That is, because they won’t give you any.
On Saturday night, after enjoying a nice home style meal at Chun, our favorite little hole in the wall, we walked over to Manifesto to enjoy a taste of the opposite end of the Shanghai social spectrum. We got there at about 9:30 pm, found a booth and ordered our drinks: a glass of red wine (54 RMB), a bottled beer (45 RMB) and a cocktail (58 RMB). Shanghaiist was thirsty — likely still dehydrated from the previous evening’s Happy Hour — so we ordered a glass of water, too. The following dialogue transpired:
Waitress: I’m sorry, we don’t serve water.
Shanghaiist: You don’t serve water?
Waitress: On Friday and Saturday after 9 pm, we don’t serve water.
Waitress rushes off. A few minutes later she brought us our drinks.
Shanghaiist: Excuse me, I just wanted to know why you don’t serve water.
Waitress: No water!
Waitress rushes off again. We flag her down a little bit later.
Shanghaiist: I understand that I can’t get water, but I am just curious why.
Waitress: We don’t serve water when it is busy.
Shanghaiist: It’s busy now? There are 10 people here.
Waitress: No water after 9. You can order mineral water.
We notice that there are two glistening glass jugs full of water on the bar. It looked delicious. We stopped the waitress as she rushed by again.
Shanghaiist: We were wondering what the water on the bar is for …
Waitress: It is for our staff. If they get thirsty.
Shanghaiist: That makes sense. Thanks.
No tip for her. One thing that sucks about living in a country that doesn’t tip, you have very few ways to show your disapproval when you get bad service. The waitress at Manifesto was an unsmiling bitch and there was nothing we could do about it. For the record, six drinks at Manifesto will cost you more than a dinner for five at Chun. And the service at Chun is so much better — when we ordered a Diet Coke, they didn’t have any … so they walked across the street and bought us one.
Image from woundedmuse.