Belmont Lounge Scrounges for Tips

Tommy and his friends went out to the Belmont Lounge in NYC last night. The establishment tacked on a 20% gratuity, out of policy, making the bill $174. When they left, they only paid $170, to make a point. The manager and bouncer and waitress called them back from the street afterwards to get them to cough up the extra dough. Tommy ain’t so sunshine about the whole affair.

    “Dear Consumerist,

    Earlier tonight, two friends and I went to the Belmont Lounge (New York, 15th between Irving and Park) for dinner and drinks. When we received the bill and there was a 20% gratuity, which, we were told after inquiring, was the policy for checks north of $100 (not on the menu). I assumed gratuity was always discretionary. Even when it’s a party of six or more (their only stated gratuity policy), I’ve heard of people crossing out the printed amount to adjust for the quality of service. Isn’t that the point of a tip and a service-driven business?

    We discussed it at length at the table, becoming increasingly pissed. The waitress noticed (otherwise, she was totally indifferent) and TIPPED OFF THE BOUNCER. As we left, the bouncer held us at the door and asked if we settled the bill. We said we had and walked out. Once on the street, the waitress, manager and bouncer called us back to tell us that we were short on the bill. The bill plus their 20% was $174. We left $170. To us, we thought we would get our point across, but not really short the waitress. If the policy is management’s, then it’s not her fault. But to be held at the door and be CHASED DOWN by three people for four effing bucks?!

    What’s does the law and prevailing wisdom say about this? I have held back on the egregious, albeit subjective, examples of poor service.”

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