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Scotch and cigars at Cool River

Well, now I have heard so much talk about this Cool River place and the "cougar" scene that when I heard they have a smoking room and you can smoke in the bar I thought I would try it out. It was a spur of the moment thing so I went without any cigars in hand and drove right past Specs as I was going there. Here is what I encountered. First, they do have a small selection of cigars, limited but a good selection. As one might expect there is a very high markup over the retail price. In my case I bought an AVO No.2 for 15 which is about a 7 dollar cigar retail. That kind of markup though, is sort of to be expected. After all cigars can get old if not stored properly and the place probably has to buy them retail also. Then I went to the bar and ordered a Scotch. Cutty Sark , yukkie, is the well Scotch so you are sort of forced into buying another brand. As long as I was spending the money, I asked for a Johnny Walker Black, my usual drink. I handed the bartender a 10 dollar bill and she came back with that will be 10.25. I think I concealed my shock and amazement pretty well. I think that is shameful. Perhaps you disagree but do the math. For drinks on the rocks, they pour 2 ounces, or 60 ml. One can get a pair of bottles at Twin for around 44 dollars per bottle. Given that each bottle holds 1750 ml. that means that CR made almost 300 dollars on that bottle of Scotch if they had even bought it retail, which I am sure they did not. I sure they are adequately covering all overhead with this usurous pricing but they are also shooting themselves in the foot because I would have bought two drinks and overall made them more money but intstead I felt cheated by that fantastic price. I then felt bad because I tipped only a dollar.

I'm not a bartender and I don't know how these things are priced. Maybe I should get out more and I would realize how much my head is up my largest planet, but am I crazy or what?

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  1. Singlemalt,you are not crazy


    We've touched on the subject above too

    I guess you're paying to be allowed to hunt in one of the biggest cougars-in-their-natural-state habitats left in Texas.

    1 Reply
    1. re: scrumptiouschef

      Well, maybe. I'm too old for cougar bait but if a cougar is buying then I suppose price is no object.

      1. re: ret3

        Well you caught me talking out of the wrong planet. I knew I should have checked on that before posting.

      2. As long as people are wiling to buy at those prices, CR will keep selling at those prices. Easy as that.

        1. 10.25 for Jonny walker Black is pretty ridiculous.

          1. Those seem like topless bar prices.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chascates

              Going back tonight. This time taking my own cigar and buying beer.

            2. I don't think it's just Cool River who charges crazy prices for scotch, it seems to be a pretty common occurrence from my experience. That's why I rarely purchase scotch at a bar since you might as well be drinking a bottle of Macallan 18 at home at those prices. Same can be said for wine prices at most restaurants.

              1. Are you talking about the big bottles for $44? A standard size bottle is 750 ml. Thus a 60 ml. pour yields 12.5 drinks, or about $125. Still pretty steep, but not as astronomical as your calculations - only a couple hundred percent markup.... And there are plenty of bars in town that, regrettably, charge more than that for a martini or whatever abomination they call by some variation of that name, which contains roughly the same amount of liquor. So sort of par for the course, unfortunate as that may be. And Austin used to be a cheap place to live....

                3 Replies
                1. re: Bat Guano

                  Austin was indeed a cheap place to live when I was in college in the 70's, but the pay rate was also abysmally low. When I returned here in the 80's pay rates had skyrocketed, and so had the prices.

                  1. re: Bat Guano

                    My favorite is the $10 "Cosmopolitan" with cheap vodka and Ocean Spray cranberry cocktail.

                    1. re: Bat Guano

                      I'm talking about the 1.75 liter bottle. Last night I was at the bar enjoying my 7 dollar cigar from Spec's and drinking a 5 dollar beer when a young lady was questioning the bartender about her tab. The bar tender was heard to sheepishly and with apparent embarresment explain to her that a certain drink was 14 dollars. Well, we all have the option not to go there so quit your bitching.

                    2. wow, i had no idea CR was such a cougar watering hole.
                      even though i live near-ish, the only people i knew that went here were my two lesbian friends.
                      having grown up with a cougar back in the day (my mother is now considered a "saber-tooth", haha) this place would be like a trip down memory lane for me.
                      i must try it, for nostalgia.
                      perhaps they have a happy hour so i don't spend a gajillion dollars.