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At what steak house might a party of two be comfortable without drinking alcohol?

A friend, admirably imho, is on the wagon for the month - just to prove he can do it - and we are due to go out for a steak in the absence from town during the same month of a mutual friend with whom we often share a great evening of steak and wine - maybe a cocktail or two as well!

So here's a question - where might the two of us have a good evening without being made to feel that we were either cheap, recovering alcoholics or in some way weird by not imbibing?

We aren't interested in the Keg, thank you!

One would feel out of it at Jacobs imho, ditto a bit strange at the Fifth or Harbour 60 or even Tom Jones. Don't know Bardi's at all. Perhaps Barbarians would be ok?

Any thoughts? thanks!

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  1. This is getting OT, but whose rules state that you must buy alcohol? Any restaurant that has such a requirement or makes you uncomfortable for not ordering it, doesn't deserve your business.

    Pick whatever place you like, enjoy your dinner, and don't order alcohol. Simple as that. People have their reasons not to drink (designated driver, religious reasons, they get sick, under 19, etc) and yet go out for dinner.

    This was discussed in another thread (the high markups on wine) and I stated that as a matter of principle I refuse to buy any alcohol while in Ontario. That means LCBO, beer store, or restaurants:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/803278

    You can easily do the same. If you get any attitude from the staff, go to the manager and complain about it. You're the customer, you're the boss. And of course report it here.

    2 Replies
    1. re: TexSquared

      I fully agree. I also think it is more common than you may think that people do not drink over dinner. It is not a big deal at all. If you are still concerned, consider this approach. When you are seated, and the waiter asks what you'll have to drink, simply reply "we won't be drinking tonight". That I promise you will be end of story. I eat at harbor 60 often. More times than not we do not drink as I am just not a drinker. I have never felt any attitude or pressure - even slightly. ENJOY!

      1. re: TexSquared

        What about the high mark up and taxes on gas, cigarettes, transit, housing and all the other things that pay for health care and the rest of the social safety net in Ontario?

        When making your reservation ask them not to have the waiter offer alcohol.

      2. Yeah I concur with other posters here. A client of mine used to take the whole group to H60 once in a while and depending on the mix sometimes we would not order drinks and never felt out of place.

        1. I have been to Jacob's and Barberian's.......and now when i think back,there have been so many diners that did not have alcohol on their table...Not sure why you are feeling weird about it....Its not like you are going to a Bar or Pub....i mean it would not feel weird even if you did not order steak,so no alcohol is no big deal....

          1. It is not that any of these places are going to sew a burgandy "AA" to your clothes and laugh at you. Who cares if you get a strange look or two, laugh it off and have fun.

            I drink Rye & Coke. I go into every fancy restaurant in the city and the people I am with order nice wines or martinis and I order my rye... When the waiter says: would you like a wine list, I say no give me a Rye & coke.. I have never received bad service because of it even though it is a cheap ghetto drink :-) and it is not like you are going in there and just sharing a salad between three people, if you are eating steak and sides and apps your bill will be big enough anyway.

            Do what YOU want it is the service industry they will serve you and if you by the smallest chance you get an idiot who gives you attitude, call over the manager and ask for another waiter.

            As for Tex.. his argument about alcohol markups is false it is called TAX and if he really felt that way he would also not buy gas because that is even more highly taxed. Wine is not marked up any more then anything else you buy in a restaurant and in some cases even less.That is how business make money buy low, sell high.

            1. Folks, please keep the discussion focused on where Bigtigger will feel comfortable not ordering alcohol. Discussions about taxes and markups is off topic for this board. Thanks.