Alex and his friend went to Tony Roma’s, a casual dining place known for its ribs, and got a little twinge in their torso when they realized that the “16 ounce” beer they were served came in a 14 ounce glass. The glass was just as tall as a normal glass, but it had a thicker bottom, making it hold less. These glasses are known as “falsies.” The friends might not have noticed the difference except that Alex’s buddy got his beer served in a normal glass and Alex got the thick-bottomed one. They conducted experiments involving pouring water between the different glasses and concluded that yes, Alex got 2 ounces less. When they complained, the manager said, “who said we served pints?” and said it was policy to only serve beer in 14 ounce glasses, and soda in 16 ounce glasses. Which might have been ok, except when the waiter first took their order, he specifically asked whether they would like 16 ounces or 23 ounces. 16 is not 14. Alex’s letter, inside…
My friend and I went to Tony Roma’s in San Francisco Friday 6/13. We decided to go there to get dinner and a couple of beers. I read your site frequently and had already seen the post about restaurants using glass that hold 14 ounce instead of a 16 ounce pint. I also forwarded the article to my friend who came with me that day.
The waiter comes to our table and asks us if we would like drinks. My Friend orders a Spaten and I order an Anchor Steam and the waiter asks us if we would like a 16 oz or 23 oz glass. We both opted for the 16 oz glass. Once they arrived I noticed that my glass had a thicker bottom on it than my friends. We immediately realized I had been given the smaller sized glass. My Friend was like you should complain and I told him I would not until we got our food because I did not want them to spit in it. We finished our first beers and my friend orders another one to make sure it is not just a mistake. He ordered another Anchor Steam and the glass that it came in was the same size as the one that I had drank.
After we finished our food we got a couple glasses of water. We poured water into the glass we thought was actually a pint, filling it to the top. Then we poured the water in that glass into the ones we thought were smaller. We figured if both glass held the same amount of water then we were wrong and would not complain. After pouring the water into the smaller glass we found that about 2 oz of water was left in the bigger glass.
At this point my friend went up the manager at the front of the restaurant to complain about the beer. He lets the lady know that we ordered pints but that the beer was served in 14 ounce glasses instead of 16 ounce ones. To which the manager asked how he knew that there were 16 ounces in a pint. My friend told her he had been drinking beer long enough to know what is in a pint. She then told him that beer is served in 14 ounce glasses and they only served soda in the 16 ounce glasses. He told then asked why they served him a 16 ounce glass and me a 14 ounce one. She then asked him who said they served pints?
At this point my friend came back to the table so we could pay our bill and leave. He did not tell me what had happened until after we left the place or I would have pointed out that our waiter in fact asked us if we wanted 16 oz or 23 oz.
We understand that they may not serve full pints and maybe the waiter was mistaken in asking us if we wanted 16 or 23 oz, but I really couldn’t picture the wait staff asking customer if they wanted 14 or 23 oz. Not to mention the price for the beer is what you would expect to pay for a pint at the bar across the walkway from Tony Roma’s. I have emailed their corporate site to see if they respond, I am not expecting much. We would have hoped they would at most take a little off the bill like a dollar or at the very least apologize, but no such luck.
I have no intention of going to Tony Roma’s again and if by chance I do I will be sure to order a soda since I get a full 16 oz and free refills.
If this happens to you, the Wall Street Journal advises you wait for the foam to settle and then ask for a “top-off.”