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We were kicked out of a restaurant because.....

I brought in my own coffee cup. I was told that it was a liquor control law, and I searched the WA state RCW's and as far as a coffee cup (with the dregs of my coffee within), I have been unsuccessful in getting an answer. Granted, the tackiness of bringing in my own cup is not appropriate (but I like a taller cup for more coffee), so I take responsibility for my actions. Were it not for being told that I was being "monitored with a camera above you" for my actions, this might not be an issue. There is an open container law for alcohol, but does this also include a cup brought in from outside the restaurant?

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  1. "I like a taller cup for more coffee". Similarly, if you prefer to drink your margaritas out of a bird bath, I doubt they would have allowed you to bring one in.

    51 Replies
    1. re: Veggo

      Except that coffee comes with free refills (essentially it's "all you can drink") so the size of the cup is irrelevant.

      1. re: carolinadawg

        That is not always true, and we not know if that is the case here.

        1. re: Veggo

          I've never been in a sit down restaurant, which the OP certainly seems to be describing, that didn't offer free refills of coffee. Perhaps one exists, but that hardly validates your point.

          1. re: carolinadawg

            There are many restaurants that do not offer free refills of coffee, not even the fancy stuff like espresso or cappuccino.

                  1. re: carolinadawg

                    I was surprised at the prevalence of non-refilled coffee as well, but having been snookered more than once on saying yes to another cup of coffee and seeing it appear as "Coffee x3" on the bill I've come to realize that restaurants have started to use the "bottled water" trick on coffee.

                    Thank god for expense accounts.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Never seen that. Does it exist? Perhaps, if you say so. Is it common? I don't believe so.

                      1. re: carolinadawg

                        Unfortunately it does exist.

                        They do bring you a new cup. Not just a new pour from the same cup.

                        So I guess there's that. But whatever. Live and learn.

                        1. re: carolinadawg

                          They exist. Manhattan. "Free" refills on coffee are hard to come by aside from the sludge at old school diners.

                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                            Apparently, outside of LA and Manhattan, it's extremely rare. I've never seen it. I never said it didn't exist, but it's so rare as to be statistically insignificant.

                            1. re: carolinadawg

                              Add Chicago, SF and DC to your list.

                              Aside from the major metropolitan cities already mentioned here (NYC, LA, SF, Chicago, and DC), yes, you are right. Definitely a statistically insignificant number.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Also the nicer restaurants I've gone to in Boston often haven't had free refils

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  ipse: don't forget boston, many places in orange county, most of the high-end resorts in the US, virtually any place that serves really high-quality coffee brewed well.

                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                    Agreed, wsg. The cities I mentioned were merely the ones I am most familiar with and which I have dined extensively at.

                                    I think the point here isn't so much which cities (or metropolitan areas) have or don't have establishments with single-serve coffees, but rather such establishments are not "statistically insignificant".

                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                      The trend here in N California seems to be to offer a single serving of coffee or a French press pot of coffee
                                      (3-4cup pot ) in fine dining establishments. I am in the camp of individuals who will gladly pay for a second cup of great well brewed high quality coffee myself. It is a thing of beauty IMO.

                                  2. re: carolinadawg

                                    I' ve been in small towns in Illinois and Missouri where you are charged for each cup of coffee.

                                    1. re: wekick

                                      And I have been in small towns in Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Nebraska, etc. where refills for coffee/soda/iced tea at restaurants are free 99 percent of the time [and unless it is a high-end coffee shop or super-upscale restaurant] ....

                                      1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                        Yes that is usual but Carolinadawg was saying that they had not seen anyplace that charged for each cup of coffee and it exists in a lot of places, some that are unexpected. It is not just in the big cities.

                                        1. re: wekick

                                          That's right, I haven't personally experienced it. I NEVER said the practice didn't exist. And as hawkeyeui93 points out, refills are free in 99 percent of of non-high end restaurants. THAT is my point. Enough already.

                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                            I think by saying "perhaps one exists" you open the door for everybody listing the ones they know of.

                                            1. re: wekick

                                              I also said "I never said it didn't exist". Thus, no need to list every known instance.

                        2. re: carolinadawg

                          I'll book the Ipse side of that bet. Many.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              And many, many, many more don't charge. Its not even arguable.

                        3. re: carolinadawg

                          This is true at many fetch-your-own- soda joints, but that doesn't mean you can bring in a milk bucket.

                          1. re: carolinadawg

                            i've been in many, many, restaurants that do not offer free refills.
                            (basically there is a direct relationship between the quality of the coffee and the likelihood of NO free refills.)

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              you can add baltimore to the "no refill" list. i've been to ethic restaurants (thai, chinese, russian, indian, etc) and sub/pizza joints that charge for each filled cup.

                                1. re: Vidute

                                  I live in Boston and have traveled all over each state in New England, up and down the east coast, and a few western states. Never have I encountered free coffee refills in any type of restaurant.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Definitely more of a southern thing, coffee and iced tea refills.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      Free Refills are an Upper Midwestern thing [especially soda, normal pot brewed coffee, and unsweet tea].

                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        Yes, but Veggo, several cities in coastal Florida, Georgia, both Carolinas, and all the way North... no free refills. Of course that's just me. Obviously you and others have encountered it. I don't think I could handle an ice tea refill, anyway. Another martini? Oh Yeah.

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          I've been in many of those same locations with free refills. Something else seems to be going on here...

