Before I start, let me apologise in advance for the length of this post/rant, as this is something that’s been irking me for a few days.
One thing i’ve come to learn since starting Small Barfly, is that people visit small bars for a multitude of reasons – good service, intimate atmosphere, quality beverages, friendly bar staff, witty banter – all of which can be summed up in a single word – experience.
Balancing all of these elements, can be a challenging exercise, even for the most experienced operators. If one (or more) is out of whack, it can sour someone’s night, which brings me to my point, of a not-so-positive experience I recently had.
Let me start by saying that I have no intention of naming-and-shaming the small bar in question. I simply seek to offer some constructive feedback, that will hopefully result in a positive outcome (even if that be me getting this off my chest).
I recently visited a new small bar, around which there’d been a fair amount of pre-launch hype. I actually had really been looking forward to this bar opening, since I first read their public impact statement (PIS) when they applied for a liquor licence (6 x months ago).
Those of you who know me, know that i’m a tad partial to quality craft beer. With one of my (personal) small bar rating criteria being, the variety of craft beer on offer. So it made sense, that on this occasion I partake in a quality craft ale – at the recommendation of the barman, I decided upon a local (NSW) selection, and this is where things started to head south.
On the one hand, you could say fool on me for blindly accepting the bar staff’s recommendation without actually sussing out the drinks menu beforehand, but I’m a trusting kind of guy, and like to think that the staff aren’t out to intentionally stiff the patrons…I mean how expensive could a local (NSW) craft beer really be? $10…$12…hell maybe even $15…try $18 !!!
The beer in question wasn’t an imported Belgian Trappist ale, it wasn’t a 2 litre growler, it wasn’t high ABV, or even a special limited edition/small batch, it was just a regular, local, craft beer longneck – which was expertly poured into a vintage crystal tumbler.
To add insult to injury, after paying for my $18 beer with a $20 note, the $2 change, which was presented on a polished silver plater, was yoinked away by the bartender, before I had put my glass down after taking my first sip – thus bringing the grand total of my 1 x longneck of local craft beer to $20!!
Now i’m definitely not a tight arse, and have no objection to paying a premium price, for a premium product. I also totally get, that operators often tread a fine line managing the dark-art of product profit margins. That said, when the wholesale price of a product is between $6.00-$7.00, retailing it for $18 is just plain taking the piss!