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Apr 27, 2001 01:34 AM

drinking tap water

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I went to a sandwich place for lunch, selected a sandwich and asked for a glass of water. The cashier said they cannot serve tap water. San Francisco's water source, the Hetch Hetchy Resevoir, produces clean water, perfectly safe for drinking. I have no particular desire to drink bottled water here. I felt irritated and that perhaps the store prefers to make a nice margin from selling bottled water. Chowhound comments?

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  1. b
    Brandon Nelson

    Smells like B.S.

    I think your server was trying to make a sale. I would have asked for the person in charge to "clarify" that policy. It sounds bogus.


    8 Replies
    1. re: Brandon Nelson

      It is pretty amazing how quickly we've arrived at our current state of avoiding tap water. I do believe we have pretty good tasting water but folks are so used to buying bottled water and don't even think of drinking tap water anymore. In the back of the East Bay Express I was very impressed by a small ad for water read: buy a filter or be a filter! Very effective phrasing ...self serving but clever.

      1. re: gordon wing

        EBMUD tap water is just fine with me. I never order bottled water, unless I want bubbles, when I'm in the East Bay.

        1. re: Melanie Wong
          Caitlin McGrath

          Believe me, you find out how good EBMUD water is when you move somewhere else. All the years I lived in Santa Cruz, I drank the tap water, but it took some getting used to after the clean taste od EBMUD. NYC tap water is vaunted, but it depends entirely on where you are and the condition of the pipes. Where I live, it comes out cloudy and tastes sort of vile. We don't drink it and we don't make our cats drink it. But I have friends in other parts of town that have good-tasting water. And it's rare I don't just have iced tap water in restaurants here. I'm just in the wrong neighborhood, I guess. I'll probably have to move this summer, so I'm curious how the tap water will be in a different nabe.

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            If you are unblessed with old pipes (having done some plumbing in my younger days, old pipes can narrow down to 1/4" with rust and crud)the only thing is to get a water purifier. Prices vary, but you can get pretty good one for $30-$40. Makes a noticable difference.

            1. re: Jim H.

              Would you (or anyone) happen to know a good plumber in the Berkeley/Oakland area? Yesterday after a red wine tasting at a friend's house, we emptied the dump bucket down the kitchen sink when someone came out of the bath room and said something surreal was happening. The red wine was bubbling up out of the drain in the bath tub! After my friend stopped cursing, he said he didn't know who to call because his former plumber had retired. The joys of (craftsman) home ownership!

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                The drain is clogged beyond the bathtub...this means the obstruction is causing the sewerage to back up to the first open escape (in this case the tub). That is bad news, because the obstruction may have to be snaked out by use of an auger. I would call a drain cleaner outfit...Roto-Rooter or one of the lookalikes. Just to play heads-up, tell your friend to get a plunger (called a plumber's friend) and put several inches of water in the tub...plunge like hell and many times the blockage will flush away.

                1. re: Jim H.
                  Melanie Wong

                  He thanks you.

                  This is a great message board - virtual plumber, consulting green grocer - we've got it all!

            2. re: Caitlin McGrath

              Last week we took a friend from NYC to Chez P Cafe for his first time. Glasses of iced tap water were plopped down as soon as we were seated, no bottled water was even offered which has become de rigeur in other places. I saw his eyebrow go up, so I quickly said that this was the second best tap water in the country, with NY being first. (g)

      2. Out of curiousity, which sandwich place was it? I'd like to avoid it.

        Deb H.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Deb H.

          Deb, unfortunately, it was at Birley Sandwich, at 4 Embarcadero Center. Birley has nice sandwiches, as other chowhounders have reported. I agree totally with the prior post that I'll pay for any other beverage, but I resent having to buy water here.

        2. r
          Rochelle McCune

          While I don't disagree with Brandon, I do have to mention that even though the water from Hetch Hetchy is some of the best water around, some of the pipes it has to travel through to come out the tap are very old and nasty.

          The water that came out of my tap at home was funky tasting until I replaced some of my old pipes with new copper pipes. I recently had the tap water Squat and Gobble on Fillmore. It was incredibly nasty and they are only a block away from my house.

          So the waiter could have been trying to sell you something you didn't need. Or it could have been because their tap water sucks. If that was the case, he should have told you so and/or brought you a taste. I agree with Brandon that following up with management is a good idea.

          1. It seems to me, that if a restaurant (or sandwich place) for whatever reason has abonimable water (even if from the melting snowman), they should comp the customers and consider it a cost of doing business. This is one of those little irritants that cause me to write such places off on general principles. Call me eccentric, but I will not pay for, wine,booze, etc., OK...but not water. I know some people have an oral fixation about sucking on a bottle of water, but God GAVE us water so we wouldn't die of thirst.