply #46 on: May 07, 2013, 09:54:00 AM »
I think it's fine to ask the price for a small number of drinks, but not the entire menu one by one. 

Well, all I can say is that if a restaurant doesn't want servers to have to go repeatedly through its entire drink list ("The margarita is $8, the daiquiri is $7 - no, I'm not sure why they're different - and the gin and tonic is $6, but not if you want top-shelf gin...."), they should put the prices on the menu where they belong>:D
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Lynn2000

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Re: No prices on cocktail menus - what do I do?
« Reply #47 on: May 07, 2013, 10:56:33 AM »
I like the idea of calling beforehand to ask the price of a few specific drinks you're interested in. You could even email them if they have a web presence (and at the same time suggest they put the drink prices on their printed/online menus!).

If someone's treating you to dinner, I would order the same cocktail they did, or one that seems equivalent. I don't know too much about drinks, but if they ordered a choco-tini, for example, an apple-tini would probably cost about the same. I can see how asking the waiter in that situation would be weird, because it doesn't help to just know the price of your own drink, you also want to know how it stands in relation to what your host ordered.

I also like the idea of asking your host to recommend a drink to you, as they will probably pick one at a price point they feel comfortable with (even if they don't know the actual price, they'll probably pick something equivalent to what they got for themselves). At the very least, if they pick something for you that turns out to be more expensive, it will have been their suggestion, not yours.

If you're paying for yourself, it's absolutely okay to ask about prices. I like the idea of saying, "What's the price range for this page" or "this section of drinks," or you can ask about one specific drink you're interested in. If you're with people and feel embarrassed asking in front of them, you could try going to the ladies' room and stop by the bar on the way to ask the bartender how much something is, then order it when you come back to your table.

I would think a good waiter would help you find a drink you wanted, at the price you wanted, because otherwise you're not going to order anything--if you don't want to buy a $10 drink, they should happily help you find a $5 drink, instead of leaving you hanging to order $0 water.
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DavidH

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Re: No prices on cocktail menus - what do I do?
« Reply #48 on: May 07, 2013, 11:25:18 AM »
Everyone seems surprised by this, but it's very rare that I even see a full drink menu at either a bar or restaurant.  They typically have a list of specialty drinks and then the rest is up to the patron to know is an option.  Is it typical to see lists with things like vodka and soda, gin and tonic, vodka and cranberry, etc?  Normally it's just things like chocolate martinis or a french 75.

Yvaine

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Re: No prices on cocktail menus - what do I do?
« Reply #49 on: May 07, 2013, 11:29:30 AM »
Everyone seems surprised by this, but it's very rare that I even see a full drink menu at either a bar or restaurant.  They typically have a list of specialty drinks and then the rest is up to the patron to know is an option.  Is it typical to see lists with things like vodka and soda, gin and tonic, vodka and cranberry, etc?  Normally it's just things like chocolate martinis or a french 75.

Some restaurants have a huge drink menu, actually. I've often seen this at some of the "bar and grill" chains like Applebee's. The drink menu will be as big as the food one, with lots of specialty drink options that they invented or have their own twist on (though I'm sure they can still do the standard gin-and-tonic types of drinks).

Hmmmmm

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Re: No prices on cocktail menus - what do I do?
« Reply #50 on: May 07, 2013, 05:54:53 PM »
I don't think it's rude of a diner to ask in any situation.  I find it annoying to have to ask, but I don't feel rude or wrong under ordinary circumstances.

But if I am treating or being treated, it is embarrassing and awkward.  Think about a first date or a business interview.

So what I think is rude, or maybe just obnoxious, is the restaurant's not listing the prices. I think they are deliberately exploiting people's reticence.

Re:  Business Interview

It might be wise to refrain from consuming alcohol if the meal is an interview.  If it's a lunch over a deal, the answer can be different.  It is best to know whether the host's company has a policy on this subject.

Exponential ditto to the bolded.  I was always taught that anyone who has to ask the price can't afford the item in question and while that isn't always true it still feels true.

I have always found the line "If you have to ask, you can't afford it" to be a put down.

There is a huge difference between "having" to ask and "wanting" to know.

If I only have $10 dollars to my name, then yes, I have to ask how much the glass of wine is and I probably shouldn't be ordering a glass of wine anyway in that case.

But it could be that I have unlimited funds available but have no interest in spending $25 on a glass of wine. I could be just as happy with another selection that is $10 per glass. And if your my ubber wealthy aunt, she'll tell you to just wait and buy a bottle for $25 on the way home.:)


magicdomino

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Re: No prices on cocktail menus - what do I do?
« Reply #51 on: May 07, 2013, 05:59:22 PM »
And if your my ubber wealthy aunt, she'll tell you to just wait and buy a bottle for $25 on the way home.:)

And that is how uber wealthy aunts stay uber wealthy.   :D

Slartibartfast

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Re: No prices on cocktail menus - what do I do?
« Reply #52 on: May 08, 2013, 03:44:27 AM »
I've gotten burned by this even though I don't drink - $8 for a half glass of Coke at a hotel bar!  I can understand raising the prices on alcohol, but a 64x markup over what the can of soda cost to begin with is a bit much!

Amava

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Re: No prices on cocktail menus - what do I do?
« Reply #53 on: May 08, 2013, 05:19:18 AM »

I have always found the line "If you have to ask, you can't afford it" to be a put down.

There is a huge difference between "having" to ask and "wanting" to know.

Very true. I think the line "If you have to ask, you can't afford it", is a way of  playing into customers' insecurities (counting on the fact that they think "looking poor because they have to ask" is somehow shameful) in order to make them spend unresponsibly.

Venus193

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Re: No prices on cocktail menus - what do I do?
« Reply #54 on: May 08, 2013, 05:37:24 AM »
I've gotten burned by this even though I don't drink - $8 for a half glass of Coke at a hotel bar!  I can understand raising the prices on alcohol, but a 64x markup over what the can of soda cost to begin with is a bit much!

That is obscene but not unique to hotels.

There is an Indian restaurant in the East Village with an excellent $7 lunch special.  However, if you order a soda it's $3.50 for a glass.  The lunch then ends up costing $14 or $15 after tax and tip,  I have no idea if you can get a free refill on the soda.

Otterpop

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Re: No prices on cocktail menus - what do I do?
« Reply #55 on: May 08, 2013, 03:53:06 PM »

I have always found the line "If you have to ask, you can't afford it" to be a put down.

There is a huge difference between "having" to ask and "wanting" to know.

Very true. I think the line "If you have to ask, you can't afford it", is a way of  playing into customers' insecurities (counting on the fact that they think "looking poor because they have to ask" is somehow shameful) in order to make them spend unresponsibly.

Ha, ha, that must be the tactic.  The majority of us can "afford" an $8 Coke but few of us want to buy one (unless we're desperate).  I guess it's best to stuff the manufactured embarrassment and ask the price.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2013, 03:54:43 PM by Otterpop »