The Ol' Dining and Drinks Two Step

I love eating out and do so on an almost nightly basis tending to dine at my local hole-in-the-wall noodle shop to some of the top tables in Beijing and everything in between. I also am well aware of the markup, be it in the US or China (I actually believe the markup in China is often not that bad comparatively), on a bottle of wine in a restaurant and the reasons why there is that markup, okay, I get it. However, I basically ignore the wine list at most restaurants here, due to my own aversion to wine with Chinese food (sorry, I just can't get over it) and the fact that, even before the restaurant markup, most wines in China are horribly overpriced.

With that said, as a beer drinker, I can never quite grasp the markup at restaurants. The retail on a large bottle of Yanjing is RMB2, but stores and restaurants can get it for even less. Now, at a nicer restaurant (say South Beauty), I'm willing to pay up to RMB20 or so for a large bottle, but what I don't appreciate is the number of pretentious places that will charge RMB 20 or more for a small bottle of Qingdao. I also can't grasp when a certain Korean restaurant (name will remain anonymous for now) charges RMB58 or higher for bottles of soju or rice wine that cost RMB8-12 at a supermarket and has almost no by the glass or cocktail options.

The strange thing is that I'll go out to a bar and am willing to give them RMB25 plus for a bottle of beer that I know costs much less, but I complain to the bitter end when it happens in a restaurant. I think it has something to do with price of food/price of alcohol ratio. If I'm eating at a high-end restaurant where most dishes are RMB80 or more, I expect to pay a lot for alcohol. When I'm in a place where the dishes are RMB20 or below and they give you a plastic cup with the beer, I basically expect to pay retail for a bottle of beer. But when food prices are between RMB50-70 for most dishes, I feel a bit taken when I'm paying between RMB30-50 for alcohol.

Is it just me?

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