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Just for fun - most overpriced drinks in Boston?

Met my SO at Beehive for a beer on Sunday - $8.25 for a draft Harpoon IPA?? Got me thinking about other places that are shameless in their bar markups. What do you think?

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  1. wine is the biggest problem. i remember having an unpleasant shock at Radius though not the details. They can triple the price of wine.

    14 Replies
    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

      Wine is definitely a tricky issue. I don't mind paying $10 - 12 for something perfect with my course if companions are eating / drinking something else, (that's how I usually do wine by the glass) but....

      I like big pours and I cannot lie.

      Pours the other night at Scampo were just about right. I've felt swindled at some other places around town. Robbed I tell ya.

      -----
      Scampo
      215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

      1. re: yumyum

        lol...if you also said you like your Cabs big and round, I might have nosed my coffee this morning.

        1. re: yumyum

          ...with a glass in hand with an itty bitty stem
          and a round bowl in your face...

          1. re: Niblet

            You win! You are the winner of the intarwebs! All hail the Nibs.

            1. re: Niblet

              Oh my god, thank you for that!!! Excellent! I bow in your presence....

          2. re: cambridgedoctpr

            my last meal at radius, several years back, the cheapest red on the list was $85. it was a bottle i knew wholesaled for under $15. egregious. one of the many reasons i never went back.

            1. re: cambridgedoctpr

              I thought tripling the price of the wine was the industry standard.

              1. re: tatamagouche

                Do you mean in Boston or in the restaurant business in general.? I spend a little time in Portland, Maine and their restaurants have wine at far more reasonable markups than in Boston. So I amnow being more discerning in ordering wine in Boston despite the fact that I love having a little extravagance when I go out to dine. It has becaome a real annoyance to not be able to find a decent bottle under $60.00 at even intemedciate Boston restaurants

                1. re: Northender

                  I guess I assumed Boston was commensurate with the industry in general in the US—here in Denver, the food costs are lower, which makes wine prices seem all the more egregious. Maybe hotoynoodle can speak to this?

                  1. re: tatamagouche

                    i'm not sure what the distribution system is in colorado, but we have a 3-tier system as well as pretty high taxes on all alcohol. it gets passed along and along and eventually the consumer bears the brunt.

                    some places, like steakhouses, have onerous mark-ups. certain owners choose a different business model. since i know the wholesale cost of nearly everything, often times i'll have a martini instead, lol. there are some places i simply refuse to go because the mark-ups are so ridiculous as to be nearly criminal.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      Agree. Unfortunately, the martini alternative strategy starts out as a great idea and then devolves into a more unfortunate denouement

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        MA alcohol taxes aren't really that high. The state gets $0.11 per gallon of beer and $0.55 per gallon of wine. For comparison, CO is $0.08 per gallon of beer and $0.32 per gallon of wine. A sizable difference on a percentage basis, but on an absolute basis, it's no more than a nickel per bottle of wine difference.

                        1. re: emannths

                          I know that it is a little unfair to compare Boston restaurant wine prices with Portland Maine because i am sure that rental costs are higher in Boston than in Portland. But the difference in mark up is still astounding and the lack of lower priced selections is just plain bad hospitality. Even if markups are going to be 300%, there are still selections that can be had for under the $50- 60$ starting points many Boston restaurants are offering. And i believe Maine may have higher liquor taxes than Massachusetts. rant over now, thanks

                2. re: cambridgedoctpr

                  Mid-range places usually mark up 250%.

                  High-end places operate on a lower margin with a bigger per so 300% is the rule of thumb.

                  Mid-range places comp 5%.

                  High-end places comp 10%

                  See the posting on NOT ABOUT FOOD re:"buybacks' for the details effect pricing.

                3. Hmmmm, good question. Is it still $10 for a glass of cask ale at Stoddard's?

                  1. Well you have to put Fenway Park on the list for the outrageously priced swill they call draft beer. What are they now about $8?

                    -----
                    Fenway Park
                    82 Lansdowne Street, Boston, MA 02215

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pemma

                      Indeed. And TD Garden, too. Light beer in a plastic cup for around $7? Insane.....

                    2. Most overpriced drinks? Whiskey Park: expensive, warm, utterly ineptly put together. But the whole place, everything about it, is a con, so no one should ever be surprised by this.

