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WOULD YOU BUY A "PIG IN A POKE?" HOW ABOUT DRINK MENUS WITH NO PRICES?

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There seems to be a growing trend in restaurants to show no prices on beer lists and after diner drink lists. It seems sleazy to me. I guess I could tie up the server while I ask about 6 to 8 brands on a list of fifty, but that's not comfortable for me and probably doesn't make the server happy to stand there and call them to mind(if he or she can.) I' m getting tired of this practice and annoyed at having to self limit my trying new drinks because I don't want a HUGE surprise on my bill.

WHY NOT JUST HAVE THE PRICES ON THE MENUS?

ANY THOUGHTS?

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  1. I can't say I come across this very often and I go out for drinks a fair bit. Where do you live that this is common?

    7 Replies
    1. re: LeoLioness

      BALTIMORE MD
      I didn't say common,but trending.

      1. re: salad man

        It's a terrible practice, I agree. I'm glad it's not one I've ever seen in Boston.

        Edited to add, at least not on a menu. At a craft cocktail bar like Drink, where there aren't menus per se and the whole point is to talk to your bartender so he/she can suggest something based on your likes/dislikes, I can see how this might happen. Still, I've never heard of them using Johnnie Walker Blue in a drink and charging a customer $30 for their drink after the fact.

        1. re: salad man

          Just came back from Harryman House in Reisterstown,Md. Same practice.Suggested to our waitress that I thought this practice was just not nice and please tell the owner. No one came
          by

          1. re: salad man

            Maybe when people get such a menu they should hand it back to the server and say they'll order when they have a menu that includes prices. This is a ridiculous practice.

            1. re: salad man

              I called the owner of Harryman House to register my displeasure. Turned out to be a very
              pleasant conversation ending in " you make good sense,give me 2 or 3 weeks to try and rectify the problem and please give us another try,

              We'll see.

              1. re: salad man

                it's one thing if it's all cocktails, and the waitress can simply say $10 a pop.

              2. re: salad man

                I went back to Harryman House last night. Same menu--STILL NO PRICES. So much for
                "pleasant conversation"

          2. I've never seen such a thing, but any place that is any way annoying doesn't get on my short list of regular hangouts.

            1. It's also a common, and extremely annoying, practice around here- Fairfiled County, CT

              1 Reply
              1. re: JenJeninCT

                Not a big drinker when I go out, but I'll sure pay attention to what's happening here in Hartford County, CT. I'll report back what I find.

              2. I would definitely "tie up the server" while I ask about the prices on anything I was interested in. If people do that often enough they'll probably get to the point of at least having a sheet with names and prices on it. Stand your ground!

                1. I first ran into this travesty in the national 'family priced' chains (TGIF, Applebees, etc.) back in the late 80s.

                  No drink prices on the menus (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic).

                  When questioned about it, management told me that the menus were printed and priced regionally and/or nationally by the chain, BUT since the tax on alcohol varies greatly by state, drink pricing had to be done locally and thus was not on the printed menus.

                  33 Replies
                  1. re: bagelman01

                    And that's what a printer and a copy machine are for.

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      OK, that is what laser-printed Avery labels are for - local prices.

                      Hunt

                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        Bill,
                        unfortunately the local manager may not have the aiuthority to alter the chain menu, by stickering prices

                        1. re: bagelman01

                          Maybe that is why I very seldom dine at chains?

                          Would I ever order a bottle of wine, when no prices were printed? No.

                          Hunt

                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            Unfortunately, sometimes when on business in the hinterlands chains are all that are available. Most of these chains don't really do bottle wine business, so your concern would not be an issue.

                            I, however, always ask the price when one is not posted on the menu. I abhor missing prices or worse "MP"

                            More than 40 years ago, I waited tables while in college. At one 'fine' restaurant I worked at in Philadelphia they had three "MP" items listed on each night's menu. The owner explained that this was a bonus selling incentive for the waitstaff. We were told the minimum price we could charge patrons, but any amount we got above the minimum was our bonus.

                            So, If we thought the well dressed couple celebrating an anniversary would pay $24.95 for the lobster instead of $18.95 that six dollars was the waiter's bonus. We learned never to say market prices loud enough for another table to hear.

                            1. re: bagelman01

                              You do realize of course that this was theft by fraud - a criminal act.

                              No chortles here.

                              1. re: FrankJBN

                                No chortles and NOT theft by fraud either. As long as the server was given the authority to name the market price by the owner there was no theft involved. The patron was quoted a price before placing an order and then decided whether or not to order at that price.

                                Theft by fraud is an act requiring the INTENT to defraud, most often occurring in embezzlement. Here the servers did not convert the owner's property to their own, they were given specific permission to take all proceeds they could make above a stated minimum sales price. They did not commit fraud on the patrons by means of charging more than a menu published price, the servers set the market price at the servers' estimate of what the market would bear.

                                Disclaimer>>>>I went to Law School, Have a J.D. and passed the state bar exam.
                                Unless your jurisdiction has specific laws forbidding an establishment from charging different patrons different prices (when not based on protection such as discrimination) there would be no criminal act.
                                Otherwise, every customer would pay the same price for cars at the dealer. The dealer lets the sales force know the minimum price acceptable for a vehicle and the salesperson makes a higher commission on sales above the minimum. When cars are in short supply, it is not unususal for the market price to be above sticker and that's not a criminal act or theft by fraud.

                                Basically, if you don't like the price quoted, don't buy.

                                1. re: bagelman01

                                  And what price did you charge if a customer ordered without asking the amount?

                                  1. re: lrhr

                                    I never accepted an order for an item listed on the menu at Market Price without quoting a price to the patron. Why develop hard feelings or sew the seeds for an argument or end up with an unhappy non-returning customer?

