100 Words On: A Really Sneaky Way to Reduce Your Restaurant Bar Tab

According to the National Restaurant Association, 88% of all adults say they enjoy going to restaurants. It’s really no wonder. Dining out is considered a relaxing treat by most folks; a great way to escape from the hustle and bustle of a hectic day. If you enjoy having a cocktail or two with your meal, here is a friendly consumer tip: ordering those drinks one at a time can be costly.

The bottom line: The next time you order a cocktail at a restaurant, make it a double. Typically, it’ll only cost about 15% more — but you’ll get twice the liquor. Cheers!

Photo Credit: .Larry Page


  1. 3

    tracee says

    haha thanks Len!! you have now given me the perfect excuse to order a double, i’m even going to tell my boyfriend that one of my favorite financial blogs told me it saves money!

    • 4

      Len Penzo says

      It works! For example, we were at a popular BBQ restaurant last month — the price of a regular Jack and Coke was $6.50. If you ordered a double it was $7.50.

      The savings really add up if you and your boyfriend are ordering even a couple drinks each.

        • 8

          Len Penzo says

          I strongly suspect true bars — as opposed to restaurants that serve liquor — operate from a different set of pricing rules.

      • 10


        Just make sure its listed as such. My wife and I go to a comedy club every thursday, and I had her start ordering doubles. We get our bill, and each double was treated as two singles, so there wasnt any real savings.

        • 11

          Len Penzo says

          Thanks for the heads up, Josh. I’d recommend you also verify with your server before you order.

          In my experience, comedy clubs tend to have over-priced drinks anyway and I don’t think they’re too eager to give special discounts.

  2. 12


    What if you order a double, forget it’s a double (perhaps because it’s WAS a double), then order another, which is also a double. Not only will you have spent 15% more then you would have on two singles, but you might even feel good enough by then to order a 3rd drink–also a double. Then on the way home, a nice police officer decides to save you from yourself by pulling you over and administering a breathylizer test, and–well you know what happens after that.

    Save your money and have your doubles at your house where the drinks are a lot cheaper and there’s no cop in the parking lot waiting for the people who had more than one double at the bar.

    You’re a bad influence, Mr. Penzo. I’m just sayin’…

  3. 14


    I only tried that once. I was charged $10. The single would have been $5. Didn’t work but maybe worth another try, though with two kids, my bar days are largely (read: completely) behind me and a double is probably too much to have now anyways under the circumstances :)

    • 15

      Len Penzo says

      Were you in an actual bar when that happened, as opposed to a restaurant that serves liquor/beer/wine? In restaurants, the mark-up for alcohol tends to be quite steep (I assume to help subsidize their food prices) — so they usually have more latitude, and flexibility, to offer such discounts.

  4. 16


    Last fall, my roommmate ordered a “double” — and when they brought out the tab, they only charged her for a single. Ultra savings for her — like buy one get one free!

    I suppose she *should* have said something, if she were saintly honest …. chalk it up to liquor-induced bad judgment?

  5. 18


    Very creative Len. I actually prefer beer most of the time though and doubles usually taste too strong to me but I can see this working for the fancy mixed drinker crowd. Our gang used to meetup at someone’s house for beers before going out. That would even be cheaper.

    • 19

      Len Penzo says

      I actually discovered this trick awhile ago, thanks to a very nice server who clued me in on how much money we were wasting after the Honeybee had just ordered a second cocktail after quickly downing the first one. LOL From now on, the first one out of the gate is a double.

  6. 20


    and why not… make it a double, bartender!

    I had several dinner meetings with a VP who was fond of telling the server to “bring us two beers apiece, it’ll save all of us time”. As Paula mentioned above, one time they got confused and forgot to charge for the extra beer.

  7. 22


    Out here in the Philly ‘burbs we’re getting more and more restaurants that are BYOB. It stinks if you don’t know in advance, but if you are prepared, you can save a bundle by bringing your own bottle, cooler…keg, truck, whatever!

    Not to mention you can pick out the good stuff that they might not have had on hand.

    • 23


      I remember NJ was that way. When I was growing up in Staten Island and would go visit my godparents, they would have to grab a bottle from the house before going to the restaurant. Don’t know if it’s still that way though

    • 24

      Len Penzo says

      I’m surprised they don’t charge a corkage fee. Or do they? (And if so, I guess it is still cheaper than buying the stuff from the restaurant.)

  8. 25

    DC says

    You can flip that logic for soft drinks or tea. A friend of mine went to a family restaurant with a couple of his buddies. When it came time to order, the conversation went something like this.

    Waitress: And to drink?
    Buddy #1: Iced tea.
    Waitress: Small, medium, or large?
    Buddy #1: Large.
    Waitress: And you sir?
    Buddy #2: A large iced tea.
    Waitress (to my friend): How about you?
    Smart Friend: Do we get free refills on the tea?
    Waitress: Yes sir.
    Smart Friend: I’ll have a small iced tea.
    Waitress: You got it.
    Buddy #1 (squirms uncomfortably): Oh, uh, can I change my order?
    Waitress (with saintly patience): Yes sir.
    Buddy #1: On 2nd thought, I’ll have a small iced tea.
    Buddy #2: Oh yeah, me too. A small iced tea.

    So many people will “supersize” their order when there’s no need.

  9. 27


    Unless you are in Massachusetts where there are strict laws requiring that a “double” be exactly twice the cost as a “single”. The same law means that you can’t sell a pitcher of beer for less than the cost of a group of single beers that add up to a pitcher.

    Damn puritans and their teetotaling ways! Until recently we couldn’t buy alcohol in stores on Sunday until noon. You’d be at the grocery store and the alcohol lane would be chained closed. People would wait right at the edge for the clock to strike noon and race into the aisle like sprint cup racers. Amusing? Yes. Efficient and sane? Nope.

  10. 28


    Another thing is opening a tab at the bar instead of paying cash. At the end of the night settling up on a $50 tab and tipping 10-15% is probably cheaper than giving them a dollar tip for every drink you buy. And while you’re at it you might as well just order doubles the whole time.

  11. 31


    I’m with Drew Hey, my kids are small, drinks out is about a once or twice a month thing.

    Two would put me over the legal driving limit, so … one it is. Or sometimes none.


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