Yesterday, Soggy Coaster joined a couple of colleagues for an after-work beer at Cosmopolitan, a restaurant at 919 Main Ave. in Durango.
I like Cosmopolitan. It has a copper bar and an invariably friendly bartender behind it. The atmosphere is pleasant, even if the clientele trends a little old.
A fine dining restaurant, Cosmopolitan offers four beers on tap: Mirror Pond Pale Ale (Deschutes Brewery), Pinstripe Red Ale (Ska Brewing), Stella Artois and 1554 (New Belgium).
I opted for a Mirror Pond, then another. Finally, the bill came: $12. For two Mirror Ponds.
I was a bit taken aback. I would have expected the beers to cost, at most, $4 each. Six dollars is the most I can recall paying for a beer on tap.
Mirror Pond is a wonderful but fairly unremarkable microbrew; there is nothing about it that justifies charging $6 for a glass. Neither was the glass unusually large - perhaps 16 ounces. With foam, figure the drinker ends up with about 14 ounces of beer.
Lost Dog down the street charges only $2 for the same beer in a similar glass.
Perhaps - and this is speculation - Cosmopolitan is compensating for its lack of diners by charging Cadillac prices for beers. Restaurants have been hurting because of the economy. Restaurant revenue in Durango, as measured by sales tax receipts, declined 4.4 percent in March from the same month in 2008.
When we went to Cosmopolitan, the restaurant was empty, save for my colleagues, myself and a middle-aged couple cutting each of their sushi bites into several tiny pieces.
Now, I know one might expect beers at a fine restaurant to carry a small premium. You're paying for atmosphere, staff and the presumably costly Main Avenue rent. I understand keg prices have risen for restaurants and bars. But there is simply no excuse for a $6 Mirror Pond. (To be clear, all their beers were $6, making their Pinstripe tap easily the most expensive in town).
I will not be back to Cosmopolitan - not for their cold beers, not for their excellent martinis, not for their tasty meals - until the restaurant charges a reasonable price for its beer. The same goes for any restaurant that chooses to charge exorbitant prices.