                      There are many, many places in town serving $12-14 cocktails that are completely indifferently made. Elaborate specialty cocktail list, a mile and a half of flavored vodkas, and zero technical proficiency or passion. Probably 1 in 3 fine dining restaurants with an average entree price over $18 and a full liquor license in Greater Boston is like this.

                      The programs that offend me the most are the ones aping the trappings of the serious craft cocktail bars: they feature pre-Prohibition classics, display lots of bitters, and so on, but they're complete poseurs. Their commitment to craft ended when they paid the consultant who slapped an Aviation on their cocktail list. Post 390 comes to mind on this score: they once served me a Sazerac in a big snifter over a fistful of ice cubes. There are many things wrong with that, but not giving a damn while pretending to is the biggest sin, in my book.

                      I need to do another pricing analysis on wines by-the-glass: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/425221 I suspect The Butcher Shop has a lot more company these days in the shameless gouging department.

                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                      -----
                      Whiskey Park
                      64 Arlington St, Boston, MA 02116

                      Post 390
                      406 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        i had a $15 aviation at sel de la terre that was like a glass of liquid sweet tart. disgusting. the guy that made it makes me wince every time he waits on me with his attempts to up-sell and general obsequiousness.

                        i am a fan of certain hotel bars, like the ritz and the boston harbor. the atmosphere is luxe and as such the prices are on the high side of average, but glassware is excellent, service is attentive without snobbery or attitude and pours are always on the generous side. i am not a fruity-tootie cocktail gal, and my manhattan drinking freind is well-served in these spots too.

                        -----
                        sel de la terre
                        boston, MA, boston, MA

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          Agree on many hotel bars, like the Rowes Wharf Bar, Bar at The Taj, Brasserie Jo.

                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                          -----
                          Brasserie Jo
                          120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            It's always worth it to have a drink at the Taj by the window overlooking Arlington St.. Prices are high, but at least you get nuts!

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              Speaking of hotel bars, I was at the Oak Room recently. I noticed they were infusing gin with cucumber. I asked for that with bitters, vermouth and lemon. It was a pretty good drink and worth the $12 I expected to pay. When I got my tab I noticed it was $20.

                              Charging twenty dollars for a cocktail I could easily make at home for about $4 worth of ingredients is shameful. Also, their beer selection is a joke. Have they updated it since 1989?

                              -----
                              Oak Room
                              138 St. James Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                              1. re: Kinopio

                                Unless you got a small glass somehow, I disagree that $20 is too much at the Oak Room. They are VERY large drinks, really two. And, instead of having half a cold drink and half a warm drink, they "split" the drink, pouring some into your glass and keeping some chilled in a iced carafe. Did you not receive your drink this way?

                                1. re: Alcachofa

                                  I wouldn't call what I received two drinks worth. Maybe 1 and then a couple extra sips.

                                  Either way I felt ripped off since I can get a superior cocktail at (admittedly less fancy) Eastern Standard for half the price. The Oak Bar is very nice but certainly not so nice that it should be charging double the price.

                                  -----
                                  Eastern Standard
                                  528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                                  1. re: Kinopio

                                    Again, for the drinks I've had there, they weren't double the price, since they were double the size of ES's drinks, so really the same price on a per ounce basis. I usually just order a basic Sidecar or Martini.

                                2. re: Kinopio

                                  I doubt if it was infused gin. It probably was Hendricks Gin, which I believe is cucumber based, and premium priced. Still, $20.00 is extremely high for a "martoonie". They are good though!
                                  Enjoy,
                                  CocoDan

                                  1. re: CocoDan

                                    It was definitely infused gin. They had a large jar with cucumber slices and gin in it.

                              2. re: MC Slim JB

                                I had a sazerac at Mortons Seaport that was literally Campari on the rocks;When I mentioned to the bartender that I didn't order a Campari, she told me that was how they made Sazerac's there.She then proceeded to ask me how I'd make one. I told her I would start with omitting Campari, rinsing a glass with Herbsaint and grabbing the one bottle of rye whiskey thay had on the shelf.....

                                1. re: phatchris

                                  Heh. Her response?

                                  There's lots I miss about Boston, all the time, but the lack of happy hour isn't one of them. Denver's all about the HH.

