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How much does it cost now?

Gateshead, United...
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How much does it cost now?

It's difficult for us here in the UK to get a good grasp of costs in the USA when trying to budget in advance of a visit. Would anyone like to tell me the cost of (a) a main course in an average to good New York city restaurant (b) an average sort of cost for desserts and beer/soft drinks in restaurants and (c) The cost of a small and a large beer in a bar? I already know that drinks and food in the US are much more expensive than they seem at first glance - in the UK, the price you see is the price you pay, and tips are discretionary.

Am I right in thinking that most people in the US tip nearer to 20% than 15 unless the service is really bad, so I should add 30% to prices to get the total including tax and tip?

I have seen a very similar thread on here but it dates from 2012 and was closed due to lack of activity. Thanks.

Philadelphia...
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11. Re: How much does it cost now?

Although 15% is technically fine, a 20% tip seems to the norm among people I know. I tip 20% as a minimum for decent service.

As Elizzie pointed out, doubling the tax is OK in New York, but it's not a reliable method for figuring out a tip everywhere in the U.S. Some states have significantly lower sales tax rates.

Edited: 07 June 2014, 02:48
Brooklyn, NY
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12. Re: How much does it cost now?

**Actually 15% tip is the normal, not 20%. **

That is not true.

There is no "normal." Some people double the tax. Some people tip 15% or 20%. Some people tip more. Some people tip less.

Gateshead, United...
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13. Re: How much does it cost now?

Thanks for all the information. By the way, most of us in the UK do give tips even at home, but we usually only leave about 10% and, if we're unhappy with the service, it's quite normal to leave nothing. From my experience in France, Germany and Spain I think the situation is similar in most European countries.

London
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14. Re: How much does it cost now?

As a fairly frequent visitor I'd agree with Valentino: on average eating in drinking in NYC is cheaper than London. That would be tipping at 15% and rounding up, erring always on the side of generosity if you're pleased with the service.

In bars I only ever drink draft bitter - and which happily for me most now serve. In London I'd get a pint for me and a half for my wife. In the US this often translates as a large and small beer. Though as the price of a small beer often seems 3/4 the price of a large I sometimes get two large and drink the difference...

Either way I'd tend to leave a dollar tip plus maybe some loose change each time. Though maybe someone else would comment if I've got that right.

Stockholm, Sweden
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15. Re: How much does it cost now?

Pretty much every restaurant we went to last month had three suggested tip amounts listed at the bottom of the bill. These tended to be 15, 17.5 and 20% but I also saw 18, 20 and 22%. I added a dollar per drink in a music club. A draft Brooklyn lager was $7 which was probably similar to London for the size of the drink.

New York City, New...
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16. Re: How much does it cost now?

To the OP: those tips amounts (10%) are not okay for the US where tips make up the majority of one's salary, which is different than where you live or in any of the other countries you mention.

Manchester, United...
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17. Re: How much does it cost now?

I would say you get better food for less money if that helps

New York City, New...
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18. Re: How much does it cost now?

Also, keep in mind that you can get great deals such 2 for 1 or better on Alcohol and food during happy hours at various rest. and bars.

Sydney, Australia
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19. Re: How much does it cost now?

I don't think drinks are included in the tax amount (could be totally wrong) so doubling the tax in NYC wouldn't help if you had a few drinks.

San Diego...
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20. Re: How much does it cost now?

Yes, drinks are taxed. So in places like NYC you can double the tax. Just like NYWhiz pointed out in #1.

If I sit at the bar and only order a glass or two of wine I give the bartender $1 tip for each glass. It's not uncommon for me to get an extra 'pour' or glass of wine for free.