Can you help us decide if this is normal? It happened awhile back so the exact details (, number of people, cost, time) are vague.
A group of us (7 or 8?) went to a local bar for drinks and dinner on a Friday night. Bar usually has live music after a certain time. We are told that they have only one large table and that at a certain time they would have to move the table to set up for the live music. Edited to add that we arrive approx 90 min before music was to start. So we decide to sit at the bar (1/2 seated 1/2 standing). Order drinks and food. While we were finishing up eating (basically empty plates still in front of us, but still picking) someone came around and told everyone in the bar that the live music was starting soon and that we would have to pay a $5(?) cover if we wanted to stay. We decided that we would just leave and go to a neighboring bar. Edited to add that there was no line waiting outside the bar when we left.
So what I want to know, is how common is it for a bar/restaurant to ask patrons who are already inside the establishment to pay a cover charge w/out notifying them of it when they first enter?