So you want a glass of whiskey, but you don't want ice. It shouldn't cost you more, should it?
Bloomberg Businessweek's Devin Leonard shared a cautionary tale about a "nefarious" up-charge that was thrust upon him when he ordered a whiskey, neat.
He went to a reputable burger joint, BLT Burger, in Manhattan's Greenwich Village and asked for "a Woodford, straight up." He clarified a second time that he didn't want any ice.
After downing the drink and eating the meal, it happened.
The drink was $13, which isn't totally outrageous in Manhattan.
But tacked on to it was a $2 charge for "neat."
Whaaaat? A travesty!
Leonard described what happened next:
I asked my waitress to clarify. She summoned the manager, a friendly young guy. He told me with a smile that I got extra Woodford without ice. He said this explained the extra charge. What’s more, he told me that this was common practice in the city.
“Well, this is the first time I’ve ever seen it,” I responded, adding that my bourbon wasn’t exactly jumbo-sized.
“Oh, no, sir,” he assured me. “Everybody does it.” They offered me another one free, just to make up.
But is a lack-of-ice charge really a common practice?
Leonard had never seen it happen before, so he called up the folks at the Bartender Boot Camp. Jordan Goldman, the manager, asked a pair of his instructors.
“One of them said he’d never heard of the practice,” Goldman told him. “The other one said the only time she’d done it was when she worked in a restaurant in a catering hall. They would charge two dollars. She got complaints all the time.”
I've never seen it either so I insta-polled the Business Insider newsroom. Most people said they hadn't seen it, but a few confirmed the up-charge's existence in other establishments.
Business Insider military and defense editor Robert Johnson noted that he had worked in many places where a whiskey without ice is more. Strategy reporter Max Nisen said that he'd stumbled upon the charge too, prompting him to exit the bar immediately thereafter.
Video producer Robert Libetti, a former bartender, shared his experiences with up-charges as well.
"I can say I've seen and used the up-charge," he said. "But if I remember correctly it was never used when serving something neat. It was only done when making a cocktail 'up,' like a martini or Manhattan for example."
One thing's for sure — people don't like being up-charged like that. Make sure you're on the lookout for it, just in case.
Have you run into an extra charge for whiskey, neat? Where? Let us know in the comments.
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