                                  1. re: tatamagouche

                                    She shook her head and I ended up giving in and having a Rye on the rocks with a dash of peychauds...close enough :) I'm not asssuming she thought Campari was a Sazerac, she clearly gave me someone elses order.It was her snooty response of "thats how we make Sazeracs here!How would you do it better! That pissed me off a bit.

                                2. re: MC Slim JB

                                  We've moved a digression about bar "buy backs" to the Not About Food board, at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/759293 .

                                3. The Capital Grille on Newbury has a special place in this pantheon for me. The charge $10++ for a drink and regularly serve it in a scalding hot glass.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: Gabatta

                                    I would return that immediately and I almost never send food/drinks back. A hot cocktail glass at a restaurant of the purported caliber of Capital Grille is completely unacceptable. If everyone sent them back, the bartenders likely wouldn't do it anymore.

                                    1. re: Gordough

                                      i have sent back more than one hot glass in my day. also quite a few that reeked of dishwasher solution. and with lipstick (not mine, lol) on it.

                                      1. re: Gordough

                                        Oh trust me I did regularly.

                                        The reason they had a chance to screw me so many times was because I used to live on Comm Ave right around the corner. We would eat at the bar on occasion (really like the food) and the hot glasses got to be a running joke. Only the bar tender who was the distributor of hot glasses would get irritated, he was a real jerk and still works there.

                                        Russell House has also been an offender of this same issue lately (hot glass). Their drinks are not grossly overpriced, but the bar tender is woefully subpar there.

                                        1. re: Gabatta

                                          Capital Grill used to have a "secret" system. This goes back a few years ..10 +when I spent more time in bars so the prices may be off but this was the scam..if you asked for a glass of red, you paid $10. If you asked for the house red, you were charged $7. I don't know if the wine was any different but using the word "house" identified you as a regular or at least someone who "knew" the game.

                                          1. re: 9lives

                                            my experience has been that most guests asking for house wine don't realize you may offer 10 different reds by the glass. it's not a secret system, but woe be the server who gets sticker shock from a guest when the check is delivered.

                                            capital grille has wine for $7 a glass?

                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                              Like I said, I haven't been to the bar at CG for over 10 years and used the $10 vs 7 for illustration purposes. I'm sure prices are higher today due to inflation.

                                              I'm sure that now most of us ask for a list of wines by the glass, but not very long ago, there were people that asked for a Scotch on the rocks or a glass of red...without specifying a brand. Plenty of people still do.

                                              Not anyone here, of course..:)

                                              eta..A woman who asked for a glass of Chardonnay (not unusual) would pay $10,,glass of house white..$7

                                              Guy asking for a glass of Cabernet..$10...house red..$7

                                              2 or 3 deep at the bar; no one asked for a wine list with prices on it or discuss vintages...lucky to get the bartender's attention...order or next customer

                                              Please don't hold me to exact #s but that was the idea.

                                              1. re: 9lives

                                                lol, when biba broke the $10 ceiling on a glass of chardonnay (back in the day) the office girls in anne taylor suits and reeboks went berserk!

                                            2. re: 9lives

                                              Bingo! This drives down pouring costs thus enabling more unauthorized "buy backs".

                                          2. $8 Allagash White 12oz. Bottle at Via Matta. Are you kidding me.

                                            -----
                                            Via Matta
                                            79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

                                            1. I just thought of another one - Umbria Prime. UP is a rip off in pretty much every way, but the cocktails and wine are particularly boldly priced. We caught them swapping a cheap scotch for an expensive one once. That place preys on expense accounts and is a total joke.

                                              I am not a steakhouse hater like some on this board, however you could pretty much go ahead and through every high end steakhouse on this list. This thread could get depressing quickly.

                                              1. It didn't come as a shock, but it's still ridiculous. I was dragged to M Bar in the Mandarin and their drinks were all around 17 to 20. Yikes.

