Should bars charge extra to view the World Cup?
Cafe Diplomatico, at the heart of Little Italy, is ground zero for Italian soccer fans during World Cup season, boasting one of the best patios for taking in FIFA action. Of course, that also made it a prime destination during the Taste Of Little Italy street festival, which added up to one mighty clogged cafe during Saturday's game against England.
The Dip came up with a controversial solution: while the match was on, patrons were required to buy $15 in food or drinks, per person, per hour (that's not counting tax). Those who already ordered before the game started were cashed out and expected to order another round.
The CBC originally reported that the move would be ongoing for all Italy games, but owner Rocco Mastrangelo said Wednesday the rule was restricted to the Taste of Little Italy weekend. "On Friday (when Italy plays Costa Rica), people are going to be here at 8 am. That I don't mind," he said. "But during the Taste of Little Italy, when you have a half a million people on the street - mostly tourists - I wanted to give them an opportunity to sit down and enjoy the restaurant."
While it seems like a one-off move for the Dip, it remains to be seen whether or not other bars and restaurants will follow suit. Those bright-and-early table-squatters are fixtures around town during the World Cup, and they're not always buying. But as we've seen with Uber's surge pricing fiascos, what's good for the cash register often makes for lousy publicity.
Photo via Jesse Milns from Betty's which doesn't charge extra