                                    I always quoted a price and if the patron agreed and placed the order, I made money.

                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                      And did the patron know there was room for negotiation? Was their open bidding, on say a nice porterhouse steak?

                                      1. re: escondido123

                                        The only negotiations I recall on Market Price items was if a patron asked for a smaller portion (16 ounce porterhouse vs 22 ounce for example) at a reduced price. Since all steaks were cut to order this would have never have been a problem.

                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                          So people had no idea they could negotiate the price of their lobster? And the waiters got to determine who could afford what price? Really?

                                          1. re: escondido123

                                            In a free market society, the buyer can always negotiate the price of an item, the buyer just has to know that the answer is often NO.

                                            If you buy a house, you negotiate the price, if you buy a car you negotiate the price, there's no law about negotiating the price in a store or restaurant, it's just not conventional.
                                            During the last economic collapse (2008) it was not so rare to find customers at high end department stores (Neiman, Saks, etc.) negotiating the price on high end luxury goods. On a particulary cold, snowy Tuesday in March 2009 my wife offerd only 40% of the ticketed price for a current season Top designer bag and the department manager gladly accepted it.
                                            Whether a restranteur would accept or laugh at the negotiating diner is another story...<VBG>

                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                              I was asking about the restaurant you worked in not the world at large but thanks for the story.

                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                I've only done this once in TJMaxx, on an already flawed item. The answer was quick, yes, you can have it for that amount! Making me think I should've offered less? No, the price was right for me.

                                                When a waiter gives me a market price for crab, somehow I wonder if they could be trained to offer based on any perceived resistance to the price thereof, and almost automatically offer me 1 crabcake instead of 2, for a lower price, and quote the amount of ozs in comparison.

                                                Then again, maybe they see that I'm old and fragile and wouldn't care for the extra cake.

                                                And then again, I wonder if it is just in the training to quote both prices when one asks about crab cakes. But I like the scenario as presented.

                                    2. re: bagelman01

                                      Color me stupid, but as long as I can remember, there has always been sales tax on prepared food in every state I have visited in the last four decades. If you are charging and collecting sales tax at the higher price, but the owner is only sending in sales tax at the recorded lower price, then that seems like fraud to me.....and I doubt the owner would send in the higher amount out of the goodness of his heart or even being a good citizen. If he didn't give a crap about his patrons, then I'm sure he didn't give a crap about his tax responsibility.

                                      1. re: fourunder

                                        Delaware has no sales tax. And we get lots of visitors from Pa, NJ, & Maryland, esp for big ticket items, and restaurants.

                                      2. re: bagelman01

                                        JD or not, when a product is offered for sale by a retail establishment at a certain price and the salesperson adds on his own extra take, that's a lie and theft. You are lying by omission of the actual selling price.

                                        Your manager told you the price of the product. You had specialized knowledge that you used to take advantage of the customer.

                                        Among your arguments seems to be that because the customer paid the inflated price, IOW actually was defrauded there can be no frfaud. In your studies, I am sure you noticed that fraud occurs when the 'customer is willing to pay' and not otherwise.

                                        Others have noted negotiations - at the auto dealership, the customers know prices are negotiated. As asked elsewhere, did the customers at the restaurant know that?

                                        You go into a gas station and ask for a quart of oil. Attendant says $5, You pay, he puts 3 in the till and 2 in his pocket. he didn't rip you off?

                                        A soda is on the menu at $1. You tell the customer, today we are getting $2. They buy and you pocket the difference - simply good salesmanship?

                                        1. re: FrankJBN

                                          It wasn't MP.....it was bagelman01's price....

                                          : 0 )

                                    3. re: bagelman01

                                      Interesting, and something that I had not heard before.

                                      For me, while I travel a great deal, we are in major metro areas, in the US, or abroad, so chains are seldom a consideration, or mandatory. For that little blessing, I am thankful.

                                      Good reasons to qualify "MP," when ordering anything.

                                      Thank you for sharing.

                                      Hunt

                              2. re: bagelman01

                                Recently, no wine prices - I asked "Where's the prices of these wines"?
                                He said, Tell me which one you are interested in and I'lll go back and find out."
                                I said, "I'm interested in all of them and their prices."
                                He stood his ground and asked which one I was interested in.
                                I said, that if I picked one, and it is too expensive, I'd have to pick another one, but we'd have to remember the first one's price, and so on.

                                "Just a minute," he said.
                                He returned with a wine list and their prices.
                                Geez!

                                1. re: Rella

                                  That's completely absurd. Was it a new restaurant by first-time restaurant owners, I wonder?

                                  1. re: LeoLioness

                                    No, not at all. A restaurant that had had previously a wine menu with prices.

                                    1. re: Rella

                                      Bizarre. How on earth could they think that's a good business practice?

                                2. re: bagelman01

                                  off topic but about drinks and chains and ties into my short comment - the manager was likely lying to you.

                                  I was in an Applebees in the hinterlands after midnight this century. I was in a mid-sized party approx. 6-8. Most, not all got drinks (apres theater crowd). I ordered a shot and a beer. The waiter explained they did not serve shot and beer together - it was policy. I asked for the manager. he came and stated it was illegal for them to sell a shot and a beer together. As I had been ordering a shot and a beer in the local environs for some 3 decades I doubted this. I ordered a beer. When the waiter brought that, i ordered a shot. manager came back and said they couldn't if I was going to drink them together.

                                  Keep in mind, per my inquiry to manager, they would have brought doubles or multiple shots or multiple beers, just not one of each together.

                                  I subsequently inquired of Applebees corporate who advised they had no such policy.