                                                I agree with MC about those establishments that claim to have a cocktail program or what not and they're total poseurs instead. Drives me crazy.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: ecwashere7

                                                  At M Bar all of the house cocktails are $15. I have the "Modern" (Pisco, St. Germain, lime juice, crushed grapes and club soda) often, and its very well made. A frequent DC of mine goes there several times a week (she works in the Prudential Tower, which is connected to the Mandarin) and likes their cocktails. Are they Drink or Eastern Standard or Craigie on Main? No, but I definitely wouldn't call them poseurs or overpriced either. They are a ritzy hotel bar with fairly consistent bartending, quite inconsistent service if you sit at the tables, and a nice bar menu from a kitchen that stays open late.

                                                  -----
                                                  Eastern Standard
                                                  528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                                                  Craigie on Main
                                                  853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                2. yes its 8 bucks . . . but its a 20 oz beer. challenged the bartender once and i lost!

                                                  1. A mediocre cosmo at a Celtic's game for $14. I had gotten the tickets but I was embarrassed when the bill came because my date was paying for the "food" and drinks. Sigh...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: frond

                                                      who drinks cosmos at the garden? seriously? sorry, lol.

                                                    2. I've sipped my share of $14 duds at Woodward. Pretty inexcusable when you look at what goes for $8 or $9 at Deep Ellum and Green Street.

                                                      14 Replies
                                                      1. re: robwat36

                                                        I think The Woodward suffers a common problem at upscale bars around town: an excellent bar manager whose skills and commitment to craft haven't trickled down to his staff uniformly. That makes the $11-$15 cocktail prices there a big gamble, indeed. The elite cocktail programs don't have weak links like that.

                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                          I guess you didn't watch the bartender reality tv show he was on...

                                                          1. re: yarm

                                                            First-round loser, yes? I think I only read about it. I hate reality-TV shows, even when our local kids are on.

                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                              He didn't know how to make the classics -- like Fizzes and Swizzles. Made me wonder if he was only taught modern mixology on the job and never opened up a book, read blogs, took BAR Smarts, or the dozens of other things bartenders do to learn and keep up with the game.

                                                              1. re: yarm

                                                                IIRC neither of the boston folks did all that hot. Trina lasted longer than he did, but was pretty consistently (all the time maybe?) at the bottom before she got the boot.

                                                                1. re: yarm

                                                                  Now I remember watching that show: "On the Rocks", and seeing that particular round. I'd say Fizzes and Swizzles definitely separate the dedicated, scholarly types from the next tier. I remember thinking, "Great early test." You either know that stuff or you don't, and the fakers were all clearly just guessing randomly.

                                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                            2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                              I see the same issue at Russell House. It aspires to craft cocktail greatness, and while a good percentage of the staff makes great drinks, the others struggle to remember to stir a Martini or Manhattan. Enough weak links to make me choose my drink selection carefully every time I go.

                                                              1. re: Canadian Tuxedo

                                                                Agreed: exact same issue at RHT. Great bar manager, a couple of reliable lieutenants, a roll of the dice otherwise.

                                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                  Interesting. I've always had a great experience with the bartenders there. I became quite fond of one of their cocktails, the wigglesworth (to the point I've attempted making it at home) and I've been impressed with how consistently, and with what care, different bartenders have made it. It's possible I've just had a good draw.

                                                                  1. re: tomjb27

                                                                    Agreed. The Scottish Play and Battle of Trafalgar are two of my favorite drinks in town, and I've had them executed with complete consistency over a number of visits.

                                                                  2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                    Bar mangers make their own schedules so as to insure their earnings.

                                                                    Bar managers are often on salary so the tips they garner are "double dips".

                                                                    This is illegal.

                                                                    Salaried employees cannot by MA law share in tip pools.

                                                                    If this is protested youy will be dismissed.

                                                                    Google L'Espalier/Frank McClelland for verification.

                                                                    The typical tactic is to hire someone with full-time availability and then have them work 2 shifts a week.

                                                                    One flaw I see among bartenders, and I am one and have been one for a good part of the last 27 years, is the inability to hold a bottle.

                                                                    Bartending is a very mechanical skill that requires repetition for proficiency.

                                                                    Without sound mechanics all else is for naught.

                                                                    Bar mangers manage schedules to increase their income.

                                                                    Income is supplemented by becoming "brand ambassadors" and earning commissions on the products touted.

                                                                    This is akin to Vice President Cheney going back and forth between Haliburton and
                                                                    government.

                                                                    Bartending is a racket.

                                                                    Always has been, always will be.

