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What's the max price you would pay for a bottle of wine when dining out in Manhattan.

Monica Dec 20, 2010 08:39 AM

I almost always order a bottle of wine when dining out. I try to stay under $50-$60 a bottle but at a fine restaurant, a nice bottle under $50 is hard to find these days.
Do you set a limit on wine budget when dining out?

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    gutsofsteel RE: Monica Dec 20, 2010 08:43 AM

    It really depends - I have no set answer. Sometimes I spend $50, sometimes I spend $300 (or more or less)...it really depends. Depends on the occasion, on the food, on the restaurant, on the wine list, on my mood...sometimes I BYO...

    1. s
      Stuartmc910 RE: Monica Dec 20, 2010 08:43 AM

      I'm usually in the same range, if possible. However, as you mentioned that's not always doable at more upscale restaurants, so I would raise the ante to $80.00. If there is nothing on the list in the range, I'll order a glass and sip it very slowly.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Stuartmc910
        cambridgedoctpr RE: Stuartmc910 Dec 20, 2010 08:49 AM

        given that restaurants double or triple the price of wine, if i want some expensive wine, i try to find a place that allows me to bring my own wine. If you buy very expensive wine, even the most expensive corkage fees are wroth it. if not, there are excellent restaurants that have reasonable fees.

        1. re: cambridgedoctpr
          loratliff RE: cambridgedoctpr Dec 20, 2010 09:20 AM

          Ditto. We've taken bottles to both Eleven Madison Park and Per Se. EMP's corkage fee is a very reasonable $35. Per Se's is $90, but they had a different vintage of the same wine we brought on their list for $450 so we still saved quite a bit.

          Per Se
          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

          Eleven Madison Park
          11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

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        Pan RE: Monica Dec 20, 2010 10:42 AM

        Of course. Everyone should set a limit if they don't have unlimited money to spend. For whatever it's worth, I can't remember ever paying more than $48 for a bottle on my own dime. If I go to a restaurant where I have to pay a lot for food, I will order by the glass or carafe/caraffina (or whatever measure they're using). This is assuming I'm part of a party of 2; if I'm part of a 4-top or larger group, buying 2 or more bottles is very possible, but even then, it's not too likely we'd get any bottles that cost much more than that.

        If I feel like splurging a bit, I'm more apt to get a cocktail or two or/and try two or three different wines (that is, a dessert wine could be one of them) than spend a lot of money for one bottle. I just find that more interesting and, thus, a better value for me. But everyone has to make their own decisions on what they can afford and what gives them most enjoyment for their bucks.

        1. Monica RE: Monica Dec 20, 2010 11:03 AM

          Also, do you guys feel 'cheap' if you don't order any alcoholic beverages?

          4 Replies
          1. re: Monica
            cheesecake17 RE: Monica Dec 20, 2010 11:11 AM

            Not at all. A restaurant is not a club or bar. There's no requirement to order a drink, alcoholic or otherwise.

            I'm pregnant, so no drinks for me, and husband is my designated driver, so nothing for him either. If a waiter continues asking for drink orders, husband usually firmly states "we will not be drinking this evening."

            1. re: Monica
              Pan RE: Monica Dec 20, 2010 11:14 AM


              1. re: Monica
                gutsofsteel RE: Monica Dec 20, 2010 12:17 PM


                1. re: Monica
                  Mr Porkchop RE: Monica Dec 20, 2010 12:33 PM

                  I feel many things when I don't order alcohol: regret, anger, boredom, shakey hands. "Cheap" isn't on the list though.

                  As for the original question, it really depends on how much I've already had to drink, and how attractive the waitress is.

                2. g
                  gutsofsteel RE: Monica Dec 20, 2010 01:15 PM

                  This question also really depends on what a person's financial situation is.

                  1. princeofpork RE: Monica Dec 20, 2010 03:17 PM

                    I wont pay more than 100 for a bottle of wine. I just dont think I can tell the difference between a 100 and 1000 dollar bottle.

                    1. h
                      Hey19 RE: Monica Dec 20, 2010 04:34 PM


                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Hey19
                        princeofpork RE: Hey19 Dec 20, 2010 05:26 PM

                        Wow, I want to go to dinner with you!!

                        1. re: princeofpork
                          Stuartmc910 RE: princeofpork Dec 20, 2010 06:20 PM

                          I hate to get off OP, but what about tipping. Would you tip waitperson (let's say 20%), $20 for a $100 bottle of wine and $200 for a $1,000 bottle of wine? Same amount of effort, bringing to table, opening and pouring.

                          1. re: Stuartmc910
                            gutsofsteel RE: Stuartmc910 Dec 20, 2010 06:41 PM

                            Not the same amount of effort. Somebody opening a $1,000 bottle of wine is likely not a server...likely a sommelier, who will taste, decant as appropriate, etc etc. I tip 20% on the whole check.

                            1. re: Stuartmc910
                              Pan RE: Stuartmc910 Dec 20, 2010 08:09 PM

                              I always tip at least 20% or so on the amount of my check, regardless what it is. If I can't afford to tip 20% on a check, I shouldn't be spending that much before tax and tip. But perhaps I'm inconsistent, because I generally tip $1 per drink at the bar, with the exception that I do tip more for labor-intensive cocktails that are well made and also may tip for plain ice water if I'm getting it for a friend with my drink.

                            2. re: princeofpork
                              Hey19 RE: princeofpork Dec 21, 2010 05:37 AM

                              Kind of kidding, just kind of seems like an impossible question to answer. At a standard dinner w my sweathog friends, we hope to get something under 60 or so, when I make partner at Goldmans or something, maybe 5k at Per Se is in order. I dont work at Goldman BTW, just a good archetype.

                              If I were forced to put a max price, I would have to set it high, to accomodate those rare occurances.

