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Restaurant Menus - Why no drink prices?

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    Anne Evans
    Anne Evans

    pez asks the following:

    Question for the restaurant/bar experts…

    As I travel both in and out of Columbus quite a bit, I often wonder why so many restaurants do not list drink prices in their menus. I realize there may be some variation due to happy hour pricing, etc, but appetizers are generally included in HH and they have prices on the menu. I also realize there are pricing differences in tiers of alcohol, but when the menu says “Miller Lite” or “Absolut Cosmopolitan”, there’s not much variation. Why do so many places not list a price?

    p.s. I know I can ask, but it’s kind of tacky.



    Seems like a way to intimidate people into paying more than they intend to in my opinion.


    I friggin HATE that. It’s usually bc the place charges as much for a Bud as it does for an appetizer. The psychology being that if you don’t see the price you will order one. I find it incredibly annoying- I mean have you ever seen a wine list without prices?? It is total BS!



    Thanks for reposting it for me Anne…

    I travel a lot for work and occasionally entertain people here in Columbus. Although I’ll usually expense dinner drinks, I can’t bring myself to making the company pay for pre- and post-dinner beers and cocktails, so I do out of pocket for the group (and no, I’m not rich). I’m getting to the point where I’ve been burned to the point of limiting trips to places where I know the cost going in the door or I get water or a soft drink if traveling alone.



    The psychology being that if you don’t see the price you will order one.

    For me if I don’t know how much it’s going to be it makes me not want to order. I agree that it sucks I don’t want to get stuck paying twenty bucks for a drink by surprise.


    you beat me to it! i was going to post this very question myself. being on a tight budget is tough, but having to ask about a drink price in front of guests (or a date) is downright embarrassing! any restauranteurs or servers want to weigh in?



    As long as I avoid the Easton area, most of the bars I’ve been too have been pretty consistent price wise on drinks that I can keep good tabs on it.

    $1-3 for domestic beers, $2-5 for the imports. Drinks tend to be anything from $1 or 2 for cheap well to $4-7 for the liquor I usually drink.

    It would be nice to have the price listed though, as a general guide. Something one could discreetly scan and budget accordingly.



    I hate this, too. I was completely taken by surprise the one and only time I went to eleven and discovered my martini was $13. A very similar cocktail is on Hyde Park’s happy hour martini list for $4. (and we were at eleven during happy hour).

    I think it’s funny that so many restaurant critics whine about wine markups, when it’s really liquor that has an insane markup. eleven is paying for their liquor after the SECOND drink (there are roughly 13 martinis in a fifth). They pay $28 for a bottle of Bombay Sapphire and get $364 out of it (assuming every cocktail is a martini).



    oh, and beer as well. I think a bud light is going for about 60 cents a bottle wholesale right now, so when I am charged $5 for a bud light, I’m scandalized.



    I once ordered a margarita at Fado and it was 11 dollars. Ridiculous. I mean, if it matters to you how much something costs, then you should ask, but I think you have a reasonable expectation that a liquor drink that’s not a martini will be 5-7 dollars.

    I think part of the reason it’s not on menus, especially for chains, is that different locations charge different prices. Also drink prices may change more quickly than the food prices, so they don’t want to have to update it.


    I was discussing it with a regular tonight. He works at a restaurant at Easton& agrees that the whole point is to keep people who are too embarassed(especially if they are on a date) to ask in the dark. Plus, most of these places overcharge and it ends up costing you an arm& a leg for 2 rounds of drinks. This is of course one of the gazillion reasons I rarely drink at such places. It’s an insulting, frustrating& downright poopy practice.

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