                                      2. re: Gio

                                        I've never encountered non-free coffee refills.

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          While I've certainly seen places w/o free refills in the Boston area, I've also certainly seen places that do have free refills here. It's a mixed bag although largely correlated with quality of place (e.g. breakfast spots tend to be free refills)

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            I've lived in Connecticut almost 60 years, and last time I checked it's one of the 6 New England states.

                                            Except for occasional huge spikes in coffee prices, a refill of one's coffee cup in a non-fast food restaurant is generally free.

                                            BUT>>>>I'm writing about a refill, NOT a refill of a refill and so on. and this refers to plain old American style coffee, no exotocs, expressos, latte's etc.

                                            The only places I've been hit with a refill charge are the $$$$ steakhouses and continental restaurants. The independents, diners, and casual family dining places all seem to refill for free.

                                            BTW>>>>>>>>>>>I also had a home on the Cape and went to law school in Mass. Free coffee refills in Barnstable, Essex, Middlesex and Worcester counties were common,

                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                              Bagelman, I live in Middlesex county, practically live in Essex county during off time. No Free Coffee Refills.

                                              "I'm writing about a refill, NOT a refill of a refill and so on. and this refers to plain old American style coffee, no exotocs, expressos, latte's etc."

                                              We must be talking about very different eating venues.

                                              ETA: I know where Connecticut is. Have spent a lot of time in Madison and Clinton.

                                              1. re: Gio

                                                I represented a client in Middlesex Juvenile Court last week. Had breakfast at Owl Diner in Lowell and was taken to dinner at the Chateau in Andover--had to meet a colleague at MSL.
                                                Was poured refill on my coffee at both places without charge.

                                                I overnighted in Worcester to visit nephew after 2nd day of trial. Dinner at the Sole Proprietor, again coffee refilled at no charge.

                                                Just three random restaurants, all independents and three no charge coffee refills.

                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                  OK... That's you. I'm me. The twains are not meeting.

                                                  "East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet"

                                    2. re: Veggo

                                      It seems here in Jersey it's almost only diners that still honor the "bottomless" cup of coffee. Most all other sit down restaurants charge by the cup, especially in "fine dining". I'm not sure about moderate or "family" restaurants like TGIF, Applebee's etc.

                                      There are still the good ole' Perkins and I-hops that still give you an individual pot or carafe of coffee.....and will refill them as well.

                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        I'm in Toronto. Many restaurants don't offer free coffee refills. If they do, it's likely an old school diner. Definitely no refills on pop - that's a US thing (although we don't drink pop...)

                                        1. re: roostermom

                                          Many mid-priced restaurants in Montreal offer refills on coffee and soft drinks.

                                          1. re: roostermom

                                            Lots of restaurants in Halifax offer free refills on pop. And coffee. But certainly not all, and I'd put it at 50/50 if I had to guess.

                                            1. re: CanadaGirl

                                              Usually the pop refills are based on the contract between the restaurant chain owner and supplier. The two major bottling companies want to be visible in branded stores.

                                              1. re: Ruthie789

                                                Ive been to a great many restaurants and actually the coffee sucks in most of them.

                                                If I wanted a cup of sweat, I would have asked for it.

                                    3. Ok. So then Veggo, if I dump out whatever is left in my own cup and show that it's empty, then what? My spouse thinks that it's a proximity thing: that since Tumwater is so close to the home offices of the Liquor Control Board (thus more opportunity to be visited), that they might be, perhaps, more on their toes? I live in Stanwood, and the chances of a LCB rep visiting a restaurant here I would think are far more remote.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: pamsmall

                                        If they poured their standard coffee pour into your empty but large cup, I see no problem. If state-paid LCB employees are peeking into coffee cups, your state has an administrative problem.

                                      2. I don't understand what coffee has to do with alcohol laws? Makes no sense.

                                        1. Restaurant seems to be worried that someone will sneak in booze in a coffee cup (not unrealistic, IMO). Rather than becoming the "outside cup police," management is playing it safe and banning all outside cups. There are restaurants where I live that ban all outside food and drink, and I suspect they would let empty containers in, either.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                            Did you mean to say "wouldn't let empty..."?

                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                              Pika, part of the magical allure of Mexico is that at my favorite restaurants I can bring my own hand-crafted cocktail, with ingredients not in that building. No problem. I order, eat, and tip well there. Some offer to bring me more ice or lime. Impossible stateside.

                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                Come on I own several flasks in different sizes for sneaking in booze.

                                                1. re: MamasCooking

                                                  About 40 years ago I was a waiter in two large Catskill Mountain Hotel resorts while on college breaks. In addition to serving 3 meals a day in the dining room, I had to work three nights a week in the nightclub serving drinks.

                                                  Inevitably, the patrons would order a Planters Punch or Singapore Sling in a tall glass. All night they'd nurse that one drin, while continuing to top it up from their hip flasks. They figured no one saw them do it in the dark.

                                                2. re: pikawicca

                                                  I worked in a restaurant in Charlotte NC many years ago and we had a table seated that had two large soda cups with straws and lids. The couple were behaving as if they were happily intoxicated. We assumed their cups were filled with booze and asked them to dispose of them. While it was never confirmed what was in the cups, we were pretty certain they wanted to grab a bite to eat and not pay for drinks. Stranger things have happened.

