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Who Ever Heard of a Hotel Mini Bar With $2 Drinks?

From the Editor: Everything you missed in food news last week

The Carpenter Hotel in Austin
The Carpenter Hotel in Austin
The Carpenter Hotel

This post originally appeared on April 6, 2019, in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.


Last month, while I was in Austin, I stayed at the Carpenter Hotel, a new boutique hotel run by the former co-owner of the Ace Hotel group. I chose it because I knew Christina Knowlton and her husband Andrew Knowlton (editor at large at Bon Appétit) had a hand in the food and beverage operations. I loved the restaurant, loved the bar, loved the cafe, loved the Eastern Bloc vibe in the corridors and hip minimalist-verging-on-bunker rooms. But most of all, I loved the mini bar.

Here is why:

The Carpenter Hotel mini bar menu
The Carpenter Hotel mini bar menu
Andrew Knowlton

$2 for all the drinks? $3 for all the snacks? It made me realize that sometimes the most hospitable thing a place can do is just not gouge its captive audience. Hotels, airports, and stadiums get away with exorbitant pricing because they know their guest doesn’t have much choice. As the guest, you end up resenting the fact that you didn’t plan better — that you didn’t pack a lunch for the plane or grab a bottle of water before you got to the hotel.

Thus, in Austin, feeling like a queen, I spent $20 on the mini bar when I would have spent nothing. I had flat water, I had sparkling water. I had Bjorn Corn, I had cheese crackers. I had a beer while sitting on my balcony staring out upon the highway. They didn’t make much margin on those items, but they did make me want to book again.


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