At Least One Overpriced NYC Bar Ditches Mandatory 20% Tip

Yesterday we brought you the story about several overpriced, overhyped NYC hotel bars that were adding mandatory 18-20% tips to drinks that already cost more than a good meal. Today, we’re happy to report that at least one of these spots has changed its policy.

A rep for the Gansevoort Hotel Group clarified that its flagship hotel in the city’s Meatpacking District has never required a minimum gratuity and sent Consumerist the following statement about its other property:

Since its opening this summer, Gansevoort Park Avenue NYC, the newest hotel from the Gansevoort brand, has included a 20 percent gratuity on all bar tabs. We are pleased to note that as of today, this automatic gratuity has been eliminated. Moving forward, neither Gansevoort property in New York City will include a gratuity on bar bills, and an automatic gratuity will only be added for large parties and bottle service.


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  1. MutantMonkey says:

    Good. I am an above average tipper. If I go someplace that forces these types of tips, I take it as a warning that customer service is lacking and I go elsewhere.

    Run a solid business and treat your customers well and you won’t need silly things like this… until the Germans and Japanese travelers decide to visit.

    • FishtownYo says:

      Do your parents say they love you three times each day? Do you wake up with a smile every morning? You sound like a GREAT person! Pat yourself on the back, above average tipper!

  2. SaltWater says:


  3. obits3 says:

    Good PR Gansevoort Hotel Group!

    • cmac says:

      Now if only their PR group would fix this same problem at their hotel in Miami Beach, where all hotels add an automatic grat for crappy service.

  4. Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

    Heh heh heh…they said, “Meatpacking”…..

    Oh come one…like you NYC’ers never get tired of THAT one?!

  5. dolemite says:

    I wish they’d all just do away with tipping, everywhere, for everything. Pay someone a decent wage, and if they suck, fire them or dock their pay.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      How hypocritical.

      Demand a higher minimum wage, then say it’s okay to dock their pay, thus bringing them below the minimum wage.

      • aloria says:

        People suffer pay cuts for poor performance in other industries, why not in wait-staffing as well?

      • dolemite says:

        You dock their pay as a last resort remedy for poor performance..not to save a few bucks. If they don’t shape up after that, you let them go.

        Use bonuses, reward cards, paid time off to stimulate above average service, and pay docking/punishment/firing on the other end.

    • Murph1908 says:

      Didn’t we have this argument yesterday?

      Eliminate tipping, and watch service fall.

      Of all the stories we hear about bad service on this site, what percentage is about people who work for tips or on commission? To make up a statistic on the spot, “pretty freaking low.” It’s mostly about people being paid like you suggest, who do just enough to keep from getting fired.

      • dreamfish says:

        … and you can demonstrate a direct link between mandatory added tips (of 20%) and excellent customer service?

      • NYGuy1976 says:

        Most of the trendy high end bars in Manhattan don’t provide good service anyway. If you are spending a few grand during a night you get great service. People beg to get into these places to overspend on cheap liquor. There is no incentive for them to give great service, they have no problem getting the right kind and amount of people they see fit.

    • veronykah says:

      Wouldn’t adding the automatic 20% gratuity be doing what you are asking?
      Its upping their pay and effectively eliminating you tipping them.

      • dolemite says:

        Sure…just take it off the bill and raise prices 20% so I don’t have to see “gratuity” anywhere.

  6. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Yes, because that waiter worked REALLY hard to deliver and open that bottle at my table.

    It definitely deserves a 20% tip, or any tip, really.

    • milkcake says:

      What if it was a really hot waitress? She comes over every now and then asking if you need anything? I thought bottle service warrants a hot waitress.

      • NYGuy1976 says:

        It does. The gansevoort does not have any unattractive waitresses. It is a very high paying job. Ive been friends with a goldman banker and went to marquee with a group of them and watched them spend 8,000 in a night. The waitress got a 1,000 tip. People kill for jobs in these types of places.

  7. Bativac says:

    “We are pleased to note…”

    How about “we suddenly realized that we are effectively overcharging for drinks or potentally forcing customers to pay for lousy service?”

  8. Portlandia says:

    How I read this:

    “We’re please to announce that since you called us out on our ridiculous behavior, we will no longer be gouging tourists with a mandatory 20% gratuity on top of our inflated cocktail prices. Moving forward, we will be sure to hide our inflated profits in the form of cover charges, increased drink costs or other ancillary fees.”

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      It’s called we still want the patrons to come and be waited on but we don’t want to pay for an hourly service staff.

  9. obits3 says:

    But are they taking it seriously?

  10. sonneillon says:

    Buck a drink to the bar tender, in cash. That way they keep sending me drinks. If 20 percent is more than that. Tough, your pouring a beer. Or mixing vodka into some form of juice. Doing it quickly gets you a dollar. Doing it ten times quickly gets you ten.

    Also if a jigger is involved it is the last drink I’ll ever order from that bar

  11. privax says:

    A lot of the bars/clubs in the city add the tip automatically when paying by debit/credit card, others require a minimum purchase anywhere from $30 and up when using a credit card.

    On a $12 drink, most are throwing down at least a $2 tip anyways per drink, at least I know I do.

  12. sopmodm14 says:

    if we get paid for what we do, CEO’s would be poorer than average salespeople, lol

  13. anduin says:

    For Thanksgiving (Canadian) my family went down to Banff, Alberta for 3 days and so me and my brother, kind of being bored hit the bar in the Fairmont hotel there. Dear lord the prices were outrageous, we basically switched to another language to voice our displeasure to one another. I mean 1 oz of vodka (a shot) for $9….. GTFO.