                                  1. re: FrankJBN

                                    Managers in many businesses often tell customers that something is against the law to back up policy. This is often not true or an out and out lie. Challenge the manager to produce the statute.

                                    I stated above my legal qualifications, yesterday I took my 15 year old shopping for bathing suits. as she went into the dressing room she pointed outr a sign that said swimwead is not returnable due to local heath code. I dared the store manager to produce the statute/regulation. Of course he could not, it doesn't exist. I practice in this area and am on the regional board of health. I pulled the sign opff the wall and suggested that the manager have corporate print a sign that complies with the law. All they have to do is state, 'we don't take swimwear back because you don't want to buy one someone else has worn, and customers would be accepting. Don't try to hide by making up false laws, it's too easy to get caught.

                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                      True Grit!

                                    2. re: FrankJBN

                                      Before blaming the owner/manager, there *are* many restrictive liquor laws that vary not just by state but possibly by county and town. So it's possible that the individual restaurant was trying to impose their own policy by stating it as law, but it's also possible that they were being honest.

                                      Were you in Nebraska, by any chance? http://abcnews.go.com/Business/nebras...

                                      1. re: guilty

                                        So, guilty, how would you explain some restaurants on the same streets having prices and some not?

                                        1. re: randyjl

                                          I wasn't saying that not having prices could be due to law; that's obviously the restaurant's decision. I was saying that it's possible that there is a law that prohibits mixing liquor and beer, in reference to the experience that Frank had.

                                          I guess my post above was pretty unclear; sorry about that.

                                          1. re: guilty

                                            I have never seen a statute that prohibits the mixing of liquor and beer, but have seen local ordinances and alcohol authority rules that prohibit serving multiple drinks to one customer at the same time.
                                            This is to ensure that the patron is sober enough for the additional drink after consuming the first drink.
                                            This reduces dram shop liability and spaces out the time it takes for the patron to consume multiple drinks. More control all around, in fact some localities do not allow the serving of a double shot drink.

                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                              Maybe if you read the article I linked to you would be familiar with statutes that prohibit the mixing of liquor and beer :)

                                              1. re: guilty

                                                I didn't write that those statutes do not exist, merely that I had never seen them. I don't accept mentions of statutes in a general news article without citation, but would have looked in the Statute book of the jurisdiction if I was truly interested (that's what we lawyers do). And having read the article you linked to, it talks about the Nebraska law, but never cites it or gives the date/number. etc. which would allow a quick check in Westlaw or Lexis.

                                                I merely put forth another reason why two drinks might not be served at one time to a patron.

                                  2. If it's a beer or a drink and I don't know the price, that wouldn't bother me. A lot of restaurants don't even have drink menus so you really don't know when you order a cocktail what they are going to charge you but you could probably guess +/- $5. If you are talking about a glass of scotch or sipping tequila or whiskey which could be much more expensive and have much more variation in pricing, then I agree that I'd like to know what they are going to charge me. I don't think I've ever seen such a list though without pricing.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: bg90027

                                      +/- 5??! Other than a glass of hard cider or a beer, the cheapest drink I've ordered in the last year was 7, and most are in the 10-14 dollar range.

                                      1. re: tinnywatty

                                        Well, in a nice restaurant I'd generally expect a cocktail that features fresh ingredients and requires some work to be about $15, maybe a little more but I'd be surprised if it was more than $20. If it's a very basic cocktail without any special ingredients, it'll usually be less but probably still at least $10. So that's where +/- $5 came from. It's really not a big range and I'm generally not going to have more than 2 cocktails with dinner especially if I'm having wine with the meal so it's not going to break my bank if they charge me more than I was expecting.

                                        As I said, whiskeys or scotch poured by the glass is a different animal. Those can range from $10 to over $100. I'll occassionally buy one and I don't mind paying a lot for a good one but it would be much easier to be surprised in a meaningful way.

                                        1. re: bg90027

                                          Ohh, I see. I read it as $5 +/- I guess, since you didn't give a base price. Got it.

                                    2. It's more the wine list that gets me, but I don't drink beer and rarely drink mixed drinks.

                                      1. I notice this alot more with specials. A server runs thru the specials of night aloud with no mention of price and then we spend the next few mins re-running the list asking for prices. I dislike the practice, I dislike having to ask and I dislike having to start my meal off that way.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          If it's more than 2 items, I forget what they said at the end of the hear-ye! I don't mind asking the price, but rarely does one get the opportunity to break in the fast spiel.

                                          1. re: Rella

                                            You know Rella, I've been interrupting servers lately the minute I realize no price is offered. Because I really don't enjoy the wasted nonsense of having to rerun the specials, wines, dessert cart pricing more than once. I'm sure it's a bother when I do it, but I figure I'm there to enjoy myself and I'm paying for the meal...so why the heck not!

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              Since I more often than not order market-priced fish, I KNOW it's going to be expensive. I am a bit curious their prices, but it's not going to make or break the order.
                                              It's an irritation.
                                              Perhaps there's a solution :-)) The minute they start speaking one can say, after your specials, I would appreciate it if you would quote the price - hey, perhaps they don't know.
                                              But, but .... then they would have to go back to the 'place where they go' to find out the price after each item.
                                              Oh, my - I'm talking myself into a corner.

                                              1. re: Rella

                                                Oh I think servers know the price alright, sometimes pricing can get confused but upselling and market prices should be gone over before the place even opens. What I guess my issue is (when there is one) is placing the guessing came on the customer. I'm there to have a good time.

