The Phenomenon: The $9 Heineken
The Bars: Patio Lounge, O’Connor’s
The Movies: Blow-Up, New York Minute
Two things that New Yorkers seem perfectly willing to pay too much for are drinks and movie tickets. I think we can all agree that both of these items are in order of magnitude more expensive here than they are for the rest of the country, and, perhaps because of this, they’re both governed by peculiar economics that kind of don’t make sense. At the movies, for example, you shell out ten bucks no matter what you’re seeing. Whether the film’s production budget was 200 million dollars or film school tuition plus a case of beer, you pay the same amount. Quality doesn’t make a difference either — Antonioni and that dude who made New York Minute: $10, $10. We‘ve agreed to pay a fixed price regardless of quality. But with bars, it’s just the opposite. People seem to love to pay wildly varying prices for stuff that’s exactly the same. Take beer: beer is beer. Guinness is Guinness is Guinness, wherever you go, but lots of places that charge $8 for a beer are busier than $5 per beer spots. Some people even prefer to overpay, ‘cause it lets them think they hang out at classy joints. Isn’t that kind of weird? And by weird I mean stupid. Not to even mention how we seem to reward bars for squooshing in as many people as possible. It’s a question of perceived value, I guess: things that cost more seem better, and full bars seem cooler than empty ones. Why? I can’t explain it, but I’m still suckered by it.
A while ago, a friend and I were looking for a spot to get a drink, and we walked by O’Connor’s (Fifth and Dean). I love O’Connor’s! But it was a Monday night or something and nobody was in there, so we turned up our noses. We ended up at Patio Lounge (Fifth and Sackett), where we drank these ucky lo-carb “Green Light” beers because they were on special, and still paid a dollar more than at O’Connor’s. By this logic, the best bar of all is a complete hellhole jam-packed with jerks swilling $12 Bud Lights, and the best (or at least most profitable) movie to make is a shitty teen comedy with just enough boobs to trick people into going. Kinda sad, but I guess it’s best not to think about it. Bud Light and boobs all around!