A couple who stopped in a city centre bar to buy a couple of soft drinks were stunned when the cost of two small bottles of Diet Coke came to £8.20.
The pair were told the cost included a fee to cover restrictions brought in to stop the spread of coronavirus.
They were told the cost either covered booking a table – although they were walk-in customers and did not book – or to pay for PPE and hand gel.
Ron and Margarate Wiltshire say they were told a fee would be added when they ordered their drinks – but were still shocked by the cost.
They visited the Fat Cat in Nottingham before heading home to Yorkshire where they further queried the bill, reports NottinghamshireLive.
“We sat outside. The lady at the bar said it was £1 per person for track and trace which seemed strange but agreed as we needed a drink.
“The barman came out to us with the drinks and a card machine. When we paid he mumbled something about the charge you’ve been told about.
“My wife said ‘wow £8.20 for 2 Diet Cokes’ – they were bottles not the large ones but smallish glass bottles.
“On getting home I phoned to check and was told that the charge was for hand sanitiser and PPE.
“Now I know some companies are finding things a struggle but this is the only time I’ve been charged this, even small independent retailers don’t charge. We will not be going back there again.”
A spokesman for Fat Cat said: “The £1 charge is a booking fee. It’s not for PPE and hand sanitiser. Everyone is made fully aware of the booking charge before they sit down.
“Lot of bars are charging in town and we are too. Are we doing anything wrong? Are we breaking the law?”
The spokesperson didn’t explain why Mr Wiltshire was charged a booking fee even though he was a walk-in customer.
NottinghamshireLive contacted other bars to find if they have similar policies.
Rock City charges a booking fee but then deducts the cost in a reduced bilk or vouchers.
Tom Holodynsky, operations manager of The Great Northern Group of 11 pubs, said: “I don’t personally know of any venues doing that. I know some venues taking a deposit which is redeemable off their bill at the end to ensure they turn up but not a charge per se.”
Dan Brown, co-owner of a number of bars, said: “We don’t charge a fee. I’ve not heard of any bars that do this.”