                                        2. I would not be happy.

                                          Let's take a fairly common "after dinner drink," Taylor-Fladgate 20 Year Tawny Port. I usually buy that for about US $ 40,and it is a favorite of mine, even more than the 30 & 40 Year Tawnies from Taylor-Fladgate. However, I have had ti in a B-T-G selection from US $ 10 to 40. If there was no price listed, I would certainly hesitate, and would ask. OK, I am not too proud (or certainly too rich), to not ask. I find that having a 2 oz. pour, at the same price as the bottle at retail, is a bit much. I could name dozens of other wines, that fit here.

                                          No, please let me know, and I promise to not bother the server.

                                          Hunt

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                            Hmm, I prefer the 10 year Taylor-Fladgate over the 20 year. Lucky me!

                                            2 oz.? That's half of my 'granny" portion at home.

                                            1. re: Rella

                                              The 10 Year is a nice Tawny, but does not meet my preferences, like the 20 Year does. Now, I prefer the 20, to the 30, or 40, that is personal.

                                              I find the10 Year to have some "harsh edges" to it, that are gone, by 20 Year (average of the Ports in the bottle), and more "finished," and "refined." Again, personal tastes.

                                              As for the pours, that changes restaurant by restaurant, and does not reflect my pour at home.

                                              Hunt

                                          2. Once, some years ago, we encountered a variation of this, with "after dinner drinks" in Hawai`i. The menu for those was presented, but there were no prices. The list was extensive, and I recognized many of the offerings. I asked the sommelier about that, and his comment was, "Well, most of our clients are Asian, and they never ask any prices." I did the math, based on my knowledge of the wines, and then asked if the offerings were B-T-G, or for the bottle. Again, his response was "Well, most of our clients are Asian, and they don' care. Those are for full bottles (or half-bottles, or .375's in many cases), and they never ask. They just buy. We have nothing B-T-G." Well, though we had just dropped US $ 600 for dinner for two, we passed completely. Not having any prices is an odd decision to make, but if you have many standing in line, ready to throw money, then I guess that I can understand. Still, not something that I like.

                                            Hunt

                                            1. This irritates me as well. If they have a menu, then prices should be printed. If no menu, then I can usually estimate the prices based on the type of place. Obviously, I can make the same estimation in a place with a printed menu, but when they've already gone to the trouble of printing out the menu I'm irritated when it is missing prices.

                                              1. This bugs me to no end!! Wtf?
                                                I just dont bother ordering drinks unlessss i see the price
                                                Shame too because my friends and i can put away some drinks!

                                                1. My sister was hosting a couples anniversary and the fellow ordered an after dinner cognac. The waiter returned with the drink and it showed up on the bill for $50. When asked for an explanation the reply was that were out of the ordered cognac and gave an XO. No apology, no offer of an adjustment. The extra $25 was deducted from the tip with no further discussion.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: phantomdoc

                                                    Because it was the waiter's fault.

                                                    1. re: FrankJBN

                                                      Sounds like the waiter's fault to me.

                                                      1. re: Sooeygun

                                                        Definitely. The waiter could easily have come back, said that they were out of what was ordered, and asked the person what they wanted. Instead, they substituted another item at a significantly higher price, with no mention except as a printed item on the bill.

                                                        If it were an honest mistake, I'd expect them to apologize and remove the extra costs.

                                                        I think I'd have removed the entire tip after a scam like that.

                                                  2. I go often to restaurants that have no drink prices on the menu here in DFW. I love the idea of asking for a drink menu with prices or not order drinks. Maybe order water and head for a fun bar later!

                                                    1. I don't think a drink menu without prices is that big a deal. If I'm having a cocktail out, I'm already planning to spend too much money for a drink. I mean, when I go to the bar and order a drink, I don't know how much they'll charge me. And I believe that if you're not buying megabrands, prices on beer especially can vary from month to month, so I can see why a restaurant would want to keep their pricing flexible.

                                                      In some cases I may find it obnoxiously pretentious for a restaurant to have a price-free menu, but it doesn't make me angry. If you're worried about spending too much, generally I've found that prices go from cheaper at the top to more expensive at the bottom. Maybe you guys just need another drink ;)

                                                      16 Replies
                                                      1. re: guilty

                                                        Well, if you're having food out are you also "planning to spend too much money" for food? In that case, I guess there's no real need for us to have prices on any menus, they can just say prices between $7 and $77 and then we'll all know that the cheaper things will be less and the expensive things more. And then the final bill can all just be a wonderful surprise!

                                                        1. re: escondido123

                                                          I believe that it wasn't *too* long ago that many restaurants had special menus for women without prices, because obviously the man was going to pay.

                                                          Don't get me wrong, I rarely go out to eat, and when I do it's usually somewhere cheap with prices on the menu. Though I always expect to pay more at the restaurant than I would to prepare the same meal at home, so yeah, when I go out to eat I am planning to spend too much money for food.

                                                          1. re: guilty

                                                            I have often dined at many establishments, where the ladies' menus had no prices, but the gentlemen's menus did. I can see some wisdom in that, but then, times, they are a changing.

                                                            Still, one group does have prices, and it seems that in the OP's case, neither group had them.

                                                            Maybe I missed something?

                                                            Hunt

                                                            1. re: guilty

                                                              I also rarely go out to eat, but if they hand me a menu for food/drink with no prices I will assume they're giving it away. As to no price dinner menus, I haven't seen one of those in decades. I cannot afford to order without knowing what I am going to be expected to pay.

                                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                                I have only seen it twice, those times we were taken out for dinner and provided a menu with no prices and told by the couple that we were given these menus so as not to influence our decsion as to what to order.
                                                                Both times these were elegant restaurants in San Francisco and Marin County, California.

                                                                1. re: Rella

                                                                  But that's a little different from no one knowing the prices and that's what the OP was dealing with, no?

                                                                  1. re: escondido123

                                                                    Yes, of course; just replying to dinner menus with no prices, as above.

