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2 drink minimum at cocktail bar


pto
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We were out the other night and decided to try a cocktail bar that my friend was telling me about. Turns out there were two bars in the same building, run by different owners. The first one was a "Japanese" cocktail bar and it was fine, though the spirits selection and cocktail menu were not that special, but the atmosphere was nice and the drinks were made well - if small, prices were standard. We had a drink there and then went to the second bar

 

The second place blew me away. Never have I seen such a selection of spirits in Beijing. Immediately I noticed Falernum, Pimento dram, loads of bitters, rums and bourbons that I hadn't seen here before - I'd guess at leat 500(probably more) bottles of spirits all layered and displayed neatly. There are several craft cocktail bars in town, but I none have this vast of a collection. I was happily anticipating a difficult decision on what to order.

 

So, getting to the point, the bartstaff says something to my friend in Chinese - apparently you need to spend a minimum amount per person (which by the menu prices was around 2 cocktails). I was pretty surprised by this, so I tried talking to the woman. I told her that tonight we were interested in having one cocktail each, as we have already each had one and my friends were both girls who couldn't handle drinking 2 more cocktails. I said that I'm sure on a future visit I would order more.

 

Her response(speaking decent English) was that I could order expensive drinks or I could drink 4 and they could drink 2, or we could just have 3 and pay the extra anyway.

 

I was pretty pissed off. I've never heard of a minimum at a bar without any entertainment and I was even more annoyed by the bar's total lack of flexibility to the situation. I told her they'd not be getting any business from me ever and we went to a different bar.

 

I'm am kind of wondering if I over-reacted or if others have experienced this "minimum" thing?

Edited by pto (log)
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Never heard of that being a thing anywhere. Can't really imagine anywhere where it would be necessary either, unless the bar only had space for a few people and needed to make x amount per head to stay open... But then I guess if that were the case the owners would need to take a serious look at their business.

They might get away with it if they've got the best selection in town. Doesn't make it any less shitty though.

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I've only run into this at places that have entertainment.  When I have not wanted the extra drink I usually end up paying $5 or $6 for a watered down coke.  I would check back in a few months and see if the policy holds

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It's a horrible policy on a few different levels.  There's the economic strategy that others have discussed.  

 

But there's also the legal implication.  As a couple, we have a one-drink maximum rule for the designated driver; it's a matter of safety and public responsibility.   And it's not that we don't enjoy a cocktail and sharing a bottle of wine during an evening out...we do!  In fact, we purposely moved (after retirement) to locales where we can walk to great eateries every night, so that we may indeed imbibe without worries about driving home.  Taxis in our last 2 retirement towns were not an option (too small an area).  

 

We realize this bar is not requiring you to drink both cocktails, but they are requiring you to pay for them, so it's only human nature that most folks will drink both of them.  

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Well, insofar as this is a very fish-out-of-water bar environment in Beijing, perhaps it does qualify as "entertainment" more than many bars would.  A fully stocked cocktail bar with skillful staff is rare there, I'd imagine.  Or is this place one of many?  If there's no competition, then you're sorta at their mercy.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

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A very strange arrangement, and nothing I've ever encountered. Agree with Gulfporter, a mandated cocktail purchase means mandated drinking for most people, and that has serious implications for drunk driving, fights, etc. Unless patrons start a trend of bringing home doggie bags from the bar? Unlikely.

 

I'm guessing China doesn't have laws against serving liquors to intoxicated people, and the bartenders' liability if they do. This sounds like an untenable situation in so many ways, not something I would expect to last.

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Without prices vs. "coolness" or demand, what does this mean?  Maybe two drinks isn't so bad, pricewise.  It may not be what you want, but that is the price of entry.  There is often a price of entry.  Have a drink chez Hemingway at the Ritz, and the price is truly frightening.  Will never do that again.  But I'm not complaining.  I did what I had to do.  Maybe with all those drinks and combos, they are a mixology bar and can make something you really want but never had before?  Or just leave, if their terms don't suit.  Who cares?  Don't supply if you don't demand.  Leave and enjoy yourself elsewhere!

 

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I've known bars to have a minimum spend per head. Also bars that ask for their tables back a certain amount of time after the last drink is consumed.

As long as this is detailed to you in advance, they are only following their protocol, which is mostly the choice of the management or owner. I hate to play Devil's advocate, but if they tell you this in advance and you don't like it, put up or go somewhere else.

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Well, insofar as this is a very fish-out-of-water bar environment in Beijing, perhaps it does qualify as "entertainment" more than many bars would.  A fully stocked cocktail bar with skillful staff is rare there, I'd imagine.  Or is this place one of many?  If there's no competition, then you're sorta at their mercy.

There aren't very many, compared to say a big city in the states, but there are at least 6 very good to excellent cocktail bars here. This one just happens to have the biggest selection of booze of them all. So, yes, part of me agrees that that "is" the entertainment.

 

 

 

I'm guessing China doesn't have laws against serving liquors to intoxicated people, and the bartenders' liability if they do. This sounds like an untenable situation in so many ways, not something I would expect to last.

Hehe, I'm sure they don't. They do, however, have very strict drunk driving laws.

 

Without prices vs. "coolness" or demand, what does this mean?  Maybe two drinks isn't so bad, pricewise. 

 

  Leave and enjoy yourself elsewhere!

Pricewise it isn't that bad. The drinks were reasonable priced. Just wished they could've been more flexible to the situation.

 

Agree.

 

As long as this is detailed to you in advance, they are only following their protocol, which is mostly the choice of the management or owner. I hate to play Devil's advocate, but if they tell you this in advance and you don't like it, put up or go somewhere else.

They did and you are absolutely right.

 

We did go somewhere else, and the funny thing is we spent almost as much, but we weren't "pushed" into it.

 

 

 

It's a horrible policy on a few different levels.

They might get away with it if they've got the best selection in town. Doesn't make it any less shitty though.

Still, this sums up my personal opinion of their policy.

 

Anyway, I was just annoyed and felt like ranting I guess,  thanks for the feedback and opinions!

Edited by pto (log)
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