                                                  I've also had folks in the Sunday brunch crowd order their booze in a coffee cup. ;)

                                                3. I think the issue here is you brought in outside coffee.

                                                  If it was just an empty cup I'm not so sure there would be an issue.

                                                  I've brought my own stemware (for wine, not Java obviously) and many caf├ęs like Starbucks and deli restaurants offer their own refillable mug/cups that you can leave the store with and bring back (empty presumably) for refills, either free or at a discount.

                                                  I once dated someone who brought their own cappuccino mug to our local hangout because it was more ergonomic in its design.

                                                  Many restaurants have issues with outside food and drinks - ranging from food contamination, competition, to liquor law violations to whatever.

                                                  69 Replies
                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    See, it's the lack of clarity that I'm concerned about. Is this a restaurant by restaurant policy? Is this under the umbrella of the open container law? I will call the LCB tomorrow and ask them myself. This all seems so nebulous, and I want to know without a doubt what the law says. Of course it doesn't negate the rude manner of the mgr, but hey I'm tough (smile). I'm one of those folks who asks alot of questions and wants to avoid further experiences like I had yesterday....

                                                    1. re: pamsmall

                                                      I hear you about the seemingly nebulous nature if this issue, but honestly does it really matter?

                                                      In a situation like yours a restaurant can do as it pleases.

                                                      If it says "no outside beverage" then it is the law in that restaurant.

                                                      If it says "no open-toe shoes" then it is the law in that restaurant.

                                                      As long as it is not discriminating based on some protected class (race, ethnicity, disability, etc) then it can ostensibly do whatever it really wants to do.

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                        And as for being "kicked out" , one would think you were offered the option of returning the cup to your car, and then dining. If you were" kicked out", you may have rejected reasonable suggestions, yes or no?

                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                          No. There were no suggestions offered from mgr. I offered to go out to the car and leave my cup, but he was already hellbent on getting us out of there. We had quite an audience that was listening intently....

                                                          1. re: pamsmall

                                                            if he was already hellbent on getting you out of there, i would imagine there is something more to this story.

                                                            in my experience, restaurants, typically aren't hellbent on getting good, paying, customers out of their establishments for frivolous reasons. . . .

                                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                                              That's what I was thinking. The problem with a complaint like this is that we are getting only one side of the story.

                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                              And we stayed low key, not mean or irate. Just trying to understand. The more questions we asked, the madder mgr became. It's over. I suggest that if you want to drink Nickelby's coffee, then do that vs what I did. Honest mistake.

                                                              1. re: pamsmall

                                                                Pam, with this crucial additional information, I declare that you were ratfucked, plain and simple.
                                                                If you hired Juan Valdez and his mule to kick out their windows, I'd like to be on your grand jury so you could be home for supper.

                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                  Well let's be careful here, V.

                                                                  Let me preface this by saying I am neither defending nor crucifying either party here, but we are only getting one side of the story from a biased perspective.

                                                                  Maybe the OP is being completely factual, but we'll never know.

                                                                  I know if I got ratfucked over a cup of coffee and I wanted to vent online I wouldn't be the most gracious of posters.

                                                                  But whatever. Lesson learned on both sides I suppose.

                                                                  OP got to keep his coffee and restaurant lost a customer, probably for good.

                                                                  No real winners, except Chow which now has innumerably more clicks than it would've if this never happened.

                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                    Ok. This is my last post about this. I wasn't "venting", but asking for input about my experience. I don't "vent" online because I don't believe it's the appropriate way to address something that is emotionally-based. This is not emotionally based. Thanks to all for your input. Even you, ipse whatever....

                                                                    1. re: pamsmall

                                                                      Pam, your CH teammates are helping you work though an annoying incident, so you can carry on with a smile.
                                                                      Enjoy the Superbowl commercials!

                                                                  2. re: pamsmall

                                                                    I have found that many people get frustrated anytime someone challenges them. Even if your inquiry was just out of curiosity and you were trying to explain yourself, some will still see it as combative or argumentative even though it may not be. It's unfortunate but it sounds like the manager was one of those types. Perhaps, he has to deal with this a lot and so came off as less than pleasant and willing to explain and/or discuss.

                                                            2. re: ipsedixit

                                                              You bring your own stemware? For wine??

                                                              I'm already having a hard time wrapping my head around folks bringing their own cups into restaurants. I can't imagine any resto around here that would assume it was okay to bring my own glass for wine.

                                                              Please explain why one would carry glassware on the way to a restaurant. And - if you want another glass, do you expect them to take your glass to the bar and refill it?

                                                              Wouldn't you want a clean cup/glass? I know a few folks I work with that carry around the most disgusting coffee mugs to fill up at convenient stores.


                                                              1. re: breadchick

                                                                I understand the wine glasses a lot more than the cups. Good stemware can make the wine taste different. I've tried it at home to test it out.

                                                                I would never do it because I'm too lazy to schlep these fragile glasses (the better glasses tend to be a lot thinner). But I've seen people bring in their own stemware at some high-end restaurants known for a good wine list. It makes sense.

                                                                1. re: breadchick

                                                                  Yes, I do (or more precisely my companion does)

                                                                  Why? Because stemware matters.

                                                                  There are several casual restaurants that I enjoy eating at where the stemware do not do the wine any favors.

                                                                  Many times they use small cut glass tumblers, or sometimes the glass in the stemware is too thick or too small to enhance the flavour, too shallow and open to enhance the bouquet, and too mimsy to convey any complexity.

