HOME > Chowhound > India & South Asia >

Chennai - The cost of drinking out in India

klyeoh Apr 25, 2012 10:16 PM

Old India hands would probably know this already, but this post is for those who're first-timers to India. Drinking out can be expensive - especially at hotel outlets. For e.g., see our drink bill at I-Lounge, Asiana Hotel below:

Note that the original amount (as per menu prices0 was INR 1754.20.

Then, we add the taxes, including 58% VAT for Wine/Liquor tax, on top of 14.5% VAT for food, etc.

Final bill? INR 2835.00!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. huiray RE: klyeoh Apr 26, 2012 05:36 AM


    Yes, spending 1/10th of the monthly salary for that young chap starting out (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8449...) would be pretty up there for that chap. By comparison, how much is a fine dinner at the hotel restaurant? How much was that dinner you had at Dakshin or Southern Spice?

    Of course, those same drinks in the US would be quite a bit more in a hotel bar or nightclub (2-3 times as much), a bit more to x 1 1/2 to x2 times at a "bar bar" or pub...

    1 Reply
    1. re: huiray
      klyeoh RE: huiray Apr 26, 2012 06:36 AM

      The dinners at Southern Spice and Dakshin averaged about INR3,000 per head.

    2. k
      klyeoh RE: klyeoh Apr 26, 2012 05:04 PM

      To their credit, bars in India served good drinks, unlike the watered-down stuff I get in many, many places in Singapore or KL.

      4 Replies
      1. re: klyeoh
        huiray RE: klyeoh Apr 26, 2012 06:14 PM

        Heh. Any toddy to be had?

        1. re: huiray
          klyeoh RE: huiray Apr 26, 2012 07:33 PM

          I'd not actually seen any toddy shops in Chennai (maybe I'm in all the wrong areas?) nor toddy listed as a drink choice on the bar menus.

          1. re: klyeoh
            huiray RE: klyeoh Apr 27, 2012 04:32 PM

            Huh - apparently toddy/toddy-tapping is currently banned in Tamil Nadu! (Various articles etc can be readily found via Google) Wikipedia claims the ban there varies according to politics :-) . It's available in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, etc... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_wine :-D

            1. re: huiray
              klyeoh RE: huiray Apr 28, 2012 02:21 AM

              That explains it then! Amazing!

      2. vanderb RE: klyeoh May 3, 2012 05:04 AM

        I was shocked by this when I visited Chennai as well and gave my co-workers back in Bangalore "hell" for not pre-warning me. I almost got into an argument at the first place we had dinner and a bottle of wine when the bill came... until we figured out it was the tax. Bangalore didn't have a similar level of taxation on alcohol.

        When I got back to Bangalore I was told alcohol production and tax was a massive source of revenue for the Tamil Nadu government... which makes sense.

        1. m
          mats77 RE: klyeoh Oct 4, 2013 02:13 PM

          Very random question: what spirits does one find at bars in Chennai? how are the cocktails? any Fernet Branca to be had? thanks

          1. j
            JFores RE: klyeoh Nov 12, 2013 06:16 PM

            This isn't even that bad. Sky Bar in Bangalore has Mayfair London level prices. You pay ca. £25 for a double measure of most decent import whisky there!

            Show Hidden Posts