Restaurants & Bars


Tap Water -- What is reasonable to expect at a restaurant?


Live your best food life.

Sign up to discover your next favorite restaurant, recipe, or cookbook in the largest community of knowledgeable food enthusiasts.
Sign Up For Free
Restaurants & Bars 17

Tap Water -- What is reasonable to expect at a restaurant?

AH | Jul 9, 2002 10:11 PM

With rare exceptions I like to drink water (tap water, that is) with all my meals. Whenever I go to an ?order at the counter? restaurant, I make my order clear: I?d like the XYZ (sandwich or whatever) and a cup of water to stay.

Until tonight, I have always gotten my water with my meal with no problems at all. I do not know what to make of my experiences tonight so I?d like to open this up for discussion.

Tonight I thought that I?d grab a sandwich at BB?s (in the Village) but would eat there instead of getting my sandwich to go as usual. That was the first time I?d ever ordered a sandwich to stay there. So I said ?I?d like one sandwich and a cup of water to stay.? The guy said that they had bottled water. I said that I wanted tap water. He said ?we have only bottled water.? I asked him if they had a sink and paper cups. He asked me if I was seriously interested in drinking tap water. I confirmed that I was. He asked me if I knew what was in NYC tap water. I said I?ve been drinking NYC tap water for over 30 years and I love it. He then said that doesn?t matter as the only water we have for you to drink is bottled. I said that if that was really his policy I didn?t want any food from him and I would never go in there again.

I then went around the corner to try a new restaurant that had been recommended on this board ? the Kati Roll Company. I went in there and ordered a chicken roll and a cup of water to stay. [Side note: the food was extremely good and was great value.] The guy behind the counter _repeated the whole order back to me_. When my sandwich was ready, I asked him for the cup of water. He pointed to the soda fridge and said all our drinks are in there. I said that when I came in I asked for a cup of water. He said all their drinks were in the fridge. I asked him if the store had a sink. He said yes. I asked if they had cups. He said no. I said if you cannot give me water to drink with my meal than I?m not eating this meal here and will never come again. He then asked me to wait a minute while he washed out _his_ personal drinking cup for me to use. [Yes, this skeeved me out but I must admit it was probably a hell of a lot cleaner than many of the dishes I?ve eaten off of over the years.] At the end of the meal he asked me what I thought and I said that the food was delicious. He asked me why I wanted to drink water with my meal and I told him: because I like it, did not want to drink anything else, and don?t want to pay for a drink with my meal. I told him that if I ever came again and they did NOT have paper or plastic cups for water that I would walk out and never come again. He laughed. I told him that when I got home tonight I would immediately go online and post this on chowhound. He then said that he?d share my ?little idea? with the owner.

So my questions to everyone are:

1. Is it reasonable to expect a restaurant with tables & chairs for on-site consumption to provide NYC tap water to customers for free to drink while consuming food?

2. If you were in my shoes, what would you have done? I do admit I can err on the side of the melodramatic when I feel I?ve been wronged. If the consensus is that I over-reacted, then I will go to BB?s again.

Thanks for reading this post. Sorry I got so wordy but I?ve been hashing this whole thing out for a few hours and still feel I acted right. (This happened at 5ish tonight and it is now nearly 10ish so I think I?ve chewed it over long enough!)


Want to stay up to date with this post?