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Jul 6, 2011 11:58 AM

Tax and drink prices

Most bars seem to sell beer for the price listed on their menu/beer list, without adding tax – that is the tax is almost always factored into the beer list price. For example, you can use a $5 bill to buy a beer priced at $5 on the menu at most places, right?
This doesn’t seem to be so at Brauhaus Schmitz. The other day I was charged $5 for a beer listed at $4.50 on the menu. I objected but was on my way out anyways so paid it. The guy next to me then ordered a beer priced at $5 on the menu and was charged $5.50. Obviously the tax on two differently priced beers can’t be the same
The same thing then happened with another customer a few minutes later.
So what gives?
Is this legal? Did they cheat me? Anyone else have this experience?

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  1. Strange, indeed. I do not recall paying an add on tax for beer, as you stated my thought was it was always "in the price", right. I do recall being shocked at the tax line on a bill I picked up for a group of cocktail drinkers(one beer drinker) at the Ritz Carlton. In this case the beer was taxed as were the cocktails as a line item total for tax: I suppose the price of the drinks being so high led me to believe tax was included. Wrong again. . Even the $5 for a 4.50 beer seems incorrect as the tax, to my understanding, is 10% if not being included in the price. Your other examples raise more questions regarding their math abilities. It would be interesting to hear Brauhaus Schmitz state their policy regarding the collection of this tax.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bacchus101

      I've been noticing more places adding the tax on only at bill time, actually more so on expensive cocktails than on beer. For example, the Franklin serves $12 cocktails and adds on tax on top of that. My take on this is that with recent food price inflation, this is a way for bars to raise their prices without giving the customer sticker shock from the listed price.

      The 10% figure is correct and I suspect Brauhaus just rounded up a nickel on the $4.50 beer, which I don't think is terrible if paying cash.

      BTW, this tax was levied in 1994 to raise revenue for the school district and that's where 100% of it goes. So every time you have a drink out you are pumping money into the school district's budget.