                                                              2. re: robwat36

                                                                comparing a luxe hotel bar to a neighborhood hang really is apples and oranges.

                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                  All things being equal, I certainly would expect to pay more at Woodward than Deep Ellum or Green Street, but when the execution of the same classic cocktails is so far below, and the price is so much higher, that's not really an excuse.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Deep Ellum Bar
                                                                  477 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134

                                                              3. Mooooo. Went one night and were charged $16 / 18 for a Maker's Mark and a Booker's on the rocks. No mixing, no stirring or shaking. Just open and pour. It wasn't a very large pour either.

                                                                1. I've always been slightly mystified by the beer prices at Bukowskis Inman. Considering the down-and-out drunkard/poet inspiration, the punk rock waiting staff, and the faux-dive disheveled vibe, it's a fairly expensive place to drink. (While I'm complaining, the pours also tend to be less than generous.) It's kind of ironic, considering its namesake wouldn't have been caught dead(drunk) in a bar where the cheapest draft was $5.75

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Bukowski's
                                                                  1281 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                  17 Replies
                                                                    1. re: rknrll

                                                                      Can't recall whether it was on the draft list the last time i went (I do know it was a staple at the Boston location). If so, my bad, but I still think, overall, they are a tad pricey.

                                                                      1. re: tomjb27

                                                                        Oh yeah...no doubt.
                                                                        Bukowski's, Parish Cafe, and Lower Depths share an owner and expensive beer prices!
                                                                        I lived in Inman for years and only went in there a handful of times...too loud.
                                                                        I assumed since they had Pabst in Boston they would have it in Cambridge- but you could be right.

                                                                        1. re: rknrll

                                                                          When I lived in Boston, i was a semi-regular at the Boston location and one bartender there would pour me a PBR when I came in the door (one of my few "the regular?" experiences). Now I'm down the road from Inman, but I haven't been able to develop the same attachment to the Inman location. Perhaps it's just that I've morphed into enough of a beer snob to eschew PBR, but I find myself more likely to satisfy a craft beer itch at Cambridge Common, which has an excellent draft selection at very fair prices.

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Cambridge Common
                                                                          1667 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                          1. re: rknrll

                                                                            I used to go to the inman bukowski a lot when it was semi-unique in having a great beer list. Now that there are lots of great beer options in the area I only go there if someone else insists that be the location.

                                                                            Dunno if they have PBR but they definitely have black label and some malt liquor

                                                                            1. re: jgg13

                                                                              Yeah, their Hobo Special with the 40 and a hot dog (IIRC) looks amusing / appalling / safely ironic / whatever. I'd get one if I bought into the crap beer thing.

                                                                            2. re: rknrll

                                                                              Lower Depthts has ridiculous beer prices.

                                                                          2. re: rknrll

                                                                            PBR or not, their beers are consistently priced significantly higher than just about anywhere else. Anyone in Inman looking for a beer should go to the Druid instead, or better yet, walk the 7-10 minutes to Atwood's or Lord Hobo.

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Lord Hobo
                                                                            92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

                                                                            1. re: emannths

                                                                              I agree, Lord Hobo is not only cheaper but the beer list is much better than Bukowskis.

                                                                              I was totally bummed when the B-Side closed and I heard its replacement was going to focus on beer where as the B-Side had a great liquor/cocktail list and the area already had Bukowskis, CBC, Atwoods for beer. How wrong I was, as Lord Hobo has quickly become one of my favorite bars.

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Bukowski's
                                                                              1281 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                              Lord Hobo
                                                                              92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

                                                                              1. re: emannths

                                                                                Also, don't forget about the standard 3 finger head which they not only refuse to top up when asked, but also give you attitude that you even suggest such a thing.

                                                                                1. re: LStaff

                                                                                  No doubt. I guess we lose out Bukowskis innocence that third or fourth visit when we realize it is in fact standard practice and not just a run of bad luck with pours and bartenders.

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Bukowski's
                                                                                  1281 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                            2. re: tomjb27

                                                                              Bukowski's is a fantasy.

                                                                              If people really wanted dive bars there would have been protests against the no-smoking law.

                                                                              Bukowski's prices are right down the middle.

                                                                              They charge as much as they can without killing their market.

                                                                              i respect the management.