                                                                  The bottom line is drinking wine from proper and fine stemware enhances the experience. Wine definitely smells better in proper stemware, and the feeling of drinking from an artfully crafted stem is more pleasurable than a clunky one.

                                                                  And so many times you will peruse a wine list and then come to find out that the stemware offered does not match the class of wine. If I decide to order large bold red, and the restaurant does not have the proper larger red wine / Bordeaux style stemware, I might as well be drinking Welch's.

                                                                  If I'm paying a significant markup to drink wine at your establishment (or a corkage to bring my own), I should at least have the option and privilege of quaffing said wine from stemware that is proper.

                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                    You're probably right, but it's still weird... :D
                                                                    Does anyone give you any grief?

                                                                    1. re: petek

                                                                      No, not really.

                                                                      Certainly not the dishwashers.

                                                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      Okay, thanks for the clarification. I have different stemware for different wines, so yes, I guess it makes sense. But, one question:

                                                                      Do you have a little suitcase that protects your stemware from breaking? I'm assuming you're not just pulling it out of a hobo or tote bag? :)

                                                                      1. re: breadchick

                                                                        Yes, I do.

                                                                        Same one I use for picnics.

                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                          Seems a little eccentric to me..no offence intended..
                                                                          Is this a common thing to do? I've never heard of such a thing.

                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                              But not unheard of, either. I've been out to dinner with a well-known chowhound who brings a lot of wine (and pays corkage, as is legal and customary here) and she (and sometimes I), bring out own stemware either because it's better than what the restaurant has on offer or because we want to pour several wines at the same time and need multiple glasses.

                                                                              We take them home (in boxes) and wash them ourselves.

                                                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        I'm quite sure the idea that there are certain glasses for certain wines has been debunked.

                                                                        1. re: gourmanda

                                                                          Tell that to people who put on and attend "glass tastings".


                                                                          I'm not here the defend nor advocate the use of specific stemware for specific types of wine.

                                                                          I just know that, personally for me, when/if I am pouring and then drinking from a quality bottle of vino, I want the vessel that's ultimately take the liquid gold into my mouth to be appropriate and worthwhile.

                                                                            1. re: gourmanda

                                                                              I have to tell you I've done this - both with and without Mr. Reidel in attendance - and it's true, The glass does make a difference. People are always amazed.

                                                                              1. re: lemons

                                                                                Bring you own decanter and candle. People are amazed but they enjoy learning.

                                                                              2. re: gourmanda

                                                                                and now we have specific "coke" (not to be used for pepsi) glasses to add. :)

                                                                      3. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        What about baby bottles, food and juices? I practically bring a picnic for my kids and no one has ever batted an eye, even though it ends up on their floor.... and I'm not just talking family restaurants, but high end ones, as well.

                                                                          1. re: roostermom

                                                                            I hope you tip double. I'm sure you do. I've seen people destroy a corner of a restaurant with thrown food, cheerios and spilled drinks with nary an attempt to clean up the monsters mess, and then leave a pittance of a tip, while 2 or three staff run around with butlers and brooms and mini carpet sweepers, desperately trying to discreetly move furniture to clean up the mess for the party waiting at the door to be seated.

                                                                            1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                              I tend to agree with you. The dinner table should be a place of etiquette and elegance. It is difficult with children but one should do their best to keep the table and the floor clean and not leave a mess for the waitress. We should behave with civility and that includes civility and respect to those who are serving us in a restaurant environment.

                                                                              1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                I agree, we do our best. I always ask for a lot of napkins so I can mitigate the mess for the servers. However, it isn't polite or sanitary for me to spend my evening on the floor, and after most diners a server must wipe the table and possibly sweep the floor, so a little extra time after a family has been there shouldn't put a server out too much. My kids are 5, 3 and 1 so etiquette and elegance aren't exactly mastered at this point.... We are trying, though!

                                                                                  1. re: roostermom

                                                                                    I do understand, and you do have to expose them to outings so that the manners are developed. Most restaurants accomodate for families and their has to be a happy medium. However kids cannot run rampant at restaurants and be disorderly without being told to stop. Some parents do not watch their kids in this type of setting. I was at a restaurant the other evening, a family of five children was at the table next to us. They were well behaved but one did drop a glass of milk, the waiter had to change the table setting and wipes but he was nice about it. I only took my son to family restaurants, and left the elegant outings for a date with my husband.

                                                                                    1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                      We don't go to 'nice' restaurants with them. The most daring we get is something a little funky and hipster, where most of the people are single and the atmosphere is loud. We also bring the portable dvd player for them in case the dinner is lengthy or service is slow. Of course they need to learn to sit and converse but in some situations a little 'help' with the entertainment is welcome. Whatever gets them and us out with the least amount of trouble and annoyance for everyone!

                                                                                      1. re: roostermom

                                                                                        You are doing your best and most of all you are paying your bill. Most of us go out to restaurants with our children, what would happen if children were not allowed in restaurants? In regards to my comments on civility, I believe it is important to display our manners to the waiters and staff, and to try and respect the rules of the house. It was in regards to the overall comments in this thread, and bringing in a big coffee cup bewilders me, sippy cups excluded!

                                                                                    2. re: roostermom

                                                                                      I disagree ..I find it very polite to pick up your kids mess. I have never not picked up after my children and I still leave a great tip!

