But by the same token why is the booze hyper-inflated in price and not the food? I mean I can go into the fanciest restaurant in town and order a phenomenal meal for a reasonable price. Same service, same atmosphere, same experience.
Throw in a glass of wine and you're paying $9 a pop for a glass from a bottle that cost no more than $20 at a BC Liquor Store.
No kidding. I stopped in at the Penny Farthing the other day for a pint (first time in several months). $8.75 for a pint of London Pride. Add the $1 tip and it's two bits short of $10 for a beer. Ouch! I only stayed for one!
I won't order wine in restaurants. $7-$10 for a glass or or $30-$40 for a bottle of what I would charitably call "plonk."
The situation is less outrageous in many parts of the USA. I spend a lot of time in Phoenix and good draft beer there (locally craft-brewed or imported) is typically $3-$4.50/pint at happy hour or $5-$6 regularly. My favorite joint, appropriately called The Yardhouse, has over 100 draft beers from all over the world (compared to Matt McNeil's dozen or so) and none of them are over $4.50 at happy hour or $6 regularly.
The wine markups in US restaurants are pretty steep, but I was in Seattle recently at a nice Bellevue restaurant and I reckon a bottle I paid $45 for was actually pretty good and probably would have costed close to that in a BC Liquor store.
Whatever the reasons (and there are many contributing factors), stuff costs way less in the USA, and that applies to pretty much everything. No amount of "rah rah" shop local advertising is going to change that.