                                                                    Yes, I realize that threads go off course. Excuse, please.

                                                                2. re: escondido123

                                                                  It is is customry at some private clubs where the member recives a menu with prices and the guest don't. Then again, the check is signed and billed to the member's account. There is no provion for handling money in the dining room, guests (non members) are not allowed to pay, and the gratuity is added automatically when billed by the club at the end of the month.

                                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                                    Ah, yes, I've seen that, too. A country-club is what they used to and maybe still do, call them is where I've been a guest.

                                                                    1. re: Rella

                                                                      It is the system both at the country club I belong to and an in-town club near the courthouses I frequent.

                                                                    2. re: bagelman01

                                                                      Our CC does not have separate menus, but then the guest cannot pay, as there are no provisions for credit cards, or cash - only the member's account. Maybe we are not "uptown" yet?

                                                                      Hunt

                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                        Bill,

                                                                        If I remember correctly you live in the southwest. Maybe this is an old school WASPY thing here in the northeast.

                                                                        I belong to a country Club in southern Connecticut, an in city club in New Haven and belonged to the Union League Clubs in both Philadelphia and New York over the years (when I worked in those cities) and all of these places had guest menus without prices.

                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                          The last country club I was at a guest at - perhaps 8 years ago? in middle part of Virginia, there were no prices on the menu - so DH tells me. He's a Yankee from CT, so ought to know :-))

                                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                                            It could well be by location, so what I encounter in the SW (you are correct), might not be the norm in the NE.

                                                                            I have dined at several restaurants, where some menus (mostly for the ladies), had no prices, but others did.

                                                                            As I am a bit "old-school," that is not a problem, unless I might be hosting a large group, but there are likely other options there.

                                                                            I have the luxury of dining at many country clubs, across the US, and have never encountered a menu, presented to me, that did not have prices. Now, very often, I am a guest of a member-host, but I still get to see prices. Cannot recall one, where I did not, but maybe my memory is failing me? I am talking about CC's, where the ultra-rich are members, or where the membership is very limited, and I am but a guest. Maybe it IS "regional?"

                                                                            Hunt

                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                              But that might be because you are not one of the "ladies." Bill you crack me up.

                                                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                                                No. I have NEVER been accused of being "one of the ladies."

                                                                                Hunt

                                                              2. I would say that most of my regular watering holes do not generally have drink prices listed. Most of these places have a fairly large rotating selection of craft/micro brewed beers and whiskeys. If I ask the server or, more likely, the bartender, for the price of one of these beverages she often will not know off the top of her head and will have to punch it in the register to tell me a price. This is a clumsy practice, and I generally don't ask because 1) I don't really care, and 2) the last thing I ever want to do is make my bartender/server work harder than they have to; they're getting me drinks, and subsequent drinks flow faster and can sometimes be comped/discounted if I establish a laid-back rapport with my bartender/server.

                                                                The one workaround I see around here often is that the standard drinks will have a listed price, but the rotating stock will not.

                                                                The best workaround I see here is a chalkboard with the price listed next to each beverage.

                                                                In short, menus that don't contain drink prices don't bother me in the least.

                                                                20 Replies
                                                                1. re: MonMauler

                                                                  I agree that it would be a "clumsy practice," as I have seen a Taylor-Fladgate Tawny 20 Year Port priced between US $ 15 to US $ 50, per glass. The bottle costs me about US $ 25, and I can get maybe 20 pours, into Port copitas, from that bottle.

                                                                  Maybe I am just "old school," but would like to know what it is about to cost me.

                                                                  Hunt

                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                    The idea that people will order without knowing the cost might help to explain the credit card bills some younger people rack up.

                                                                    1. re: escondido123

                                                                      Ah, good point. It's like the old joke (feminists turn your head away), where the husband points out that the checking account is overdrawn, and the wife exclaims, "that cannot be, as I still have checks in the checkbook!"

                                                                      No. Though I can afford much, I am still concerned about the prices. The old adage, "if you must ask the price, you cannot afford it," has never played with me.

                                                                      There have been some interesting observations in this thread, and some that I would never have considered, but I feel that it is bad business, and becomes borderline larceny (some legal beagles have noted that it is not fraud, as there are no prices.

                                                                      No, I am not a fan of a "pig in a poke," per the thread's title.

                                                                      Hunt

                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                        There is something annoying to me even asking the price of anything that is not marked. Flags go up in my suspicious mind :-) when most always it is an oversight. But on a menu, it IS suspicious to me.

                                                                        If people were not concerned about prices, as the majority are, why then for decades have grocery stores (at the request of many shoppers) printed tags on grocery shelves stating even how much an item is PER OZ! Or is this just for the common man LOL.

                                                                        That old adage of which you speak is silly. Where did it come from - Bernays? On topic for those who care: Rhymes with Mayonnaise :-))

                                                                        1. re: Rella

                                                                          "If people were not concerned about prices, as the majority are, why then for decades have grocery stores (at the request of many shoppers) printed tags on grocery shelves stating even how much an item is PER OZ! Or is this just for the common man LOL"

                                                                          How about because the law requires it????
                                                                          When groceries wanted to save much in labor costs by establishing shelf pricing and UPC scanning, states stepped in and set rules about posting the retail price and unit price.

                                                                          Connecticut made stores agree to charge the posted price by putting an expensive consumer protection into the law. In Connecticut, if a consumer commodity (one that is consumed, that is eaten or used up, such as food) scans at a higher price than the shelf posted price (and the customer calls it to attention of the store), the store MUST refund the amount paid and give one of that item free to the consumer up to a $20 maximum value. Additional items are to be refunded to the amount of the posted price.

