In Europe, Cafe Surcharges Can Add Up

I’ve heard that some cafes in Europe charge different amounts depending on where you sit – on the patio versus indoors, at the bar vs at a table. We haven’t come across this too often, usually because we’re either eating at a restaurant where everything is included or at a cafe that is so small that they don’t seem to differentiate between their tables.

When you hear that you might have to pay a bit more, you assume that it might be a few dollars or a few euros – a small surcharge. It is important to check signs and menus before sitting down, however, because that smal surcharge can add up quickly. The perfect example of this is from a group of tourists in Venice, who sat down at the famous Caffe Lavena and didn’t pay attention to the notice about surcharges printed on the menu. They ended up with a total surcharge that was almost as much as their drink bill, a total of 42 euros added on to a 46 euro tab.

Needless to say, the tourists weren’t happy about it and it did make the news, but ultimately it was their fault for sitting down for a drink without adding up those surcharges first. If it were us, we would definitely be a bit put out at the added expense – but we would simply pay it and chalk it up to a lesson learned for the next time.

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