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  1. #11
    Guru
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    Sep 2001
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    Pelham, AL
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    3,894

    Angry

    My worst experience (to date) was in a hotel bar. They had absolutely no acceptable bourbon choice, so I settled on a Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks. It was a measured pour of, I am guessing, 1.25 oz.

    The tab? $10. And then I had to tip him.

    Also, this was about 4-5 years ago, so who knows what inflation has done since then?

    Tim
    Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur

  2. #12
    Mr. Anal Retentive Bourbon Drinker
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Houston, TX
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    1,822
    Let's say there are 15 drinks (1.5oz) in a bottle and the bottle cost $30. You have inventory cost, labor, rent, etc at a restaurant/bar. I have found typically cost in this scenario to be $8 a pour or a 400% markup. Even if they pour a generous drink at 2 oz, it is 320% markup.

    This is why I drink good bourbon at home!

  3. #13
    Guru
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Moscow Mills, MO
    Posts
    2,507
    Oh Boy! A chance to use that Hotel Restaurant Degree I earned 16 years ago! Oops, CRS syndrome has set in. So I'll not try to do any math that might be wrong. But remember that drinks in a restaurant bar are usually ordered for one of three reasons: to prepare you for the meal, to drink with the meal and to enjoy after a meal. For the most part, food is a relatively low markup item when you figure that the bulk of your operating costs are coming from it because it requires more manpower hours to prep, cook and serve. Drinks and desserts are where you make your money and are pretty much the gravy of your income. They are luxury items and the price markups are enormous. They have to be to keep the food prices down.

    An example of this is a local establishment in Alton Illinois called Fast Eddie's Bon-Air. Limited but good tasting menu but you have to buy drinks before you can eat. The place is almost always packed. Prices of food? Try a half pound burger for 99 cents. Jumbo shrimp for 29 cents each. Beef tenderloin kabobs (Big Elwood on a Stick) for a buck 99. Homemade Bratwurst for 99 cents. Cajun style chicken kabobs (Hot Chick on a Stick) tops it off at 2.99 each. A big basket of fries is 99 cents. The prices haven't changed since they were introduced 19 years ago. But then two draft beers (1 Killian's Red, 1 Blue Moon) and a rum and coke for my party of three thursday? About 10 bucks. That's where they make their money. I'd dare say they may even lose money on the food. And the Bon Air has been in business since 1921.

    One other thing as well, you have to look at your target market. Hotel bars are expensive because most travelers are business travelers during the week with expense accounts that allow for the prices. Tourists normally dominate on weekends and what is two days of slow sales at high prices compared to five days of booming sales? You have to discount the room prices for tourists to get them to stay and keep your occupancy level at an acceptable rate so you're barely breaking even after paying front desk/housekeeping/maintenance staffs. So the prices on your big money makers has to remain high to make up a little even with the lowered volume.
    Dane
    I don't drink to excess. But I'll drink to most anything else.

  4. #14
    Taster
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    88
    There are deals out there if you know your spirits and prices. A year ago when I was drinking out more often, I would often pay $9.75/pour for Macallan 18 at a local bar/lounge, and this place was no dive either. Even after I began seeing prices for this bottle creep up 120...130...140, the price stayed at $9.75. I need to go back and see if the price is still good

    I tried Van Winkle 15 there for $6.75 and the 20 for $9.75. I thought that was pretty reasonable considering their overhead.

    Sometimes I'll see places pouring Laphroaig CS in place of the regular 10-year, and charging only $7 or $8 for a pour. Not bad.

    However, there are MANY more examples of exorbitant pricing.

