Every time Italy plays a game, the Little Italy bar and restaurant institutes a minimum hourly charge for each of its patrons — a spending minimum to match the surge in customers wanting to watch World Cup games.
On Saturday, as Italy took on England, the bar instituted a minimum charge of $15 per person per hour.
Co-owner Rocco Mastrangelo explains the bar can't have people just sitting in the seats. With the hourly pricing people won't "come here at 12 o'clock, and wait for the game to start, and sit here and warm a chair," he said.
The Cafe Diplomatico patio was full, regardless. But that doesn't mean everyone is OK with the pricing model.
"I don't think really that's fair," said Gina Pinto, in her Portugal tank top.
"I guess it encourages people to drink a little bit more, because you're not going to eat $15 per hour, every hour," said Paul Aiello, who works down the street. "I'm against it. You usually have regulars that go to some of these places, so if I go to some place every day, I don't expect to pay a cover charge all of a sudden."
The bar also erases any previous tab at the start of the game and expects patrons to start spending. So a table that eats or drinks at 3:30 p.m. is cashed out and will have to get another round of food or drinks when the ball is in play at 4:00 p.m.
With a large pizza costing $14.50, that may mean multiple rounds of food and drinks per person, per hour.Suggest a correction