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Bukowski's
                                                                              1281 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                              1. re: postemotional1

                                                                                Not sure if $1-$2 more than most bars for a terribly poured pint is down the middle.

                                                                                1. re: ponyboy

                                                                                  Yes, it is down the middle for the high income families that hipsters come from.

                                                                                  The real Charles Bukowski was a career postal worker.

                                                                                  he did not live in Inman Square or the Back Bay.

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Bukowski's
                                                                                  1281 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                                  1. re: postemotional1

                                                                                    I think we're comparing it to other bars, not the income of its patrons. I mean, we don't say that Market Basket is more expensive than Shaw's because more people use WIC at MB, do we?

                                                                                    1. re: emannths

                                                                                      Exactly. Bukowskis is beer bar that serves bar food. The faux dive image they project makes the prices more outrageous, not less. As for client demographics, Cambridge Common sits practically on the campus of Harvard Law School, but their prices are reasonable. Trina's Starlite, another hipster magnet down the street, charges $5 across the board for draft beer. In relation to their peers, Bukowski's beer prices seem high, plain and simple.

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Cambridge Common
                                                                                      1667 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                      Bukowski's
                                                                                      1281 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                                      1. re: tomjb27

                                                                                        Cambridge Common is underpriced. They should raise their prices.

                                                                                        i have never been to Trina's.

                                                                                        What are their prices like?

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Cambridge Common
                                                                                        1667 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                            3. $15 for a Moscow Mule at the Oak Room bar, but they are delicious. Don't get there often but I always order one, maybe two and the bartender always gives me extra candied ginger.

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Oak Room
                                                                              138 St. James Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Pegmeister

                                                                                I hope at that price they're serving it in the traditional copper mug! I love the atmosphere in that bar, and it's refreshing not to have to explain what a Negroni is, but those prices are punishing.

                                                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                              2. I don't think it's been mentioned, but City Bar has to be one of the most ridiculously overpriced bars I've ever been to. Period.

                                                                                More to that, they have a weird VIP vibe going on---my living room is bigger than the space they give to the 100 "special" people they cram into that room...

                                                                                down either hall (l/r), the food's not exactly noteworthy either.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: SOBoston

                                                                                  I LOVED City Bar when it first opened, especially right around 5 when it was still quiet. (Agreed, not so much when it was packed.) But that was a long time ago, when Fathman was behind both it and Azure, which I understand he no longer is...So the place that replaced Azure's not great?

                                                                                  1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                    Nope, and Trina Sturm no longer manages the bar, either, having moved on to Trina's Starlite Lounge.

                                                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                    1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                      There are so many other places to go that are both nicer and cheaper. Besides, the only reason I really go into the Lenox is to use their bathroom soap. I'd pay for that.

                                                                                  2. $17 for a champagne cocktail at Drink! RUFKM???

                                                                                    29 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: sillysully

                                                                                      No reason to defend Drink here, other than to say that Champagne cocktails are built on Champagne, which can be pricey by the glass.

                                                                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                        Not that i disagree, but they're quickly moving away from the "$10 a drink, no matter what the drink is" motif. Hell, the first time I went the cocktail snacks actually were a good deal (a surprise, considering who owns the joint) - we paid for a few orders of a few things thinking they were all going to be tidbits and ended up with a king's ransom of food. Now the food is what one would expect from a Lynch place and the drinks keep creeping up.

                                                                                        I'm still a fan of Drink, but considering that there are many other places that can at least almost rival them at a much more affordable price point, I don't go there as often.

                                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                          I'm waiting to see a Champagne cocktail actually made with Champagne. Instead it's a $9-12 bottle of Cava or Blanc de Blancs. I have observed places charging an an extra $2 or so (over the average price of a regular cocktail) for any drink made with sparkling wine regardless of whether it's a half ounce or 5.

                                                                                          William Boothby (bartender and author in the late 1800s) had a practice of asking customers if they'd like their cocktail with a splash of champagne. The customers didn't realize that they were getting fleeced for this silent upcharge until the bill came.

                                                                                          1. re: yarm

                                                                                            I recently ordered a Kir Royale at the Oak Bar without looking at the menu and blanched a bit at the $16 bill. I chalked it up to a "well, it's champagne" but it occurred to me that it wasn't.

