View Full Version : Do You Drink AT Bars?

07-17-2003, 10:25
I know most of you have bourbon collections that would embarrass most bars.

However, do you ever go out and drink just to enjoy the experience of those around you?

My real question is: What do you expect to pay for a glass of bourbon.

Top Shelf
Second Shelf

What would you think was a great deal on each of those?

07-17-2003, 18:02
around here, in south carolina, where we still use mini bottles that are l.75 oz. 4.50 to 5.00 is standard for most bourbons . when you get into bookers and super premium you can go to6.00 to 8.00. I went out with my sons a few weeks ago in Wash. DC and Hirsch was 16.00 a drink.

07-17-2003, 18:43
I normally only drink at bars when I am out of town on business.

Top shelf: I once paid $11 for a healthy shot of Van Winkle Pappy 20-year old. It was worth every penny.

Mid-shelf: $5 to $8.

Well: I don't drink well pours. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/puke.gif


07-17-2003, 21:21
I drink at bars only when I am forced to go to one.

Top Shelf.... $7-$10
Medium $4.50 - $7
Well $2.50 - $4.50

I do not drink well Burbon straight but can take it with a coke if I need to. I drank some fine top shelf Bourbon in DC and I can not remember what I paid. It was both too much and worth every penny. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

07-17-2003, 22:11
Most of the bars, when they are not watering their drinks (see my post on Old Dan Tucker (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Board=Tasting&Number=6718&pa ge=&view=&sb=5&o=) for details. . .) the majority of bars around here carry JD Black, JB White, WT 80 and if you are lucky Old Grandad 86 (and quite overpriced I might add). If I wanted to go to Applebee's or Red Lobster I could add Maker's Mark to the list.All are priced between $4-$5.50 a glass. Needless to say when I am enjoying myself in a bar, I have beer (Great Lakes Brewing makes a great lager served locally, suprisinly enough, called http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif"The Eliot Ness", http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif and thats what I have.).


07-18-2003, 07:49
I generally do not drink at bars other than when I'm on vacation. On those occassions, I look for regional micro-brews that I can't get at home. When at home, I may order a beer when I'm out for dinner.


07-18-2003, 09:21
Almost never bourbon. The best premium bourbon you'll find in most bars around here is Knob Creek, which I could take or leave. For $10 a glass I'll leave it.

Normally I go for the darkest beer they serve...preferably a porter, stout, or black & tan.

07-18-2003, 09:30
I too live in the control state of Ohio and I must agree with Murphydawg that our choices in Bars - and liquor stores also - are very limited. 90% of the bars I have ever been in in this state have just Jim Beam White, Jack Daniels(I know, not a bourbon, but when I mention this to bartenders I just get blank stares)Wild Turkey 101 and Makers Mark. The most frequent well bourbons are Old Crow and Ten High. However many bars/bartenders when you ask for a well bourbon or mixed drink such as a Manhattan, frequently use blends such as Seagrams 7 or Calvert and dont know or dont care that this is not bourbon. The only Rye I have ever seen in a Ohio bar is Old Overholt. In short, I drink bourbon at home where I get what I want the way I want it. Generally a well bourbon will cost $4m/l and say a Wild Turkey about $5. When I drink in bars it is usually good draft beer. I really wish we had more selection - I have been to the Galt House in Louisville,Ky where they have 125 bourbons and it was alot of fun. In a perfect world every bar would have Buffalo Trace.

07-18-2003, 11:06
I don't go to a lot of bars, and rarely the most expensive ones. I would say I usually pay between $4 and $7 for a call bourbon, depending on the place and the bourbon. I never drink well bourbon. The selection usually isn't great. As this is Jim Beam's hometown, the Small Batch Collection is usually represented. I typically have Baker's or Knob Creek. Jim Beam Black shows up surprisingly often around here and I may have that. Otherwise it's Wild Turkey 101, Maker's Mark or Old Grand-Dad. In a pinch, I will drink Jack or Jim, but if it comes to that I'll probably start checking out the beers on offer, or have a Jameson's or Johnnie Walker Black.

07-18-2003, 11:25
I would wager that most of the folks know what I drink when at a bar...Well, the fact is I don't go that often...When I do...it's usually business..

