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ripped off Jun 26th, 2002 06:07 AM

Harry's Bar
I , for a long time have heard of "Harry's bar" in Venice. I was drawn in by the romantic history and the idea of having a bellini and some food at the same place that Hemmingway used to frequent. I was taken back by the style of the bar and the wonderful atmosphere. I enjoyed a fabulous ( albeit small) lunch with 3 friends. The meal consisted of a bellini each, a half litre of wine and 3 primi piatti (of a small plate of pasta.) I said that the meal would be my treat. I was expecting it to be higher than a normal small meal in italy, but I was not prepared for the total. Are you ready for what it cost???? It was 275 Euro!!!! <BR> If it has been your dream to enjoy a bellini there, don't let me stop you. If you want to eat theer, dont let me stop you. Given it is beautiful inside, and it was a great experience ( That I will not repeat) I pride myself in trying to avoid tourist prices, but i was definitly taken in here.

elaine Jun 26th, 2002 06:14 AM

Just this past Sunday, the New York Times Magazine had a short food article on Venice. It was in general a fairly negative article, not all of which I agreed with, but Harry's Bar was singled out as offering generally very disappointing food, and a very poor value (food and service) for the price.<BR><BR>I've only stepped in there once, and I soon stepped out without staying, (we were being ignored, and the noise level was high) so I can't judge the full experience. But the phrase<BR>"tourist trap" comes to mind. Others may have had good experiences, but I will avoid it. Certainly for those prices I know for sure I can do much better in Venice.

sam Jun 26th, 2002 07:02 AM

I had my picture taken under the sign last year - that was enough for me.

RnR Jun 26th, 2002 07:13 AM

Typical postings these days - really price conscious stuff. Please do not use price point, lets show some restraint. If you didn't realize Venice was expensive, and that is particularly true of Harry's, then what were you thinking. Don't tell me you also went to Florian every morning to have your coffee outside - just do not tell me that. I do hope you saved some cash for Da Fiore - to have something approaching value to show for your troubles. Why is it some people seek out the absolutely most touristy spots, behave like tourists, get taken, and then come home and complain. As you can tell, my empathy level is low today - I'd hope Turkey might have a better evening. In any event, I'm not sure I'd have much more patience with you on a better day.

Ripped off Jun 27th, 2002 01:22 AM

RnR,<BR>That was rude.<BR> I wasn't looking for a snobbish response. Just out to help out some fellow travelers. I dont come here to insult or be insulted by other people, just to talk about what I love to do, travel. <BR> I come to share experiences, and maybe help someone else out. It is obvious that you have other intentions.<BR>I do not like the attitude of people like yourself who are snide and condesending. <BR> I sincerly wish that you have a change of heart.<BR> Remember "there is no bore like the travel bore"

hmmm Jun 27th, 2002 02:04 AM

RnR<BR>Why so rude? I'd give you that Ripped Off was perhaps naive not to realise that the prices might match the reputation at Harry's and not to ask before ordering, however, believe it or not, he has every right to travel, the same as you do. Everyone makes mistakes! Clearly you think you are only valid type of traveller, staying in luxury hotels and sipping champagne. Perhaps you would prefer to have lived in the last century when travel was the preserve of the rich and upperclass? Luckily for the rest of us, in this century, travel is open to a lot more of us. Learn to live with it. You sound a lot like a poster who used to post here ages ago but got chased away, his posts were mostly helpful but could be a bitchy and snobby like yours too. Wondering if you are him and whether posts like this are what turned the chasers off you. Then again, I guess there could well be more than one person like you. Perhaps you aren't him after all.

janey Jun 27th, 2002 03:14 AM

To ripped off: I, for one, appreciate your post. I am new to the board, planning my first trip to Italy this fall, and appreciate this type of info. I plan to go to Harry's Bar for a bellini, take a gondola ride and do many other "touristy" things. Knowing that these things may be expensive ahead of time prepares me to the "surprise factor." Keep these informative posts coming!

ripped off Jun 27th, 2002 03:52 AM

Thank you for your support.

m kane Jun 27th, 2002 05:05 AM

I, too, support ripped off. Undoubtedly he expected Harry's Bar to be expensive and that he would be paying extra for the mystique of the whole thing. But 275 Euros is more than I would ever imagine for such a thing, and I think he did many of us a service by letting us know that it's out of the realm of the anticipateable (a beautiful word I just made up).

Jim Jun 27th, 2002 05:33 AM

I don't like to be ripped off either, but I'm just wondering, wasn't there a menu listing prices that "Ripped off" ordered from and can he add?