                                                                                            1. re: yarm

                                                                                              Does anyone know what sparkler they actually pour at Drink? I don't mind paying $15 for a real-Tiki version of a Zombie punch that has 5+ oz. of quality rums in it.

                                                                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                I believe that Drink's Zombie is closer to 3 oz rum with some of it being overproof, not 5+.

                                                                                                And at one point last year (not sure what they do now), their sparkling wine was NV Casteller Cava & NV Louis de Grenelle Saumur Rosé. Most of their recipes that they post say "cava" so I'm guessing that the Rosé was sold more as a by-the-glass.

                                                                                                http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                1. re: yarm

                                                                                                  Yeah, if you are talking overpriced cocktails, Drink is definitely in the discussion. The quality/value may be a bit better than some of the examples here, however at the end of the day it is still overpriced.

                                                                                                  1. re: yarm

                                                                                                    You will forgive me if my memory is imperfect on this, but I believe Misty Kalfofen's rendition of a Zombie Punch (as distinct from a Zombie) is 3 oz of rum and 1 oz of 151, which works out to just under 5 oz in terms of proof (not 5+). I think she uses the 1934 Donn Beach formulation. Still a bargain in my book, given the care and quality that goes into it.

                                                                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                      If you are consuming close to 5 oz. of alcohol in under an hour you are almost certainly legally; .08, drunk in MA.

                                                                                                        1. re: Fly

                                                                                                          I am not making a moral issue of this.

                                                                                                        2. re: postemotional1

                                                                                                          Yes, I generally take the T and walk to Drink.

                                                                                                          After watching her make it, I said, "Don't serve me another of those, even if I ask for one." Despite the potency, it is a really delicious cocktail.

                                                                                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                            It is illegal in MA to serve someone who has been observed to have been drunk in public within the last 6 months.

                                                                                                            Just saying...

                                                                                                            1. re: postemotional1

                                                                                                              I believe it's also illegal to walk one's pet duck on a Sunday. Enforcement of both these statues is lax, at best.

                                                                                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                Agreed.

                                                                                                                My point is that the consumption of alcohol is...the consumption of alcohol.

                                                                                                                I saw a T-shirt the other day: WINE IT'S THE CLASSY WY TO GET S%(&^FACED

                                                                                                                I'll drink to that!

                                                                                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                  I really wish there were a LIKE button here!

                                                                                                            2. re: postemotional1

                                                                                                              "If you are consuming close to 5 oz. of alcohol in under an hour you are almost certainly legally; .08, drunk in MA."

                                                                                                              Noted, but what does that have to do with pricing?

                                                                                                              1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                                It means you're getting a good deal ;)

                                                                                                                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                                  When costs increase, prices increase.

                                                                                                                  If the booze costs $1.10 as does Grey Goose per oz. your cost is higher.

                                                                                                                  The standard my spotting employer uses is 22.5 %.

                                                                                                                  5 oz. times $1.10 per oz. means $5.50 times 4.4 for a $24.22 price if the targeted P.C. is to be achieved.

                                                                                                                  Of course, you take money to the bank, not percentages.

                                                                                                                  High end bars usually target 25% rather than 22.5%.

                                                                                                                  The drink MC Slim describes made little to no profit for the establishment.

                                                                                                                  Having said that there may be a need to have bodies in the bar that justifies the product.

                                                                                                                  The cocktail he describes may very well be a loss leader.

                                                                                                                  I have never been to Drink.

                                                                                                                  1. re: postemotional1

                                                                                                                    I agree with the target cost of goods of 25% for a typical bar, but I think it's an oversimplification to suggest that Drink makes little to no net profit here. Net is the significant metric for owners, not gross margin.

                                                                                                                    True, a higher-test drink yields lower margin than a weaker drink, but I imagine Drink's net profit on this is still healthy, even figuring in their higher costs for things like servingware, ice, and so on. I'll speculate that the net profit at Drink, taking advantage of Barbara Lynch Gruppo's very tight labor and cost management operations, and factoring in that probably over 90% of its revenues comes from liquor, not food (where cost of goods is more in the 35-40% range), is somewhere in the teens.

                                                                                                                    That's pretty enviable in a business where many fine-dining establishments are lucky to net single-digit profits, and the benchmark for a well-run casual-dining chain outlet serving Cheesecake Factory-grade slop and taking advantage of national-scale operations and sourcing is maybe 15%.

