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$40 date: Dive Bar Delightful Night

My latest $40 comes from a weekend getaway to New Orleans. I was traveling to the Crescent City to celebrate the 25th anniversary of my Gamma Phi Beta chapter being on the Loyola campus. Although there to see sorority sisters I also wanted to spend some time enjoying the city with the bf so we had a late dinner Friday night at one of my favorite places: Port of Call 

Port of Call is basically a pirate themed dive bar, and usually that is not my thing but honestly, I just don't think a trip to Nola is complete without a visit. There's also a pirate themed dive bar in Memphis and I've only been once so that's not the attraction - it might be the fond college memories, the dark and mysterious ambiance, or just the fact that the food is really good - it's probably a combination of these. Seriously though, it's so dark inside I couldn't get an ambiance picture for y'all. Beyond not spending a fortune going out the point of $40 dating is to get creative and try different things so even if I wasn't going to one of my favorite places I wouldn't have minded a trip to a dive bar, for me its certainly something different.
It's a popular destination so there's usually a wait, since we got there after dinner time we only had a 40 minute wait, I would say we were seated in 30. We got a monsoon drink to share while waiting, luckily the weather was nice enough. I knew exactly what I wanted before we even sat down but since Shaun was a first timer he looked over the menu, not that there's much to choose from.

I think its really weird they charge for sour cream yet bacon bits are free but whatever. We both got our potato with a topping but when my burger came loaded with cheese I remembered that it is possible to use some for ones potato, I also think the sour cream amount is excessive but apparently not everyone agrees with that. Since we weren't looking to party and had spent the day driving we were both tired and decided the one monsoon split was enough. If you really don't want to share drinks you could get two $5 smaller drinks. I realize most people will want more than one small drink but look my goal here is to show that dates around $40 are possible, you can make you date however expensive with as much booze as you want - as long as you drink responsibly of course : ). I am typically a wine drinker anyway so I find myself not doing well with more than one hard liquor cocktail so the one drink split was just fine for me.

The large drink and some waters were just what we needed to wash down this deliciousness. 

After our bellies were full we left very happy and only had a 3 block walk to the car, lucky us. Parking is this neighborhood can be hard to come by.
Total cost for this Date
One Monsoon to share $10 
Two Burgers and Potatoes $26
Tax $3.51 
Tip $6.49 
Total $46* 

*So this date is a little over $40, but you might have noticed on the other $40 dates there have been instances of a few dollars left over. These dollars add up and can be saved for a budget buster or splurge night. For me I was in New Orleans on vacation so it was totally splurge worthy. From the previous dates posted the splurge fund had $9, so now it's down to $3. 


  1. This looks so good!

    But...tip should be at least 20% of the POST-TAX amount. Everywhere I've been a server, we pay out (tip out the hostesses, bussers, bartenders, etc) on our post-tax amount, and that's the amount we have to claim as well. So the tip should be calculated after that amount. I know not everyone has worked in the service industry (and doesn't know that it's basically working for nothing - I've gotten a paycheck once, the rest was tips) but that's the way, according to the awful system we have in this country, that it should be figured.

  2. that is interesting regarding the post tax because I have always been told pre tax and never known anyone to tip on the tax so I'll keep that in mind in the future. However, I completly disagree with your statement of at least 20% calculation, 15 to 20% is the norm and ultimatley it is at the discrection of the customer. Personally I think leaving anything less than 15% is tacky even if service was bad but I also think excellent tips should only be left for excellent service.

  3. It could be different other places. Just the places I've worked (chains, a couple of local places) have done sales post-tax.

    I think, in theory, you're right about the 20%. I mostly used that as an example (I tend to tip at least 30% - but I toiled for YEARS making nothing as a server, despite being a very very good one). But the problem isn't anything to do with how much is appropriate - because no amount of money is appropriate when you're "making" $2.13 an hour and tipping out your tips.

    Basically, if I sell $1000 worth of food/drinks, if I'm awesome (and if everyone tips, which is never the case - I was pulling about a 50% getting stiffed rate at Fridays downtown) and everyone gives me 20% that's $200. I probably worked, let's say 4pm to 2am (because, remember, I have to be there to roll silverware and do sidework for at least an hour after my last table - and that's conservative). So that's 10 hours. $20 bucks an hour! Yes!

    Oh wait.

    I sold $1000. I tip 2% to the hostesses, 2% to the bussers, and 4% to the bartenders. Those are realistic numbers. That's not my choice. It's required. So there's $20 to the hostesses, $20 to the bussers, and $40 to the bartenders. $80. So now I've made $120. Still not bad - $12 an hour. But that's if every table tipped me 20%. I'm not getting a paycheck from work (that $2.13 an hour goes just to taxes - because we get taxed on our tips that we claim). If every table tipped me 15%, I would have made $150 - $80 = $70. $7 an hour.

    But if I had a table that stayed for an hour and stiffed me, or a walkout, or a table that left me change (church ladies...), or a table that left me a flyer about Jesus, or a table that ordered all their drinks from the bar and left me nothing - I'm quickly down to walking out of a 10 hour shift with $40 in my pocket. I've had it happen.

    It's not your responsibility to make up for other people, or to make up for a terrible system. But 20% should be the standard, never less than 15%. Because the system is fundamentally flawed.

  4. Why 4% to the bar, seems high consider food vs beverage prices. Not all places are like that though, where my sister worked the hostess made $8 an hour and was not tipped out, bartenders were tipped on alcohol only and it was up to the server to get with bussers and food runners but they also got minimum wage.

  5. It's different everywhere I'm sure. Sometimes I've paid out 4%, sometimes 2%, sometimes 1%. It just depends on the place really (and my last serving job was THE WORST). I would love to work somewhere that did that though - it's so ridiculous how little servers get paid in this country.


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