The only time that I go to a bar to have a good time is after the Heaven Hill Christmas party...We "try" ta drink the distillery dry...Then, we stager over to The Holiday Inn Bar and Lounge...(now Day's Inn) and drink them dry...I don't havta buy anything...There is usually one sittin in front of me by the time I finish the one in my hand...compliments of "friends"...To be honest...I don't have a clue on what they cost...or what kind of drinks they were...Mind you, I only do this once a year...Cause I end up donin this http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/puke.gif

Yep, ya otta go to a Heaven Hill Christmas Party...ain't nothin like it http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

07-18-2003, 11:50
Another factor is quantity. Canadian shots range from a paltry one ounce to one and a half, with the mid-range (one and a quarter) being the usual pour. That is fairly small to taste anything properly, hence the need to order doubles, which can put up the price too much. My sense is that U.S. bars almost alway give a better pour than in Canada. So that enters into the value equation too. I'm with Chuck, it is hard to drink in bars to have the best bourbon experiences. Even when the price and selection are okay (rare enough), the glassware isn't right, or a drink ordered neat is served straight-up (ie. with ice), or the bar staff, or other customers, are distracting, or (what gets me) the music is too loud. Recently I was trying to enjoy a microbrewed pint - in the homey brewpub it was made in - and had to change seats because the nearby speaker was blasting (bad) music in my face.

On the issue of lack of knowledge of whiskey in bars, this is widespread. This reflects ultimately the guarded attitude to liquor that the onset and long duration of Prohibition engendered. In many ways, we still live in its shadow.. Sam Cecil has made the point that only recently will many Kentucky families admit their ancestors were involved in the whiskey business, which kind of says it all..

It is very important that proper attitudes towards liquor consumption be encouraged. We all know that too much whiskey can hurt people and hurt families and that's bad. Also, whiskey is not for everyone. Some people cannot handle it and should avoid hard drink and (sometimes) any alcohol. If alcohol education had developed on scientific, rational grounds instead of reflecting the Carrie Nation-type moralising and hectoring, current attitudes to the industry and its products would be more positive. Thus, although the industry (and society) have made great strides in recovering from the damage caused by Prohibition and the mentality that prompted it, and alcohol education today is handled by professionals such as doctors and social workers, bars are still (by and large) darkened corners. In line with the old mistrust of the liquor business, many bar owners and staff adopt a less-than-enthusistic approach (with welcome exceptions) to their trade and its stock. This is my humble opinion, anyway.

Still, as I say, positive changes have occurred since 1933; this must amaze long-time participants in the industry. At the upcoming KBF I would like to ask, say, Sam Cecil, or Jimmy Russell, or Elmer Lee: "Would you ever have imagined 50 or even 25 years ago that one day people from Canada, Japan and all over the U.S. would come up to you at public events and express admiration for your work in developing fine bourbon?".


07-18-2003, 16:39
Chuck, what do you think of the 86 proof Old Grand Dad? It is on sale here, this month, $4 off normal price, final is $10.49, I think. If it is decent, I might buy a couple of bottles at that price.


07-19-2003, 06:42
Unless I'm at one of the few good local bars with top shelf Bourbon or Irish whiskey available, I drink beer. I usually call for dry stout from Boulevard (http://www.blvdbeer.com/index.html)our local microbrewery, or another dry stout such as Guiness, Beamish, etc...dry stouts have a few more carbs/calories but lots more taste than "light" beers. But dry stouts are far lower in carbohydrates than other "real ales". This is because a dry stout on tap uses a nitrogen delivery system on the tap. The nitrogen gives the beer plenty of mouthfeel without adding carbs. If I'm having 2 or 3 brews, the carb savings can add up quickly. Since I'm stuck on a low-carb way of living until I cure some insulin problems, I stick with a couple of 5 carb dry stouts instead of tasty but malty choices like Czechvar or Rogue Dead Guy Ale.

This changes if I travel for pleasure. In New Orleans, it's Sazeracs & Ramos Gin Fizzes. In New Mexico, it's Chimayo cocktails, a margarita or Negro Modelo. In Portland I go with their fabulous local beer, and order a local Clear Creek Kirschvasser for dessert.

07-19-2003, 17:17
Old Grand-Dad, whether the 86, 100 or 114, is worth having because it is an unusual bourbon recipe, very high in rye and consequently lower in corn. The mash bill, which I received from Booker Noe's own lips, is 63 percent corn, 27 percent rye and 10 percent malt. Jim Beam, in contrast, is about 76 percent corn and just 13 percent rye.

07-19-2003, 17:22
The "official" bar shot is 1.25 oz. and many "corporate" bars hold to that, often by using automatic measuring devices. In Great Britain, the automatic measuring device is required by law. It makes sure you don't get shorted, but also makes sure you don't get a healthy pour.

The U.S. is still the land of the free pour, where people notice and value a bartender's generosity. I also heartily endorse the tradition that the bartender comps every third or fourth drink. May it always be so.

07-19-2003, 19:09
Thanks, Chuck. I have a bottle of the 114 and I really like it. However, it is not available in my state, so when it is gone, I will be out until I venture out of state again.

So, I think I will buy a bottle or two of the 86-proof at $10.49, while it is on sale.