                                                                                  1. re: roostermom

                                                                                    This is always a difficult situation, both for the parents/diners and the restaurant.

                                                                                    While the restaurant would have every right to throw a tissy-fit over a situation like this, it just doesn't pay to do so. It's bad business practice.

                                                                                    And because most restaurateurs recognize that sometimes nature forces us (i.e. diners) to be in awkward situations, they won't be a total ogre and make you "eat at home" so to speak.

                                                                                    And, again *and*, because of this I think parents who are either nursing or with small children and "baby kits" should be extremely diligent and respectful of not only the restaurant's willingness to provide reasonable accommodations, but to diner's in their immediate vicinity.

                                                                                    Just because a restaurant doesn't say something, doesn't mean that they either (1) can't or (2) shouldn't.

                                                                                    And, yes, I know all about the recent stories of nursing mothers being asked to leave restaurants etc. ... which only proves my point. Just because a restaurant *can* do something doesn't mean it always *should*.

                                                                                    Publicity, goodwill, human dignity, etc. all work into the equation. As well as they should. On both sides.

                                                                                    1. re: roostermom

                                                                                      Kids that require bottles, food, juices and a veritable "picnic" do not belong in restaurants.

                                                                                        1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                          Where do they belong for the first 2-3 years of their life? And the parents? Are we allowed out of the house? Given the ages of my children that would mean 8 years of never dining out with them. Give your head a shake....

                                                                                          1. re: roostermom

                                                                                            There is this concept called a babysitter.

                                                                                            And yes, I do think that parents should have to sacrifice their own personal/social life in those formative years.

                                                                                            Some restaurants are more family friendly than others, kids of the sort that MonMauler describes only belong in the family friendly types.

                                                                                            1. re: jgg13

                                                                                              But MonMauler says they don't belong in restaurants period. No qualification as to what type of restaurant.

                                                                                              I think it's a bit harsh to condemn parents to never going out in public just because they have small kids. Most of us have been there, and do our best with keeping our kids under control, and the mess to a minimum.....

                                                                                              While I agree very young children should not be at the mercy of their parents' whim to take them out to a fancy place, wait for hours then expect to be angelic while they sit through an entire meal....there are always going to people who do it anyway....

                                                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                MONmauler referred to children that required a "veritable picnic", and that's what I agree with. If the kid can more or less blend in with normal people, no big deal. If they need special attention and treatment, it's unfair to the other people there, workers, etc

                                                                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                  I apologize for not responding sooner to you, lala, roostermom and dirtywextraolives, but that is my point: anybody that can more or less blend in with other people should be welcomed in any restaurant. If that is not the case, however, then they or those responsible for them should have the common decency not to impose their dysfunction on the general public.

                                                                                                  1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                    MonMauler, children do not come into the world on automatic pilot control and it's only by exposing them to situations that they will learn as to where they need to improve. There are enough family oriented and mid-priced restaurants that encourage the clientele offering children's menus which leads me to conclude that money and the economy thrives on families.

                                                                                                    1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                      The behaviour of children in restaurants is a statement about their parents.

                                                                                                      1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                        Yes it is but they will make mistakes and hopefully parents guide them under the circumstances. I believe manners are very important, often lacking,but many children are well behaved at the dinner table. I suggest to request moving to another table if the presence of a child so irritates a customer. As well a customer can ask the restaurant to ask the parents of misbehaved children to settle down, this is often not done but it should be.

                                                                                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                          This is not really directed at you, Ruthie, but is where I hit to post.

                                                                                                          I think most diners that don't want to be around children while eating, go to restaurants they consider more "adult friendly" rather than "family friendly". The problem comes when people bring toddlers (and all their gear) into the more expected adult oriented restaurants. Often, it is miserable for everyone.

                                                                                                          I often automatically sit in the bar or lounge to eat if I see kids in the restaurant.

                                                                                                          I don't think I have ever brought any napkins, condiments, glasses or cups into a restaurant for either myself or my kids when they were little. If I recall, I stuck with coloring book and crayons and always took them to a family oriented restaurant and insisted they behave well, or we wouldn't stay.

                                                                                                          I don't think kids learn better behavior in public if you let them climb all over, run around, etc even at a "Denny's"...then insist they sit nicely at "Chez Grown Ups". They don't get the difference.

                                                                                                          1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                            I stuck to family restaurants as well for my nights out with the family. I also do not like to see children at the buffet table unsupervised which I see quite often. Children do have their place as long as well supervised.

                                                                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                              I agree, and the toughest (and most important) part is that you MUST be willing to follow through and leave if needed.

                                                                                                              You can't keep trying to convince your child to be reasonable, or ordering him/her under your breath -- you just have to stand up and start putting on the coats, ask the server to bring the check and anything that you can take to go, and leave a nice tip on the table.

                                                                                                              Then, after you are gone, you can tell the kids that restaurants just aren't the place to yell/run/complain/cry/... and maybe next time will work out better.

                                                                                                              This goes ditto for grocery stores, movies, museums, and just about any other public space.

                                                                                                              1. re: DebinIndiana

                                                                                                                Totally. It usually only takes once to let them know you mean it.

                                                                                                                Idle threats don't work with smart kids! LOL. If they know you don't mean it, it won't work.