                                                                          Yesterday I was in Stop and Shop, and picked up a bag of dog food. The shelf price was $18.99, it rang up at $19.99. I took my receipt to the customer service desk, they verified the shelf price and I got my $18.99 plus tax back, the dogs eat free this week!

                                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                                            "How about because the law requires it????"

                                                                            Yes, yes, yes. I believe it was the consumer who insisted on it and the law came about. Was this not in the days of Beth Meyerson or later, can't remember.

                                                                            I, too, take advantage of this law as you stated in your last paragraph, and they almost never hesitate. Many seem to know about it and give back the money immediately without any hassle.

                                                                            (An aside, I always dislike bringing a totally unmarked item on the item or the shelf, to the check-out and asking how much it is.) Hey, I want some money for bringing it to their attention!
                                                                            Well, no - but that gets a little bit annoying - but only sometimes :-))

                                                                            1. re: Rella

                                                                              Bess Meyerson was a commissioner of the city of NY. She did not enact any state laws in NY and certainly not in CT. When retailers asked to do away with the requirement to price every individual item, the committess of the state legislature in CT came up with the law:

                                                                              Connecticut General Statutes
                                                                              Sec. 21a-79. Universal product coding. Electronic shelf labeling. Electronic pricing. Marking of retail price. Exemptions. Electronic price higher than posted price for consumer commodity. Regulations. Penalties.
                                                                              B (7) If a consumer commodity is offered for sale and its electronic price is higher than the posted price, then one item of such consumer commodity, up to a value of twenty dollars, shall be given to the consumer at no cost. A conspicuous sign shall adequately disclose to the consumer that in the event the electronic price is higher than the posted retail price, one item of such consumer commodity shall be given to the customer at no cost.

                                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                "n the days of Bess Meyerson..." meaning she was a consumer advocate, as well as other things ...

                                                                                Trying to understand:

                                                                                Are you saying that this law was not brought about by consumer's wishes and actions, but the retailers?

                                                                                I'm thinking first: consumers, then retailers, but... I'm not sure that anyone is interested in this discussion :-))

                                                                                1. re: Rella

                                                                                  In CT, the retail community approached the state legislature for relief from individual pricing requirements when UPCS and scanning cash registers became very common in the late 80s-early 90s. The industry was looking to save on labor costs and the previous law required that every item be price tagged. The lobbyists from the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, the Chamber of Commerce, Major department and discount store chains worked out this compromise with the legislators that brought about the law and it's penalties.

                                                                                  The cost savings to business are enormous. Not price labelling every can of tuna fish, and just having to change the shelf sticker and the computer when there is a price change, no removing old price tags and placing new ones.

                                                                                  The consumer lobby pushed for unit pricing, which is a different issue, something retailers would rather not have, they like when a consumer buys the size that costs most per ounce.

                                                                                  BTW>> I grew up in the retail business in CT (had 15 stores in the family, now an attorney, and taught consumer protection law, which is why I had the statute at hand in my lecture notes.

                                                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                    Dear Bagelguy. Er, I mean bagelman01. Yes, you do know your business thoroughly! Thanks.

                                                                                    Just read a 'recent?' post of yours re: New Haven Pizza - Old Lyme, etc.

                                                                                    Sally's is my absolute favorite I've had anywhere. Wish I were there eating at the moment. I've done my best to duplicate it many times.

                                                                                    1. re: Rella

                                                                                      90% of the time I'd rather no appiza than have other than Sally's. I've known the Consiglio family for almost 60 years. I remember when the prices went up to $1, $2, $3 for small, medium and large. I have helped serve tables and bus tables on busy evening over the years.
                                                                                      I too wish I could make it at home, but although I have an outdoor pizza oven there is no way I can achive the intensity and flavor of their ancient coal fired oven and the love and history in each of theor pies.

                                                                          2. re: Rella

                                                                            I am concerned with prices, though they are often NOT the reason for my orders.

                                                                            When it comes to wines, I need to know the prices, as I am often tasked with doing the entire meal, and if my wife is hosting, I need to work within a loose budget.

                                                                            Even for just us, where I might not pay much attention to the prices, I like to know. Just last month, I ordered a flight of 1800's Madeiras, and did not really care about the prices (for several reasons), but it was nice knowing.

                                                                            Since I am not one of the Solendra investors, I do not have unlimited $'s to spend, and need to have some idea of what things cost. That old adage, "if you have to ask the price, you cannot afford this... " does not work. Being a real person, I want to know, and usually demand that I do.

                                                                            Hunt

                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                              Did you have to make a dig like that? It's not as if you're hurting.

                                                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                                                Sorry, but no "dig" was intended. I apologize if one seemed to be issued. Never my intention.

                                                                                Hunt

                                                                      2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                        Still not sure where you reside, but here in the US, the 10 year Taylor-Fladgate Tawny costs $25 at BJ's, more elsewhere.

                                                                        1. re: Rella

                                                                          I walked out of a Buffalo Wild Wings just yesterday because of this no price nonsense.
                                                                          I also detest the practice of using an upscale higher priced liquor that was not specified by me. I believe it ridiculous to use expensive vodka in a Bloody Mary for instance. Why should I have to specify well vodka is fine?

                                                                          1. re: justicenow

                                                                            I'm not going there. Thanks for the heads up.

                                                                            1. re: justicenow

                                                                              Not familiar with the chain, but with no prices, I would definitely hesitate.

                                                                              I am much, much more a wine-person, but cannot imagine any wine list, without prices.That would just never work.

                                                                              I have seen the same wine, same vintage, at prices from US $55 to $400, at similar establishments. I try to never be drunk enough to just order, with no idea of what the prices are.

                                                                              Hunt

                                                                            2. re: Rella

                                                                              I am in the PHX Area, but travel around the world, and very often throughout the US. I have had it from US $10 to $25, for the same pour. In London, as an example, with the exchange rate, it has run US $15 to 35.