Roger Jun 27th, 2002 06:45 AM

Best martini I ever had was at Harry's Bar in 1996. Glass was perfectly iced, a perfect match with the tasty, dry gin martini I had.

x Jun 27th, 2002 07:12 AM

Ridiculous discussion. I am reading the pros and cons, and wondering if it's possible most of you haven't travelled very much in Italy, or in particular, to Venice. Why would anyone go to Harry's bar, or any famous bar for that matter, and order an expensive meal. That is just asking to be ripped off, no matter where you go. And evidently that is just what happened. Now, here's what I would have done in your place: be quiet about it and not admit what a silly thing I'd done. To get on here now and complain because somebody wasn't willing to tell you it was okay is also silly. Maybe you'll be smarter next time. The issue isn't your right to travel, etc. - it's really more about making smart travel choices. You know, a lot of people could exit in venice for 2-3 days for what you blew on a meal. Just my opinion, for what it's worth.

Ian G Jun 27th, 2002 07:16 AM

Went to Harry's Bar in 1999. I was alone and seated upstairs overlooking the Grand Canal. I went over the menu several times and the waiter asked, "What would you like...anything. Just tell me." I ordered "off" the menu and he had something prepared exactly to my specifications. It was superb. Dinner for one was expensive, but this I expected to be the case. Advice: for legendary insitutional restaurants (i.e. Maxim's, the Ivy), either surrender to the expense in advance or stay away. When in doubt, find a book on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Noel Coward, Marlene Dietrich, or Maria Callas, thumb through the index and if you see the name of the hotel or restaurant noted, you'll know exactly what you're in for. The key is to accept these establishments on their own terms. They exist, and have, for those for whom the bill does not matter. You have to adopt that mindset, if only for one night, in order to allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy the experience. If you know your limitations, look inside and leave. No one can fault you for knowing your limitations. I have found equal satisfaction in legendary cafes and off the beaten track finds for $8.

sam Jun 27th, 2002 08:39 AM

Well, I do wonder why ripped off did not know how much the things they ordered would cost -- presumably there was a menu with prices listed. But perhaps they ordered drinks when they first sat down, without looking at a menu, and then decided to just add on a plate of pasta. It looks like the pasta must have come in at around 50 Euros a plate, and the bellinis probably 35 or so. Seems a tad high to me. I might be walking by and see Harry's Bar and think, "Hey, I've always heard about Harry's Bar. Maybe I'll go in and have a drink. I'm sure it will be quite a bit more than I usually pay, but it can't be more than 15 or 20 bucks." But thanks to ripped off's sharing of his experience, I know that I would be way off, and the next time I'm walking by Harry's Bar, I will have to decide if it's worth 35 or more Euros to go in and have a drink where Hemingway used to drink. The point is not that it cost a lot, but that the cost is way beyond what you would ever imagine, so I think ripped off did a service to those of us to whom money is at least a little bit of an object .

Yasuf Jun 27th, 2002 08:47 AM

cheers for ripped off~he goes to Venice and loses his shirt. its a service, so we thank him. hey, we're going to rome in July, cant you go down there and get ripped there too. then report back. This is some service he or she is doing for us travellers.

IDont Jun 27th, 2002 09:12 AM

I don't understand, Yasuf. The service ripped off is doing us is not being ripped off but warning us that the cost at Harry's Bar is more than you would ever imagine. Decide for yourself whether it's worth it to you or a rip-off, but just know what you're getting into. I, for one, will occasionally splurge on something like this, but 275 for a very modest meal is much more than I would ever have expected. Someone else asked why ripped off would go to Harry's Bar and order an expensive meal, but the point was that he ordered a very modest meal which turned out to be outrageously expensive. If he had ordered several courses, then the bill is not bad, but for drinks and a plate of pasta it's way out of line.

Yasuf Jun 27th, 2002 09:18 AM

I see what you mean~just color me dumb. Ripped off was warning us so we won't be. I get it - pardon my duh.

cindy Jun 27th, 2002 10:11 AM

We passed Harry's Bar in Florence and I picked up (ok, stole!) a drink menu from an outside table. The prices for drinks was high, but not outrageously high. A mixed drink was about 12 euros; a soda was about 5 or 6. Didn't see the food menu, but $275 sounds ridiculous! Are you sure how many drinks you had? What kind of wine was that you were drinking?

Sue Jun 27th, 2002 10:33 AM

Well, I just checked the Frommer site and they quoted a Bellini they had ("a watered-down horror, in the off-season") as being Euro 9.35. Given that Frommer's also gave the price in lira, you can bet that that info dates back to at least 2001, but even so... either it tells you something about the quality of Frommer's advice, or the practices of Harry's bar, I dunno....One thing's for sure, qualitative descriptions like 'expensive' are totally meaningless, as ripped off found out the very, very hard way.

janey Jun 27th, 2002 10:35 AM

to cindy: Harry's bar in Venice (not sure if it makes a difference) and Bellini, not mixed drink - (I do believe that makes a difference)

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