                                                                                                                Unfortunately, many parents don't want to be inconvenienced/waste time/ waste money/ be embarrassed/whatever... by having to leave... but it works.

                                                                                                          2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                            No, the response by parents to their children's behavior (in and out of restaurants) is a statement about them.

                                                                                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                              carolinadawg. Lets agree. Children's behaviour in restaurants and parents' response is circular and all of it is a statement about the parents.

                                                                                                              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                I can't agree to a blanket statement that any person is solely responsible for another persons behavior, in all cases and all situations. Even the best parents will have at least some ocassions when a child misbehaves. It's the response to that misbehavior that counts, i.e. watching a child run wild through a restaurant, rather than curbing the behavior, or removing the child from the situation.

                                                                                                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                  I suppose that you are right. Some children are just the way they are. Neither good parenting nor bad parenting will make any difference. For better or for worse. But I like to think that in the great majority of instances , parenting does matter.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                    In the long run, in most cases, for most things, parenting does matter. The short run is a different story.

                                                                                                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                      Exactly. My 4 year old is far from a perfect angel. However, he is very good in restaurants. Well, at least he is very good 99% of the time. The fact that he acts out sometimes is not evidence that I am a bad parent or that he is a bad kid.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                            Depends on how bad the behavior is. I have a very low threshold for what I consider bad behavior in restaurants. He got up and ran around one time and we left immediately. If he's being too loud, I tell him to be quiet or we're leaving and he settles down.

                                                                                                            2. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                              Yes, but the key phrase is family oriented. There are many, many, many places which they do *not* belong as well, but many parents don't seem to realize that.

                                                                                            2. I don't know about the specifics of the state law on this, but it sounds to me like the management didn't want you bringing in your own cup, period. Maybe for several reasons. Instead of having some sort of discussion with you, they cited a "law" so you would take your cup and go.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                My thoughts exactly... the connection between alcohol and the cup is weak (although a possible concern) so this theory just seems the best.

                                                                                                1. re: gourmoo

                                                                                                  Yeah, I live in the same state as the OP (a coffee Mecca).

                                                                                                  I know people bring coffee cups in various cafe type places. Tall stylish thermos type mugs are de rigueur in the PNW. I have no idea where and when they allow it or not, but I have never heard this alcohol reason before.

                                                                                              2. What a good idea. I like ice cream. Next time I'm taking my own dish. A very big dish.

                                                                                                46 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                  Taking your own water glass would be more analogous, unless the place you're going to serves all you can eat ice cream.

                                                                                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                    the restaurant's reasoning may have had nothing whatsoever to do with a possible free refill policy.
                                                                                                    there are several other legitimate reasons that the restaurant may have had.
                                                                                                    i've had restaurants refuse to use customer platters for large to-go orders. it had nothing to do with refills.
                                                                                                    still, since i want to be a "good customer" at those restaurants, i avoid searching for reasons to be irritated.

                                                                                                  2. re: Querencia

                                                                                                    I've smuggled in fresh jalapenos and tomatoes from my patio farm to my local favorite Tex-Mex place to spice up the guacamole, thereby not having to ask for more of their weak peppers. I also bring real butter in to Waffle House.

                                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                      I posted a long time ago that my husband and I brought tiny containers of kosher salt and olive oil to a couple of restaurants, and once brought our own cloth napkins to a place that had a great patio (empty but for us each time) but provided puny paper napkins. At the time, I was pilloried by the folks here as some kind of nut case..................

                                                                                                        1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                          Ok. This has gotten waaaaaaay away from my original post. Do you realize that I first posted early this morning, went and watched my Seahawks win the Super Bowl and you are still commenting on this? Bringing kosher salt? Napkins? Jalapeno's? Seriously. This is hilarious. This is a comedy now. Go to sleep for God's sake, so that I stop getting your even more hilarious (and off subject) responses.
                                                                                                          NIghtie night.

                                                                                                          1. re: pamsmall

                                                                                                            I brought Chinese spareribs to a movie theater once. Beat the shit out of popcorn. I also had a friend who brought his own ice cream to Friendlies. But he was trying to be a dick. I just like spareribs.

                                                                                                            1. re: pamsmall

                                                                                                              It's not unusual for a thread to take a different course than its originator intended.

                                                                                                              I take my own shaker of cayenne pepper to restaurants. No trouble so far.

                                                                                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                I agree with your first sentiment.

                                                                                                                But I only take payment to a restaurant for the shit they give me. I don't take condiments, utensils, cloth ware or any of that garbage, I doubt I could regularly dine with anyone that would, and I will never understand it, but to each his own.

                                                                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                  I have a small thumb operated peppermill that I have taken into restaurants. (Not fine dining.) I cannot stand the pepper dust that is in most pepper shakers in your average restaurant. I have not done so for quite a while however, I wonder where I left it?

                                                                                                                2. re: pamsmall

                                                                                                                  I don't think it' funny that many of us bring in condiments to enhance our food. At least we're trying to make it taste better. (Off subject), we're supposed to limit this discussion to tall coffee cups? It's not your thread, it's chowhounds and bringing in condiments, napkins, and wine glasses isn't too far afield.

                                                                                                                  1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                    when i was a child, my parents brought along honey when we went out. my sister and i did not like pancake syrup and my mom had to have honey for her tea and for buttered toast.
                                                                                                                    i still carry a honeybear with me.

