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Charged for Tap Water???

Jaipur, India
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Charged for Tap Water???
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Hi,

We were in Vienna recently, and went to a restaurant at the Naschmarkt for dinner. Wanted to order Sturm, but this one did not have it, so just asked for tap water instead. Ordered a starter and a couple of main courses, and then asked for the check, and out pops a 2E charge against "Water". We asked the server what this was for, and she said that they charged for tap water!

Now, from our appearance, it was obvious that we were not from Vienna, and not being sure of what to do in this situation, and not wanting to create a scene over a couple of euro, we just paid. But I am curious to know whether we were just ripped off for being tourists or this is normal practice?

Burnley, United...
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1. Re: Charged for Tap Water???
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Was this all you had to drink between you? If you'd ordered other paid for drinks and had an odd glass I doubt you'd normally be charged. But if you only had tap water all night then it was probably a sort of cover charge.

vancouver
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2. Re: Charged for Tap Water???
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I didn't experience that but we did get charged for bread and butter, which in N.Ameria, England, and Asia, I've never been charged for. That averaged around 2-3 euro per person. I was in Vienna & Salzburg. Some restaurants don't even serve you tap water. They force you to buy something to drink. I wasn't charged when I asked for it. But more often than not, they either frowned when I asked for tap water or they said they didn't have any.

California
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3. Re: Charged for Tap Water???
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In Europe they charge you for water, bread, music etc. and in N.America you pay huge addition in the form of tax and tips. In the end, it comes all to the same :)

I agree with Norman, this was probably their way to get a little cover charge, no big deal.

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Charged for Tap Water???
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As my grandfather would have said: ''water is for taking a bath, and then sparingly'' -:)

Since I never order water in a restaurant (except the odd Mineral) I have not been confronted with this issue. I am also suggesting the (slowly changing) North American custom of automatically pouring a glass of water with your meal, is not a custom in Austria. One thing to remember though: If they charge, it must be on the menu!

I do believe in Austria it's considered highly unusual and in many places actually as 'rude', to ask for water in a restaurant.

I can tell you however, that in any decent Café, a glass of water with your coffee is obligatory and free of charge (or built into the price of the coffee). Go figure.

Other "enlightened'' establishments might eventually take note and simply go along with this low cost way of making a guest feel at home.

Edited: 9 years ago
Vienna, Austria
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5. Re: Charged for Tap Water???
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The restaurant is allowed to charge for Tap water and everything elese if it is mentioned on the menue card with the price.

At least you get high quality water as the tape water comes directly from the mountain Schneeberg.

Edited: 9 years ago
Jaipur, India
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1,116 posts
72 reviews
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6. Re: Charged for Tap Water???
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Norman, You're spot on, we did not order any other beverages, but i would've thought we ordered enough food, nonetheless.

Liquid: That was a continuing source of confusion for us- being charged for bread in cafes - someplaces yes and someplaces no. I thought it was mandatory to get a piece of bread when one ordered soup, but a lot of cafe's we visited charged for it. And the thing is, I feel they should tell you upfront, but they dont, and its weird to ask.

Amphitryon: Actually, when we were halfway through our trip to Netherlands, a local educated us about how never to order mineral water in a cafe, but just ask for tap water instead, and it worked absolutely fine, but I guess the dutch have their own reputation to protect! :P

Nomad: Completely agree: not a big deal, but the feeling of being ripped off as a tourist, for however small an amount, is something not entirely nice.

Brno, Czech Republic
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7. Re: Charged for Tap Water???
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In the Czech Republic if they bring you items that are unsolicited (e.g. bread, etc) - i.e. they just plonk it on the table without telling you that it costs something, they are not allowed to charge you for it, and tap water must be provided for free if it is requested. However, as the beer is so good, it is very unlikely that anybody ever asks for it (and it is cheaper than charged-for mineral water anyway!).

In the UK it must also be provided for free, and non-provision of tap water if requested is punishable by a fine http://www..co.uk/news/article-1266177/Diners-fury-refused-glass-water-posh-restaurant.html

(I always like the 'vox populi' contributions under these Daily Mail articles - they make great reading, even if often totally over the top)

I am actually quite surprised that in Austria it is any different - I'm going to deliberately test it next time :)

Edited: 9 years ago
Brno, Czech Republic
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8. Re: Charged for Tap Water???
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1266177/Diners-fury-refused-glass-water-posh-restaurant.html

link for above

Salt Lake City
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9. Re: Charged for Tap Water???
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I have been charged for water at a McDonald's in the states. I was all right with it. They provided the paper cup, the electricity to cool the water, and the staff to take the order and hand me the glass. In fact, it probably cost them just about the same to provide the water as a soda, and they charged less for it.

Several places charge for a cup of hot water for folks if they choose to bring their own tea bag.

Why is a soda of higher value that a glass of water anyway? Of course, it is entirely different for a glass of wine.

Regards, Gary

Vienna, Austria
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10. Re: Charged for Tap Water???
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As mentioned about same with the bread.

If bread is mentioned as part of the soup you get it free.

If the bring you a basket with bread and not mentioned as part of the menue than you pay for it.

There is no rip of for tourist all guests also Viennese have to pay it.

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