                                                                              I think that I paid US$37 for my last bottle, and get more than a dozen pours from that.

                                                                              Hunt

                                                                          2. re: MonMauler

                                                                            Your bartender is making a killing out of "comping" drinks to guests who don't make him/her work. At the establishment where i work you would be fired for shenanigans of that type. LOL!

                                                                          3. I get point about wanting prices on the cocktail list, but I have to ask one thing. The first time you walk up to a bar and order a drink, do you ask what the price is? I’ve spent more than my fair share of time at bars, both stand alone and bars that were part of a restaurant. Standard operating procedure is to walk up to the bar and ask the bartender for a drink. I’ve never asked what the drink was going to cost me before I ordered it. Bartender gets the round of drinks, then asks if I want to pay or open a tab. If I’m not starting a tab, I get a number and I pay it and leave something for a tip. Some places might have a board with prices, but I think that’s a tiny portion of the bars I’ve been to. Never been bothered by the lack of price info before ordering a drink. As an experienced drinker (some may sat too experienced) I guess I know what the price will be based on the place I’m at. For example, I was with a bunch of buddies last week at a very basic bar close to the east village. Had 3 rounds of beers. Got the tab and they were $6 each. Pretty much what I would have expected for that kind of place. Then there was the time that the wife and I met another couple at one of those trendy fashionable spots and 4 cocktails cost me about $100 after tax and tip. Ouch, but not surprising for that kind of place. I don’t think my experience is unique. Ordering bottles of wine is a whole different matter though. Need a wine list with prices and vintages. Hate a wine list without vintages. Tells me that its all plonk. Just my two cents.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Bkeats

                                                                              This is a good point. If I'm just going up to the bar and ordering a standard drink, then no, I never ask how much it is beforehand.

                                                                              However, since I do like craft/vintage cocktails and wine, I usually ask for a drink menu (when appropriate--obviously it's not in a lot of places). I'd be annoyed if the menu listed drinks but not prices. At that point, it's no different than listing food items without prices. Just because I can ballpark what a burger or the scallop dish might go for in any given venue doesn't mean I want to, as a diner.

                                                                              1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                No, I look at the prices.

                                                                                Now, I am a wino, so m looking at the wines list, and not the cocktail list, but it is very similar.

                                                                                Hunt

                                                                              2. Ok, not having prices on a food menu, I can understand being concerned. Likewise a wine list without prices.

                                                                                But I cant help but think that if you need to order a drink from a menu, you possibly should not be drinking.

                                                                                Granted, I am not a country club member so I never drink at one. I dont go to resorts or other places that employ mixologists rather than bartenders. So I have no problems when I order a Tanqueray & Tonic.

                                                                                Yes, I expect to pay a little more than than if I just order gin & tonic. And I never order specialty 'boutique' cocktails, for which there often is a special menu.

                                                                                My own way of dealing with this type of situation is in any bar that I am not familiar with, I order my first drink at the bar and pay for it then and there. This way I know the price of what I'm drinking, and know what to expect if I decide to run a tab.

                                                                                The only places I can remember seeing cocktail prices on the menus was at supper clubs in the 50s & 60s and the type of Chinese restaurant that has a big neon Chop Suey sign in front.

                                                                                18 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Fydeaux

                                                                                  Any time I ask for a drink menu it's specifically to see their cocktails (since I tend to frequent places with craft cocktail programs) or to see the beers or wine by the glass, as opposed to wasting a busy bartender's time by asking him/her to recite them all. It's all about context. I'm certainly not walking into Divey McHoleintheWall and asking for a cocktail menu.

                                                                                  1. re: Fydeaux

                                                                                    Many, many years ago a friend and I went for a drink at I think the Top of the Mark in SF. Incredible bar, amazing views. We each ordered a drink and enjoyed it. We were going to order a second when the server brought us our bill. Before ordering another, I glanced at the bill. It was something like $20 a drink or at least it seems like it was that much....way too much for our wallets. My friend said 'Shall we have another?" I said "I don't think we should." "But it's not like we're drunk." "No," I whispered back, "we shouldn't because we couldn't pay for it." I slid the check across, she looked at it eyes wide. We did not have a second drink.

                                                                                    1. re: escondido123

                                                                                      I have a similar outrageous bar tab story at Monarch Beach Resort @ Dana Point.....

                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7536...

                                                                                      1. re: escondido123

                                                                                        I cannot recall the exact location (almost had to be San Francisco), but I was having wine, and nibbles, waiting for the car to the airport. Looked at the cocktail menu, and most were in the US $40 - 60 range! I mean, you have to be kidding me there. I could have ordered a decent half-bottle of wine for the price of one of those "Signature Cocktails." Actually, the wines were priced fairly for a resort hotel bar, at least IMHO.

                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                      2. re: Fydeaux

                                                                                        "But I cant help but think that if you need to order a drink from a menu, you possibly should not be drinking."
                                                                                        ~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                        I don't understand this. If I want to see their wine list or specialty drink list, how else am I supposed to know what they have/can make? Should I expect the bartender or waitstaff to have it all memorized?

                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                          LindaWhit,

                                                                                          I agree completely.

                                                                                          Going back some years, we were hosting an even at The Inn At Pebble Beach. I asked to see the B-T-G wine list, and my server commented, "Just order, as we have everything." "OK, I thought, I'll start with a Bruno Colin Puligney Montrachet, then move onto the La Tache Pinot Noir, and finish up with the Caymus Special Select Cabernet Sauvignon." He looked at me for a few moments, before stating, "We don't have such wines in a B-T-G selection!" My comment was "OK, we have just established that you do not have a comprehensive B-T-G list, so let's talk about what you DO have." At that point, the wines, B-T-G list WAS forthcoming, as it should have been from the beginning.