                                                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                      I have not done it yet but I do have a fetish about decent flatware when I dine out. I have been tempted to bring in my own fork...knife and spoon and use them. I also do not find anyone bringing in a nice carrying case with personal wine glasses in the least bit eccentric. Bringing in a little bit of personal luxury to juice things up a bit is a great bold step IMO! As far as coffee mugs/cups I have yet to see that but I have been in dining establishments that gladly oblige travelers and truckers by filling their coffee containers and thermos bottles for the road.

                                                                                                                      1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                        < I also do not find anyone bringing in a nice carrying case with personal wine glasses in the least bit eccentric.>

                                                                                                                        Considering the fact that you're contemplating bringing your own flatware with you when you dine out I don't find this surprising at all.. :)

                                                                                                                        1. re: petek

                                                                                                                          Some dining establishments do not use the quality of flat ware that I prefer. Sue me.I love luxury.

                                                                                                                          1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                            I concur. I count my silver, even after dining home alone.

                                                                                                                              1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                                You misread me. I'm on your side. I abhor a snaggletooth fork, same as you.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                  Ok well then let me delete my indignant rant:)

                                                                                                                            1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                              I live in fear of a three-tined fork.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                  Yeah there were horses and a man on fire, and Hobbert killed a man with a trident!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                    So a piece of Sugarless gum did the trick...

                                                                                                                              1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                                <Sue me.I love luxury>

                                                                                                                                you'll be hearing from my attorney shortly... :P

                                                                                                                        2. re: pamsmall

                                                                                                                          You do realize that these responses aren't always about you, correct? Spend some time here, babe.

                                                                                                                        3. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                          That's a bit random but not completely insane. I carry Sweet-n-Low in my purse. Apparently, I'm my grandmother. Oh well.

                                                                                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                              Please. I keep my Kleenex in my pocket next to some sugar free hard candies. Duh.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                              +1 for carrying S&L in my purse. I don't think my grandmother did, so I'm not sure who I am channeling. I just happen to prefer the pink stuff over the blue, yellow and anything else.

                                                                                                                              1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                                                                                                Haha I'm glad I'm not alone. The blue and yellow stuff is just nasty.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                  You're not alone. I enjoy a cup of Newman's Own from McDs when I'm on the road. McD has equal and Splenda, but no S&L.

                                                                                                                                  There's a big stack of S&L in the center console of my car next to the cupholder. All set for the drive thru.

                                                                                                                              2. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                The Kosher salt is not a half bad idea. Packets of it would be great. ;)

                                                                                                                                1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                  Packets of Maldon salt would be heaven!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                      They would, indeed. I carry a small jar filled with Maldon salt with me always. I am always careful to put it in my checked luggage when flying, however, to avoid potential TSA hassles.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                                                        Haha. I'm a cop and can just imagine finding a container of salt on a search. The skepticism would be overwhelming. "And you say that's salt? Riiight. Start me a K9..."

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                          It's occurred to me that I'm bound to have my car searched and torn apart after a routine traffic stop someday when a cop finds a few bags of coffee in my trunk (thanks to the old trick of using coffee to hide the smell of various drugs). 'Really officer, I just like coffee. A lot.'

                                                                                                                                  1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                    I used to bring real maple syrup to breakfast/brunch restos. Can't stand the crap some places serve with homemade pancakes. Luckily most places have caught on and serve the real stuff. (ie. NOT Aunt Jemima)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                      Bread is a big loser. I would bring in my own bread when I used to eat a lot of bread.
                                                                                                                                      I travel with a bottle of cider or malt vinegar in the car for the chips. That's Freedom Fries.

                                                                                                                                      The winner. I saw a guy come into a restaurant wit an apple which he had bought at the fruit store across the street and ask the chef- owner to wash it for him. That's it.

                                                                                                                                  2. No shirt,no shoes,no service.Bringing in your own cup. Sounds like that is their policy.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: emglow101

                                                                                                                                      My former dentist used to have a sign that proclaimed

                                                                                                                                      No Shirt No Teeth No Service

                                                                                                                                      He had a great sense of humour, but I ended up finding a better dentist.

                                                                                                                                    2. I've seen many bring their spill proof cups/thermos jugs in to coffee shops, but not restaurants, with no questions. The thermos jugs were charged more 'cus of there capacity.

                                                                                                                                      1. I woulda kicked you out too...What's next, bringing in your own salad? People these days don't seem to be able to walk to the mailbox anymore without toting a water bottle, coffee, energy drink, whatever. It's just plain rude

                                                                                                                                        1. I've only read halfway through the comments, but here's one for you that probably tops yours.

                                                                                                                                          A local diner near me refused entry a few years back to a family with an infant. Why? Nope, not because they had a baby, as there were lots of toddlers and children there.

                                                                                                                                          Because their policy was "no outside drinks or food". And that's reasonable enough, right? Well, that included the 4 oz. baby's bottle filled with the mother's breast milk. No one else was going to drink it but the baby, obviously, but they refused entry if the bottle was coming inside to feed the baby.

                                                                                                                                          The family went elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                              Wonder what they'd do with a mom breast-feeding on the premises.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                I guess as long as the milk isn't in a bottle, it would have to be accepted, right?

                                                                                                                                                At this place, probably not.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                As would I! Diners are a dime a dozen in this area. BS like that would loss them my business forever.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                  We're they serving breast milk to accommodate?

