Five Ways Bars Get You To Part With Extra Money


Going out to party can be expensive. We all know this. Not only are drinks more expensive to purchase at a bar or club then they would be to buy at the liquor store and drink at home, but drinking establishments seem to find ways to make you part with extra money all the time.

Is it greediness or just pure capitalism at its finest? Either way it sucks to be on the receiving end of price gouging. So if you are going to go out to party, and lets face it, sitting at home drinking can only be so much fun, then beware of these five ways that bars get you to part with extra money:

Cover Charge

Oh cover charge. Not only are drink prices marked up exponentially, but also the fine drinking establishment owners want to further gouge you before you even enter the bar. I guess the cover charge is their way to prepare you for the expensive night ahead. If you are like me and don’t like to pay cover charge, check out tips #2 and #3 of our Miser’s Guide To Clubbing.

Coat Check

After shelling out $5 to $10+ already you are now in the bar, but before you can even think about getting a drink you have to pass the next gatekeeper. Yes, I’m talking about the coat check girl. Many bars, and especially clubs, have a mandatory coat check rule, and even though you have already paid cover, some clubs want a little more money before they let you buy a drink. Is it fair? I don’t think so. That’s why you will see the #4 tip on the Miser’s Guide To Clubbing is to leave your coat at home.

Oh, and don’t forget to tip the coat check girl, especially if she has a funny tip jar, otherwise she may accidentally misplace your coat…

Any time you are required to check your coat you will receive a coat check stub. These things are super easy to lose, especially after a few rounds. Most coat check policy states that if you misplace your ticket you will have to wait until the end of the night to retrieve your coat. In order to avoid this situation use your cell phone and take a picture of your stub, that way if you lose it you have a backup.

ABM Machines

Anytime a bar or club has one of those non-banking institution affiliated ABM machines you know you are going to be in for a real price gouging. As the image above shows, the owners of these terminals are pretty much allowed to charge whatever they like. I’ve seen some as high as $15! The worst part about these machines is that many times the owner of the club also owns the machine. Gouged again and you still haven’t gotten your drink. Check out tip #6 at the Miser’s Guide To Clubbing for some ideas on how to save money.

Bottle Service

By no means a mandatory charge, but bottle service is another way a bar will try to get you to part with extra money. Since everyone wants to be a VIP many clubs now cater to your narcissistic desires. For $140+ (and that’s on the cheap side of things) they will provide you with a bottle of vodka, some mix and a private section of the club so you can feel extra VIP. Oh, you’ll also have to pour the drinks yourself, so you are kind of paying out of your own pocket to work at the club. Again, it is not a mandatory charge, but for the same cost, if not lower, you can simply order your drinks at the bar like everyone else and best of all, have a professional make them for you.

The Upsell

Oh no, not the dreaded upsell. From the simple Do you want fries with that? to extended warranties on your gadgets, lets face it, no matter where you go, you are constantly being offered the upsell. Bars and clubs are no different: “Do you want the 16-oz or the 20-oz draft?”, “Vodka Martini? Do you want Grey Goose?”, etc. Now that you have finally paid your way into the bar and are ready to order a drink, don’t be afraid to ask for a price list. This will help you avoid the dreaded upsell and make a more informed decision on what to order.

Corey Rozon profile imageAbout the Author
Corey Rozon is a freelance writer from Ottawa, Canada.

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