                                                                                          I feel that some restaurants do like to keep their wine (and drink) lists a big secret. Why? Only guess is that they can then charge blindly for those drinks?

                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            I am not referring to wine lists. And I also stated that I have no interest in 'specialty' drinks. I do not seek them out, and I do not order them, even when told that "the mixologist is famous for his/her [insert absurdity here]-tini!" I know what I like to drink.

                                                                                            There are people on CH who feel that a wait-person who brings food to the table and asks "Who had the salmon?" is a sign of unprofessionalism at best, a sign of the decline of society at worst. So yes, in such a place, I feel that you should indeed expect the bartender or waitstaff to have it all memorized.

                                                                                            Bill, I am not sure what B-T-G stands for. Bottle To Go? [As I said, I dont get to country clubs much.]

                                                                                            1. re: Fydeaux

                                                                                              BTG = By The Glass.

                                                                                              And while YOU don't drink specialty drinks or wine, others do. As such, they need a list of those drinks. Your comment was all-encompassing in its reference to drinks - you didn't exclude specialty drinks or wine. Hence my question. I highly doubt that waitstaff could memorize all drinks. Besides, most diners aren't going to want their waitperson to run through the list of 20 different specialty martinis, 30 different white and red wines, etc. I suspect they'd want to peruse the drink menu at their leisure while they chit-chat with their friends.

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                Actually, all Chain Restaurants that serve liquor.....the ones most CHs hate......all their new hire employees have to memorize the entire food menu, as well as the drink menus, during a training period that is usually encompasses two weeks time. At the end of the training session, each employee is given a test where they have to complete the description, and or ingredients for each menu item. This can be a combination of ....fill in the blanks, or complete descriptions.

                                                                                                Unless they pass the given tests, they do not get to work the floor or bar.

                                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                  And yet as a diner, I don't *want* the waitstaff or bartender standing there telling me every drink on the list - regardless of whether they have it memorized. So I ask for a drink menu should I not already know what I want to order, such as "vodka and cranberry with lime."

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                    Agreed, but the point was the staff in chain restaurants often do know what is on the menus as a condition of employment.

                                                                                                    ... they are trained to know this should anyone ask a question......not to recite the menu to any diner.....and I would be surprised to see a vodka with cranberry and lime on a drink menu, :0)

                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  LindaWhit,

                                                                                                  I agree with you, and that is why I always wonder, when a wine/'drink list is not available. Why? It costs pennies to print out such a list. Now, the wines might change a bit, but if most restaurants can print out updated wine lists for the entire cellar, it should be easy to do so for B-T-G (By-The-Glass) offerings. The cocktails list should be easy, as they are NOT dealing with vintages.

                                                                                                  Many restaurants change their menus daily, and manage to print out those for the patrons, or at least write them on a chalk board. Computers are cheap. Printers are cheap. Nice stock to print the menus, or drink/wine lists, are cheap.

                                                                                                  It would be like going to an auto dealership, and being told, "we can't tell you how much this car costs, until you buy it." Yeah, right! Even P. T. Barnum would be flabbergasted.

                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                3. re: Fydeaux

                                                                                                  Okay, but not everyone is like you.

                                                                                                  For me, if I end up in an unfamiliar place, looking at the drink list helps me decide what to order. Is it full of flavored vodka "martinis"? Okay, then I'll probably have a beer or a highball.

                                                                                                  1. re: Fydeaux

                                                                                                    I was recently at a spot with 20+ tequilas, and extensive offerings for other liquors. I knew I wanted tequila. Without a menu, I'd likely fall back on something I knew. Instead I tried something new and fabulous. Even if the server had memorized the tequila and whiskey offerings (my companion), i sure would not have processed an oral presentation of them. Seems like a good use of menu to me.

                                                                                                    1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                      I used to hang out at a bar, with 3,400 brews available. They printed out a little booklet with each, including their price. The list fluctuated from time to time, as some brews were rare. They updated the 34 page booklet often, and the bartenders knew what was in stock, or had just run out. It is not "rocket science" there.

                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                    2. re: Fydeaux

                                                                                                      Sorry. "B-T-G" is "By-the-Glass," referring to wines.

                                                                                                      It can have various refinements, depending on the establishment, from a bottle that was opened a week ago, and has been sitting around with no cork, to a bottle that has been purged of oxygen, with an inert gas, and kept chilled, ready to serve the next day. It just depends on the restaurant/bar.

                                                                                                      My bad.

                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                        No problem; I just didnt recognize the abbreviation.

                                                                                                        1. re: Fydeaux

                                                                                                          No problem. I often encounter similar issues on some graphics program forums, where I start with the jargon.

                                                                                                          Thanks for asking,

                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                4. This is just bs. I know the reasoning is "if you have to ask then you cannot afford it..." blah blah blah... It shows a lack of class and character on the part of the owner and/or manager. Customers, PAYING customers deserve the respect of being given the prices without having to ask. This goes for "market" prices too, a server should just volunteer the damn price. All this shrouding and secrecy and "if you have to ask" logic is asinine.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                    Exactly as you said, Dagney.

                                                                                                    1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                      Well-stated.

                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                    2. They think that you won't have the nerve to turn it down when you find out the exorbitant costs they have IMHO. They tend to lose my business when they do that because I dislike supporting that kind of behavior.

                                                                                                      1. I never want to order a market price item now. I assumed it meant it was based on the price the restaurant paid, not on the whim of the server after he or she appraised my clothes, shoes and handbag, so he or she can take a cut. Or if I do, I'll negotiate.