                                                                                                                                                2. I have been in small town cafes that have a wall with hooks on it where the regulars' coffee mugs are kept. Each mug is identified by name and they are obviously brought in by the customers because no two of them are alike. The customer goes into the cafe, grabs their mug and pours their own coffee before sitting at the counter or a table.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Today I went to lunch at Toby Keith's I Love this Bar and Grill. I was rushed for time in meeting my gf there and hadn't yet consumed my first cup of coffee. The only travel cup I had available was a plastic one with a lid and a straw. I brought my coffee in that to the restaurant, and nobody said anything. Honestly, it easily could've been any beverage for all they knew.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                                                                                                      That Toby Keith's an Unleashed kinda guy. Red solo cup and all.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I once had a guest for a dinner party show up with his own riedel wine glass and a pedestrian bottle of red. I found that rather pretentious.

                                                                                                                                                      And I have a wide range of fine glassware and about 200 bottles cellared. I guess I'm just thankful he brought his own to break.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I believe in respecting the rules of the house. I would never think of bringing my own china to a restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                        1. So wait, did you bring in an empty coffee cup, or did you bring in your own coffee cup with coffee already in it? If you brought your own coffee in it, then I can see why they would point out the liquor control law, because they don't know if you've got half a cup of Kalua in that cup.

                                                                                                                                                          Out of curiousity, was this a small mom and pop type cafe, or a nice cloth napkin restaurant? I could see bringing an (empty) cup to a casual cafe, but not to a restaurant. What exactly did the manager say to you, and what did you say back? I'm wondering if you got kicked out because you brought your own cup, or because something was said when the cup was pointed out. I can't imagine a restaurant saying "You brought your own coffee mug? Get out of here now!"

                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                                                            Re-reading the op she had the dregs of her coffee in it, could contain alcohol or not. Reading subsequent posts, she asked a lot of questions while remaining low key. I take away by all the questions she is a customer who won't take no for an answer, and the manager got tired of it and told her to take a hike. I saw this type person today in my leasing office. Anyway, the more questions she asked, the madder the manager got, and quite a crowd gathered and was listening intently. I'd be mad too, if a customer was making a scene, low key as she described or not. How many questions can a customer ask about a stupid coffee cup? She then said she was done with the topic, only to return to take a swipe at ipse whatever, her words, for his wine glasses, and others for condiments and napkins, yours truly included, telling us we should all go to bed because her one and done Seahawks won the big game and nightie night.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                              Indeed. With some of the OP's responses in this thread, I have no problem believing that it was her response to the cup being pointed out and not the actual cup that got her kicked out.

                                                                                                                                                          2. I was kicked off this thread because.......

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. Well I thought this thread was going to be about bad behavior that got you kicked out of restaurants. Was looking forward to reading that. I will admit a group of very young very loud obnoxious drinkers I may have been a part of got kicked out of a notoriously no-nonsense townie bar. That was many moons ago, though.

                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: charlesbois

                                                                                                                                                                At least you didn't bring your own drinks into the bar

                                                                                                                                                                1. You got kicked out of a restaurant. You think it's because you brought your own coffee cup.

                                                                                                                                                                  I wasn't born yesterday.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. My goodness, here in STLouis, even our Mobil four-star pours coffee until you say stop. Not the espresso/latte stuff, certainly, but they have elves to scrupulously scour their coffee pots and it's good stuff. As a rule, regular coffee is always poured as desired, just the specialty coffees, including things like Turkish coffee or whatever ethnic groups own the restos that serve the thick, sweet stuff that brings to mind. They've cut back on the bread basket in recent years r/t the waning economy but not the coffee refills.

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                      Oh! I thought Mobil four-star was a gas station.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                        Ah, well, actually it's an AAA four-star; Mobil no longer does the guides. I should know better. They did have valet riders for Pegasus, though.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I don't know what type of restaurant you're referring to -- whether it's high end, fast food, casual -- but whenever I think about bringing something into a restaurant that's not "normal" to bring with you -- i.e., my own wine -- I always call ahead and ask about their policy. If I had your predilection for a larger coffee cup, I think I'd ask ahead whether it's okay. Just common courtesy, for starters.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Maybe its not just alcohol but a sales thing. Not just the fact that they want a person to consume there product in there restaurant and not have a fill up and leave. As the other person you are with might feel a bit obligated to buy a drink to have with you when you have your after dinner coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. this thread ranks up there( for me) with the
                                                                                                                                                                            BANANA BOARD ;)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. I've recently started drinking tea instead of coffee in the afternoon. I like Tazo Passion tea - and it is not often found in coffee shops. Twice I've asked for a cup of hot water for my herbal tea and they gave it to me -- no charge. I even offered to pay and they said no.

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RippleFL

                                                                                                                                                                                I used to go so far as to leave a box of herb tea at a Chinese restaurant I frequented. I still bring herb tea to Chinese or other restaurants and have them bring hot water.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: phantomdoc

                                                                                                                                                                                  My retired father goes to lunch every Tuesday with a bunch of other old guys, mostly retired local politicians. My father likes to have a vodka martini with garlic stuffed olives. He brings a new jar of olives every few weeks that they keep in the small refrigerator behind the bar just for him.

                                                                                                                                                                                  (One of the guys was a county commissioner for 40 years. His first run at public office was when he was 21 and ran against a long term incumbant. He lost by 38 votes. His campaign manager was my then 17 year old father.)