07-19-2003, 22:28
I have found that the bars associated with top restaurants are quite likely to have some decent bourbons and sometimes a decent selection. I like this opportunity to try bourbons I haven't had yet http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif or drink something I know I like but don't have at home (Knob Creek) because it is so available. Unlike many on the list, I almost never drink whisky that hasn't been distilled an aged (beer). http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

07-20-2003, 00:55
Since I play in a band that plays out a lot, I spend a fair amount of time in bars in the Bay Area. Most places have Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, Wild Turkey 101, and maybe a well bourbon or two. Most places have Maker's Mark, which seems to be the "hip" high-end bourbon among the young yuppie/hipster crowd. Usually if a place has another top shelf bourbon, it will be Knob Creek, Basil Hayden, or Bookers. Generally these run $5-8 a shot depending on the bar, and depending whether the bartender knows and likes you (fortunately for me the band usually drinks for free, but when I'm playing I have to stick to beer or the music rapidly goes downhill). Most bars seem to have Old Overholt, but almost never any other ryes (although one place we play has Sazerac Rye, which causes me to break my "beer only" rule). The best bourbon-stocked bar I know of in the Bay Area is at the Village Pub in Woodside. Last time I was there they had Pappy, Hirsch 16 yo, and Stagg, among others. Can't beat that combo!

07-20-2003, 19:03
I cover the west coast is a sales role and frequently imbibe at bars. One of the best bars/restaurants is a chain called Stanfords. I don't think they are national, mostly on west coast. Their "top shelf" includes Bookers, Bakers, Basil Hayden, Old Grand-Dad, Wild Turkey 101, and Wild Turkey Rare Breed, which is not a bad selection. I just returned home from Stanfords; $7.75 for Bakers and $8.50 for Bookers. Both were free pours, no shot glass and were very liberal shots, probably 2 oz. Matter of fact, if I mistype you know why :.) This is typically of this chain. Also, from 3-6 and then from 9-12PM, at their bar they have discounted appetizers/meals that more than make up for higher drink prices.

07-22-2003, 09:03
There are also 1.0 and 1.5 measures for bottle tops used by bars. One bar owner I know uses 1.25 in her college bar and 1.5 in her bar frequented by more locals.

Another issue is that if you pay for a bourbon it may be a "double shot" for the price. My son drinks Woodford Reserve in Nashville, TN, pays from $5 to $8 but I've seen the pours he gets and we're talking 2 - 3 ounces.

07-22-2003, 14:54
I usually drink beer at bars. First, I like beer, too. Second, if I order a pitcher it gives me a lot more to drink for a lot less than a bourbon.

However, when I order bourbon it clearly depends on what the bar has... and the price.

Around here the Beam Small Batch plus Makers plus Wild Turkey are the normal "top shelf" selections. I am most likely to order Turkey 101 (don't usually keep it at home) or Knob Creek (nearly always DO have it at home) as it will be priced under the other small batch.

Sometimes I get an Old Grand Dad just because it is cheaper and not bad.

I saw Rock Hill (one of my favorites) in Nashville last week at $16 a pour. I drank beer!

07-22-2003, 16:12
I saw Rock Hill (one of my favorites) in Nashville last week at $16 a pour. I drank beer!

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/mad.gifNow that's crazy. I can get a RHF at Nicholson's for $6. Hell I can get Pappy 23yo for less than $16.

07-22-2003, 20:08
I had a restaurant give me 1 1/2 shots when I ordered a bourbon neat. I learned this when I saw the bill and saw a $10.50 charge instead of $7.00. I questioned the bill and the informed me of this practice. Unfortunately, it was my first and only taste of Basil Hayden.

07-22-2003, 20:09
Is the Pope Catholic?

Does a bear sh*t in the woods?

The heck with beer. I always order bourbon as long as I don't have to drink MM, JB white, or JD, which is extremely rare. Normally WT is available.

07-23-2003, 09:30
I defnitely drink bourbon in bars, especially the pre-dinner cocktail. I generally order the best they have. Its a great conversation starter with business associates and friends. ("Gee, I've never heard of that. Is it any good?") I've gotten more folks out of the well, onto the upper shelves and into bourbon in general. Last night I was asked by a local bartender to try something. He had Peach infused bourbon, made with Knob Creek. Not bad as a chilled cocktail, served up in a martini glass. Half the fun of being a bourbon drinker is being "an ambassador" and spreading the word. Bars are a great place to do that. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

07-23-2003, 20:03
It's amazing the reactions you get from folks when you drink bourbon in front of them. The first group doesn't understand why you sip it slowly for pleasure - they only understand shots of cheap bourbon and getting drunk quickly. The second group doesn't understand why you drink it neat - they only think of Jack and Coke as a social drink. The third group is those who pepcycle defined - they are intrigued by what you selected and want to learn more, even if they don't order with you.