Here in New York City, there are certain bars — most of them in hotels and most of them frequented by people who read in Us Weekly that celebrities party there — that are not only charging absolutely ridiculous amounts of cash for basic cocktails, but are automatically adding hefty tips onto the tab.
The NY Post cites examples, like the Gansevoort Hotel, where customers are greeted with a compulsory 20% tip on all beer, wine and cocktails ordered at the bar.
Then there’s the Tribeca Grand Hotel, the Standard Hotel and the Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel, all of which tack on an automatic 18% gratuity, regardless of the quality of the service.
One “nightlife impresario” tells the Post it’s all the fault of European tourists:
New York City is now a tourist-based economy… The French and the Italians and the Spanish don’t tip, so it’s becoming a necessity at any place that’s dealing with a Euro crowd and wants to maintain its staff.
But there is good news. Aside from the fact that there are plenty of bars and clubs in NYC that are not gouging customers with exorbitant “mandatory” tips, one attorney tells the Post that there’s no legal standing for a bar to charge a mandatory tip:
Case law said a gratuity is within the discretion of the customers… The discretion to refuse payment is an essential element of a tip or gratuity.
So if you’re out and about in the Big Apple and someone tries to hit you for a compulsory gratuity that you feel is just too darned high, you have the right to refuse to pay it.
Drinks come with 18% twist [NY Post]