New Music West And Red Room Fail

Last modified on May 16th, 2008

Tonight was a jam packed night. I left work around 7pm, and then headed down Granville Street, frantically looking for something to eat. I actually walked into Wings, but it was completely full. So eventually I settled on my old-faithful nacho-haven, the Two Parrots. They had a 35 cent wing special on, so I filled up with that.

Eventually I ended up at some Spanish place (coincidentally, it’s only one block from my place, and I had never been there) to celebrate Raul’s graduation from UBC with his Ph.D. (congrats dude, well, deserved). Good times.

As some of you know, this weekend is New Music West in Vancouver. I actually had a media pass to attend all the functions, but because I’ve been so busy at work, I haven’t had time to go pick it up. Thankfully Miss604 lent me her photographer pass so I could head down and take a few photos tonight.

The first show of the night was country music cutie, Jessie Farrel. There weren’t many people in our group who were country music fans, but thankfully Brennen blasted it at my head for the four years we were at university together, and I have a soft spot in my heart for country music. I caught her act (which was great), along with a few others.

However, what happened next was a huge damper on the evening. As I mentioned, we were at the Red Room in Vancouver. I’m going to prefix the next part by saying the following:

  • I’m a chubby Ukrainian
  • I can drink my weight in alcohol
  • I’ve been in bars all over the world – Tokyo, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, you name it

So, I’ve been to enough clubs in my mind to know how most of them operate. My friend Ianiv, who wasn’t drinking during the night, went up to the bar and asked for a water. At that point, the lady told him that water, even tap water would cost him money, unless of course he bought a bunch of booze. Being a reasonable, sober guy, he was obviously disappointed, and thought it was rather idiotic that he would have to go to the bathroom to drink water, or drink some booze and then drive home. While talking to the waitress, the bouncer decided to go up to him and tell him basically to stop arguing with the waitress, and pay up for his water.

To be honest, I hate power-tripping bouncers, as much as I hate stupid bar rules. I went up to the bar to find out what was going on, and, considering I had spent some cash on booze myself during the night, asked that Ianiv be allowed to drink tap water for free, but it was to no avail. So I just threw his water on my tab.

Like I said, I’ve traveled all over the world, and I have yet to encounter another bar that didn’t give you a glass of water when you needed it. I went up afterwards and talked politely to the waitress, and voiced my obvious disappointment with the rules (considering drinking and driving is illegal, I am suspect of any place that won’t give you water if you ask for it). And while she was sympathetic, she said it was the rules set by the management of the establishment, and there was nothing they could do about it. To add insult to injury at this point, she informed me that there would be a $2 surcharge to any purchase I made if I were to use visa or debit. At that point I was done arguing, and just told her to throw another $2 on it if that’s how they rolled in the bar.

I don’t normally use my blog to bash establishments, but I think the Red Room has a bunch of really terrible policies in place. There’s no way, in my mind, that any bar should be allowed to charge for tap water, especially given that drinking and driving is illegal and dangerous, and that we live in one of the most water-rich places in the world. So, make up your own mind where you want to go during New Music West, or after, but I for one won’t be heading back to The Red Room.

10 responses to “New Music West And Red Room Fail”

  1. […] the Red Room’s preposterous “designated drivers must pay for tap water” policy. As Duane said, “what, you want me to go drink from the […]

  2. Eva says:

    That’s absolutely preposterous and irresponsible for any drinking establishment. I don’t think I’ve been to any pub or bar where they charged you for just plain water. Bottled water is understandable but for plain ol’ tap water? Give me a friggin’ break. :-p

  3. Raul says:

    Thanks for coming for dinner Duane, it was great to see you. Yes, Red Room for the loss!

  4. […] time to come and join me in the celebration, and big thank you to Rebecca for organizing. Anyhow, I just heard this story about how the Red Room has a policy of “paying for your own water, even if it is […]

  5. Andrew Kumar says:

    Point taken, as the most usual dedicated driver, I will keep Red Room off of my radar. Thanks!

  6. […] I’m sure they don’t, but I was just reading Duane’s post about his evening attending some New Music West gigs, and was astounded to see that a bar would not […]

  7. […] night we got together with Rebecca and Duane to listen to some of the New Music West bands. We decided to go to the Red Room ad got there in […]

  8. Ron Kalfoon says:

    Sounds like the Red Room needs to rethink their policies. Thats brutal. But how did New Music West fail? Was the show good? New Music West did not create their stupid bar rules. I support what the festival brings to this city and we all need to support live music as much as possible as this city seems to be losing live music venues.

  9. Duane Storey says:

    New Music Fest was fine. The title of the post simply refers to the failure of The Red Room.

  10. DaveO says:

    This is such a bogus policy – when i get stuck driving a gaggle of drunks i make sure they are get *wrecked* and expect to get free/cheap Ginger ales along the way. There was one place in Austin Texas at SXSW who would only sell a bottle of water for $4.50 and no tap water even when tipping. They tried to explain it was SXSW policy but other places were not charging. Really all bars should have a camping jug of water and cups somewhere where drunks and sobers can hydrate. Not having easily accessible is just dumb and practically dangerous too.

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