Lounge Receipt Whips Up Online Firestorm About “Rocks” Charges

A bar receipt from Indigo Lounge at Bally’s has stirred up heated discussion online, but the outrage, it turns out, is largely misguided.

The receipt, posted by a customer to the Bally’s Facebook page, shows what many have mistaken as $3 charges for ice.

Here’s the receipt in question.

Rocks receipt

The receipt that inspired a thousand Facebook comments and angry reaction emoji thingys.

When we first saw this receipt, we got worked up like everyone else, but quickly realized we are largely an idiot.

It seems the term “rocks” has nothing to do with ice in this context. When a customer orders liquor on the rocks, it’s standard to pour an extra half-ounce of liquor. A standard pour is 1.5 ounces, but drinks on the rocks contain two ounces.

The $3 charge, then, is for the additional liquor, not the ice. A common term for the additional charge is a “rocks bump.”

Apparently, one of the motivations for this practice is 1.5 ounces of liquor doesn’t look like very much alcohol when poured into a rocks glass. Those in the bartending field say customers who order drinks on the rocks are well aware they’ll get a larger pour, and customers tend to feel they’re actually getting a decent deal because they’re getting a third more hooch for a nominal charge.

Captain and diet cocktail

If people would just stick to Captain and diet like we do, things like this wouldn’t happen in the first place. Note: Foliage optional.

It seems listing “rocks” on the receipt is used more as an internal accounting notation than a description of what the customer is receiving. From what we can tell, a customer would be charged the rocks bump for a drink ordered “neat” (without ice) as well.

In many bars, the upcharge for a stronger pour is included in a drink’s overall price, rather than being itemized separately, thereby sidestepping customer confusion and the furor Indigo’s receipt caused.

So, the whole “rocks” thing was much ado about nothing. Nevertheless, there was a definite kerfuffle. How much of one? Check us out on KTNV talking about both the “ker” and the “fuffle.”

Rocks receipt

Told you it was a thing.

Perhaps the bigger story here is how ready people are to believe Las Vegas is giving them the shaft. We’ve certainly contributed to that climate by reporting about paid parking, smaller shot sizes, CNF charges and other changes to the Las Vegas landscape. Such revelations seem to be priming the pump, and many seem to be looking for any proof they’re being nickel-and-dimed, even if they’re jumping to the wrong conclusions about that “proof.”

For now, we’re going with “Don’t shoot the messenger!”

Along those lines, when we referred to “largely misguided,” we left a little wiggle room for outrage. First, man alive, drinks are expensive. In Vegas, $16 is the new $8. Just remember, you’re not paying for a drink, you’re paying for an experience, and that’s the story we’re sticking to.

Second, look elsewhere on the receipt and you’ll find the ominous phrase, “Peak pricing may apply.”

“Peak pricing” amounts to what’s called “surge pricing” in the rideshare world. The greater the demand, the higher the prices.

We wrote about peak pricing awhile back as we noticed more and more Las Vegas restaurants leaving prices off their menus. Restaurants often do this so they have the flexibility to raise prices when it’s deemed necessary, like on Fridays and Saturdays. That means you can have the exact same meal on a Tuesday or Saturday night, but the price you pay could change dramatically.

Peak pricing might not warrant outrage, per se, but it’s certainly worth asking about if you’re making a reservation.

In Las Vegas, we only want happy surprises.

14 thoughts on “Lounge Receipt Whips Up Online Firestorm About “Rocks” Charges

  1. Lewmoore

    Of course, $16 for Jameson on the rocks…at Ballys…IS criminal. I saw a lady loudly balk at $18 for a glass of house chardonnay one afternoon and kept walking…but that was at Chandelier…not Ballys. Ballys should be paying you to drink there.

    Reply
  2. Photoncounter

    The casino CEO’s know how stupid tourist and conventioneers are: first the resort fees, then the paid parking all the while downgrading free drinks and play yet they flock to blow their hard earned money away. Anyone staying and playing on the strip is paying a stupid tax on top of a stupid tax and they deserve to go broke, no sympathy.

    Reply
  3. LVBigBear

    The “Rocks Bump” has been pissing me off for several years now. Often if you order it “neat” you get the same amount without the bartender pushing the button for “bump” pricing. Furthermore, if the bartender is free pouring from the bottle they typically pour the same amount in a mixed drink as a shot (despite what the snarky asst. manager tries to tell you). Even worse is when they use the jigger… now my $17 Jameson was first poured into a dirty metal cup that’s been soaking in water and my Jameson has a faint Rumpleminze aftertaste. I am now officially a crotchety old man!

    Reply
  4. RustyHammer

    $16? Save your cash and run outside for a real bargain, at Giordano’s, where you can get casserole! CASSEROLE, BABY!

    Reply
      1. RustyHammer

        When one person insists their myopic view of the world must be the only view of the world, who am I to question?

        Reply
  5. Daniel Bruening

    The corporate raiders will nickle and dime the Strip into the ground and eventually when the pond is drained they will abadon Vegas. 5 to 10 years is my guess. By then the Strip will look like a ghost town.

    Reply
  6. Adam

    Bally’s should be paying me for even walking into their establishment. I almost bought a drink there as I was headed out to catch a ride to the Rio (yeah, I’m a big spender), but now glad I didn’t waste my time (or money). This is part of the reason why I don’t stay on the Strip and only travel there when forced to.

    Reply

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