  5. #15
    Disciple
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Arlington, VA
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    1,886
    Last summer, when I was an overpaid summer associate, I paid $15 for a drink of 1792 Ridgemont Reserve at the bar at The Palm in DC. I hadn't tasted any 1792 yet, and also didn't realize the price would be that high. Received terrible service, and really disliked the bourbon. My companion ordered a regular Wild Turkey (I think it was $8) and we both agreed she had the better bourbon by a longshot. The going price for 1792 in DC then was about $30/bottle, and I would've picked one up if I hadn't so strongly disliked my taste at The Palm. So I'm still trying to figure out if I wasted $15 or saved $15. If I'd paid $30, at least I would have had that nice bottle...
    Last edited by Sijan; 06-26-2006 at 23:03.
    -Dan

    Who stole the cork from my breakfast?

  6. #16
    Disciple
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    Aug 2004
    Location
    Arlington, VA
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    1,886
    Also, if you want to see some high prices, check out the bar 'Bourbon' in DC.

    Here's a link to their drink menu: http://www.bourbondc.com/bourbon-drinks.pdf. I think it's a bit out-of-date, and there are clearly some errors on the menu, but still...

    They are also wildly out of synch with what you would think. $75 for a drink of ER17 seems a bit much, no? But at this same bar, ORVW15/107 is only $9???
    -Dan

    Who stole the cork from my breakfast?

  7. #17
    Bourbonian of the Year 2007
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    NYC, Louisville, Shenzhen
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    1,602
    Quote Originally Posted by Sijan
    Also, if you want to see some high prices, check out the bar 'Bourbon' in DC.
    And for the other end of the spectrum, try the "Gun Club" in Beloit, Wisconsin, where a four finger pour (yes, four fingers) of WT 101 will set you back . . . ready? . . . $4 bucks.
    ____ ____
    Barrel_Proof

  8. #18
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    681
    I rarely order the "premium" bourbons from a bar/restaurant. I'll stick with Makers or Wild Turkey.

    First of all, they never know how to pour them. I don't know how many times I've ordered a bourbon and it's come in a shot glass! I get weird looks when I ask for it in a tumbler.

    Then, even if I know the restaurant has a decent bourbon that is within dollar range, I know I will spend 5 minutes explaining to the waiter(tress) what bourbon (Pappy what? what is that??) I want and how I want it poured. Then I will sit there questioning if they actually took the time to explain to the bartender what I wanted, or they just told him "bourbon" and I end up with Beam Black or something.

    It really takes some of the excitement out of it, because it's generally such a chore to order.

    Rarely I have been to a restaurant where the staff actually knows what the hell the bourbon is and how to present it. It's a lost art, I suppose.

    Or it could be that bourbon is not that big out here in CA. They are much more interested in Wine or expensive champagne than some bourbon.

    Sitting at a good bar is a lot easier, b/c if the barkeep doesn't know what I'm talking about I can simply point and say "That one with the guy smoking a cigar on the label!" Then he will tell me how no one ever orders that.

    Greg
    "That rug really tied the room together" -- Jeffery Lebowski

  9. #19
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Chicago SW 'burbs
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    1,178
    Quote Originally Posted by Barrel_Proof
    And for the other end of the spectrum, try the "Gun Club" in Beloit, Wisconsin, where a four finger pour (yes, four fingers) of WT 101 will set you back . . . ready? . . . $4 bucks.
    *makes note for future Wisconsin trip*

    That really puts those overpriced, underperforming Maker's Mark Manhattans I had this spring into perspective, though. If I ever bother ordering a Manhattan at a bar again, I'm going to have to be quite specific about how I want it done - and it's going to involve WT 101.
    Oh no! You have walked into the slavering fangs of a lurking grue!

  10. #20
    Taster
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    69
    Worst I have ever paid... $10 for Maker's Mark. They charged extra for not putting ice in the glass, but I did get a strong pour. (Incidentaly trhe best I ever paid was also for MM, $1.50 for a double... god bless senior bar night )

    Worst I have ever seen was in Kentucky, Someone else picked up the tab for the Saz 18 I had (~$10/full glass), while some people I was with paid $60 for Herradura Selecion Suprema.

 

 

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