                              Per Se
                              10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                              1. re: Hey19
                                msny98 RE: Hey19 Dec 21, 2010 11:24 AM

                                Goldman is no longer a partnership....

                                1. re: msny98
                                  fm1963 RE: msny98 Dec 21, 2010 12:37 PM

                                  But there are still "partners" at Goldman Sachs, the corporation.


                                  The folks at Per Se would be happy to recommend a bottle under $100 if that is your budget.

                                  Per Se
                                  10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                                  1. re: fm1963
                                    loratliff RE: fm1963 Dec 22, 2010 06:01 AM

                                    Yes, Per Se's list is really quite varied and doesn't tend exclusively to the $5k/bottle set.

                                    Per Se
                                    10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                          2. coasts RE: Monica Dec 20, 2010 07:13 PM

                            personally, i have a point where something becomes too expensive to enjoy, as i become more focused on the cost rather than enjoying the experience.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: coasts
                              gutsofsteel RE: coasts Dec 20, 2010 07:23 PM

                              I guess everybody has that point...but it differs according to the economic situation of each individual...for some people spending $100 on a bottle of wine is a big deal, for some people spending $1,0000 on a bottle of wine is not a big deal...

                              1. re: gutsofsteel
                                coasts RE: gutsofsteel Dec 20, 2010 07:26 PM

                                yes, i just didn't feel that disclosing my personal economic situation advanced the topic.

                            2. Wilfrid RE: Monica Dec 20, 2010 07:57 PM

                              Let me just question one of the premises here. I am a fairly experienced diner, and I am going to tell you that outside - maybe - the very top level of Manhattan restaurants, you will find bottles in the $40 to $50 range everywhere. Everywhere. You may need the sommelier's help locating them in the list, but they are there.

                              The fancier the restaurant, the better these bottles are likely to be. I'd challenge someone to tell me somewhere you can't get bottles in that price range.

                              1. p
                                philk021 RE: Monica Dec 20, 2010 08:30 PM

                                Usually $50-$80, unless its a special occasion. Works out cause my favorite wine is usually in that price range.

                                1. sgordon RE: Monica Dec 21, 2010 11:21 AM

                                  I find 90% of the time you can find a decent bottle in the $30-40 range, $40-50 at a higher end place. If I'm thinking of splurging much beyond that, I bring my own and pay the corkage, which at most places is around $25. No sense paying $300 (or more) for a $100 bottle of wine when I could pay $125 total after having brought it myself.

                                  1. m
                                    msny98 RE: Monica Dec 21, 2010 11:27 AM

                                    I usually try to stay under $100, $80 even. I do bring my own pretty often to good places that are BYO friendly as opposed to allow it with a sneer (I generally walk in with something nice, had dinner at EMP a few weeks back and had a 95 Cos D'Estournel along (very good with 2 hours of air BTW))

                                    I hate overpaying for wine

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: msny98
                                      Monica RE: msny98 Dec 21, 2010 12:30 PM

                                      Yeah, ordering wine is my biggest dilemma..I love having wine when dining out but at the same time, I know I am overpaying for the wine. I know some people will say, it's for the whole experience...etc..but still...

                                      1. re: Monica
                                        RCC RE: Monica Dec 21, 2010 02:43 PM

                                        It's for the whole experience? That's a bunch of bull.
                                        Having food and wine is something that you like, or don' tlike ... not because somebody else tells you it's all about the experience.

                                        Besides, given the costs of keeping wine in a restaurant, you might reconmsider your thought about "overpaying for the wine".

                                    2. s
                                      scotty27 RE: Monica Dec 22, 2010 05:43 AM

                                      It would depend where I am. If it's super-upscale, like Restaurant Daniel, say, I'd spend more. The foot merits it. I don't have a ton of money so I guess $150 would be the upper limit. I once made the mistake of telling the sommelier at The French Laundry to have fun and send stuff out and wound up with a $500 wine bill. My bad. What's nice is a conversation with the sommelier: "What's good for under $100?" Even better is calling in advance and getting wines by the glass per course. Three glasses at b/n 13-17 x 2 = $78 to $102 for two. The bottom line? It should fun, not scary.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: scotty27
                                        RCC RE: scotty27 Dec 22, 2010 05:52 AM

                                        "I once made the mistake of telling the sommelier at The French Laundry to have fun and send stuff out and wound up with a $500 wine bill."

                                        Consider yourself lucky that the tally was only $500.

                                        1. re: RCC
                                          loratliff RE: RCC Dec 22, 2010 06:02 AM

                                          Yeah, could've easily been triple that. What did you expect?

                                          1. re: loratliff
                                            scotty27 RE: loratliff Dec 22, 2010 06:09 AM

                                            I wasn't thinking. The meal for two came in at about $980. It was my 4th visit there. I figured, wait. I didn't figure. I wasn't thinking. Was it worth it? It was worth it.

                                            1. re: scotty27
                                              loratliff RE: scotty27 Dec 22, 2010 06:54 AM

                                              That's all that matters anyway. :)

                                      2. b
                                        Bkeats RE: Monica Dec 22, 2010 10:30 AM

                                        One piece of advice that I think is worth keeping in mind is to never order an expensive bottle of wine if you know you can buy it at the local shop. When I go out for a typical weekday dinner with the wife, the bottle will be anywhere from 40 to 60. I know I'm over paying by 2-3 times based on the retail cost, but what the heck as I want wine with dinner. But whenever I'm at a fine dining level and I'm paying for the meal as opposed to having it be a T&E and the bottle costs 100+, I work with the sommelier to pick out something I've never seen or can't pick up at the shop around the corner. If you can't get the wine anywhere else, you worry less about whether you are over paying. That said, the most I recall ever spending on a bottle was around 400. An amazing bottle too.

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