                                                                                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                      Folks, the economics of the hospitality industry is a topic that's best suited for our Not About Food board. Please start a thread there to continue this discussion. Thanks!

                                                                                                        3. re: yarm

                                                                                                          The Ritz uses real champagne at Jerne.

                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                          Jerne Restaurant and Bar
                                                                                                          12 Avery St, Boston, MA 02111

                                                                                                        4. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                          About 1/3rd of the champagne that is opened for champagne by-the-glass is disposed of.

                                                                                                          This waste accounts for the high price.

                                                                                                          Why do posters think that they have a right to products at prices that are not profitable?

                                                                                                          If you want low prices go to Sullivan's on Canal St. by the TD North Garden.

                                                                                                          Gee, you can't get a Sazerac there?

                                                                                                          Wonder why?

                                                                                                          1. re: postemotional1

                                                                                                            Probably because they don't know how to make one. Or if they actually do, they don't want to take the time.

                                                                                                            A Sazerac made with Old Overholt (2 oz pour) will come out to just shy of $1 of ingredients. Cheaper than a Dewar's with soda or many other drinks.

                                                                                                            1. re: yarm

                                                                                                              Very funny!

                                                                                                              I will try to drop by Sullivan's and see if they have Old Overholt.

                                                                                                              If so a Sazerac would be around $5-$5.50.

                                                                                                              Cheers.

                                                                                                              1. re: postemotional1

                                                                                                                Make sure that they have Peychaud's Bitters, absinthe/pastis/herbsaint, and fresh lemons for a twist (assuming that most bars will have sugar or simple syrup which may be a big assumption). The amounts of these needed are minimal and the drink should still be shy of a $1 to make (ingredients-wise).

                                                                                                                This also doesn't mention technique. Soda gun warriors are great for making two part highballs yet are just as much called a "bartender" as someone with craft cocktail training. Paying someone to do it right has a premium in my book.

                                                                                                                1. re: yarm

                                                                                                                  Speaking of "soda gun warriors", as expensive as it is to drink, I've been charged north of $5 for a diet soda & lemon (which they sometimes forget the lemon). Half of the time, it's not even "good" (it's flat or too much soda & not enough/no cola syrup).
                                                                                                                  I forget where I was one night the bottled beer was only 25 cents more than my soda out of a fountain gun ........ which probably only cost the place only 25 cents for the soda "ingredients" (syrup & soda water).

                                                                                                                  1. re: southie_chick

                                                                                                                    This is a 70's tactic to make sure people consume booze.

                                                                                                                    I am surprised that it still happens.

                                                                                                      1. WITHOUT question the priciest drinks Ive experienced in Boston are at Rumba, a rum bar (get it?) in the Intercontinental, badly mixed, starting at $14.00. I had a $20 disaster and vowed never to return. Plus the crowd might be one of Bostons' most unappealing scenes...
                                                                                                        http://www.intercontinentalboston.com...

                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: jessabella617

                                                                                                          What is the crowd like? Might make for ironic viewing...

                                                                                                          BTW, the $8.25 for the Harpoon still offends more than any of the other complaints in this thread. Dollar for dollar still much worse...

                                                                                                          1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                            It's doubly offensive, given that their (no doubt out-of-date) menu says that it should be $7.75. At least it's 20oz. An equivalently priced (based on $8.25/20oz) cheater pint would be $5.75.

                                                                                                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                              The crowd is a mix of trendy euros and scantilly clad singles attempting not to look desperate ...

                                                                                                              1. re: jessabella617

                                                                                                                As a friend once said, "Why didn't someone tell me that tonight was d-bag night ?"

                                                                                                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                  ...as he looked in the mirror...JK ;)

                                                                                                                  1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                                                    She actually....as she looked at me...j/k
                                                                                                                    As she surveyed the offerings at the Vault. ;)

                                                                                                                2. re: jessabella617

                                                                                                                  my few forays there have been spent being bumped against by waaaaay over-served out-of-towners in dockers, here for a conference of some sort. yuk. every time.

                                                                                                                  twice have had other patrons wander off with MY drink off the bar, and the service is downright craptastic..