Perhaps a one-off, or perhaps an overcharging strategy in Central London

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  capetonianm 13 Jun 2019
at 20:11

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  • MartynSinclair

    This thread will have no interest to those people who pay bar bills without checking contents and totals. It may surprise some people though, who thought they did check their drinks bills.

    I went out for drinks recently to a traditional English, Royal Warranted establishment, with a client for pre lunch drinks. It was 12.30pm. My guest ordered a champagne cocktail and I ordered a Gin and Tonic but only a single shot of Gin, in part because I was driving.

    The barman replied, “that’s no problem sir, but I have to charge you for a double, I cannot override my till”.

    I looked bemused, but because I was with a client & because of where I was, I felt unable to question further. As a suggestion, I said, “OK, but please bring me 2 tonics so at least I can dilute the Gin a little more”.

    The barman agreed. After we finished, I got the bill and even for central London, I was shocked.
    This was the breakdown of the bill.

    Champagne Cocktail – £12.50
    Hendricks – £9.50
    2 Tonics – £6.00
    Service at 12.5% – £3.50
    Total – £31.50

    I thought it was wrong that any establishment would force a double measure on a customer.

    I emailed my observations to the establishment who investigated the matter and confirmed the barman had acted “outside of his contract”. They agreed I had been overcharged but also raised on their own accord, another concern. Their drinks menu says Gin and Tonic £9.50. The establishment was additionally concerned that I had been charged separately for the tonic. Gin and Tonic means just that, not just the Gin.

    I have since, checked various receipts from other bars and noticed this was not an isolated incident – especially when going for large group lunches or having a boyz night out, when bills may not be checked so carefully.

    At least this establishment recognised the problem and has resolved the issue. As I said at the start, to some this will be of no interest, to others, I hope it acts as a warning.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    I check systematically, either proactively (i.e. I mentally calculate what it should be) or before paying. “Mistakes” happen, not only in Central London.


    Recent visit to well known establishment at the bottom end of Regent Street near Piccadilly Circus.

    Four gin and tonics, £78. And that was not a mistake!!


    Not just in London…..An up-themselves pub in Babbacombe near Torquay (The Carey Arms) poured two small bottles of alcohol-free beer into one glass. He tried to charge me £7.60, equivalent to £11 a pint! I left the untouched glass on the counter and walked out….his protestations followed me out of the door!!


    I don’t mind paying extra for tonic if there are premium tonics to compliment different gins. What I don’t like is when you get charged for a full bottle of tonic and they give you two thirds keeping the remaining third for the next customer. I always ask for the complete bottle of tonic which is often met with a disgruntled look and I either ask for another bottle or another drink if they baulk at this.

    I complained to the head office and said I would be going to trading standards to make a formal complaint and was offered a £100 bar tab which I accepted and enjoyed with a couple of colleagues after work one Friday. The part tonic bottle continued with just as much attitude from the bar staff despite asking for a full bottle at the time of ordering so I did go to trading standards and after a mystery visit a substantial fine was issued.

    4 users thanked author for this post.


    I’m lucky, Iv a very clever partner!

    I used to think he was a bit tight, always questioning bills in restaurants and bars and I use to be mortified. But due to his astuteness the amount of such infringements that have occurred over the last 7 years is outstanding.

    London in particular is full of such bar sharks!


    My wife and some of my friends are embarrassed when I check these things and complain. I have no qualms about speaking out. This is close to my heart as I am a very light drinker and a double G and T (or double of any spirit) is usually more than I want to drink, and it annoys me when this is met with either derision or refusal, and I am not willing to let anyone else dictate to me on this matter. Similarly asking for non/low alcohol beer often elicits a sneer and I’ve walked out of places when this happens.


    What I have come across is where you order a double, they charge you for a double, but only put in a single.


    Definitely not just London , the price variations in Edinburgh could bring a tear to a glass eye !!

    Charging for premium spirits and then receiving bog standard stuff is common, particularly Vodka and Gin when mixed with a dark soft drink.
    Getting pound coins rather than notes in your change should also set off alarm bells.

    Remember going on a bit of a pub crawl and at the end (3 of us left) our posh pal decided that a drink in a one of Edinburgh’s plushest hotels would be a good idea as it was close to the bus stop home. Costly mistake, 3 Bloody Mary’s later and he got very little change out of £60 quid. My turn next and across the road to the less than salubrious Waterloo Bar and the same round came to just less than a tenner.
    Who knew that celery was that expensive !!

    Another memory from Edinburgh was standing /helping my workmate (flat capped working class Lanarkshire lad) being confronted with his bill ……..Aghast he retorted back to the barmaid…….” Don’t quote me historical dates, I just want to know how much my round is ? “

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    What I have come across is where you order a double, they charge you for a double, but only put in a single.

    Yes, a big scam in Dublin too!


    Revealed: London’s costliest five-star hotel extras, from the £23 G&T to the £165 massage

    The most expensive G&T – priced at £23 – was found at 45 Park Lane.
    The Marriott County Hall Hotel has the priciest minibar lager, at £12.
    The most expensive room service club sandwich comes courtesy of The Churchill, where lovers of the chicken, bacon and egg creation will need to stump up £31, including £5 for delivery.

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