Cheaper beer prices fail to materialise

Despite promises of savings for customers after the removal of the outdoor service fee, only two out of eleven joints in Nyhavn have reduced prices

In March, when the City Council decided to do away with the outdoor service fee for the remainder of 2012, café and restaurants applauded the move, estimating that the money they saved would translate directly into savings for their customers.

Alas, that seems not to be the case. A cold one enjoyed al fresco remains as pricey as ever – at least at the popular tourist destination of Nyhavn.

Berlingske newspaper made a quick call to eleven establishments in Nyhavn to check their beer prices. Nine of the eleven eateries have not reduced their beer prices, while the two that have  – Restaurant Skagen and McJoys Pub – have done so by an astounding two kroner.

At Klods Hans Café, a half litre of draft beer still costs 55 kroner, while the ‘legendary’ after hours bar Hong Kong still charges a sturdy 64 kroner for the same amount of golden liquid. Cafe Diamanten, Kafe Kys and Cafe Kreuzberg have also maintained their old prices.

Bo Hansen, who owns five establishments in Nyhavn, is pleased that they are able to serve outdoors without a fee to the city, but blamed rising costs for maintaining beer prices as they were before.

“It’s because the price of Carlsberg has risen several times during this year alone,” Hansen told Berlingske.

Hansen also said that his five establishments have applied for permission to serve outside during January, February and part of March because it’s free.

Allan Agerholm, the regional chairman of Horesta – the national association for the hotel, restaurant and tourism industries – predicted a cheaper beer future back in March. Although that hasn't happened yet, he still believes that the beer prices can tumble.

“Now that outdoor service is free, there will probably be more competition, which could result in some places reducing prices in order to attract customers. But it doesn’t always happen that way,” Agerholm told Berlingske.

Beer prices weren’t the only bright future Agerholm predicted back in March. He also said scrapping the fee would boost both tourism and employment, although it is uncertain whether these areas have benefited from the outdoor service fee being axed.

Nyhavn is located in the most expensive zone in Copenhagen when it comes to outdoor service, where cafés and restaurants have had to pay 387 kroner per square metre every month during the summer periods. The first 80 cm from the façade of the establishment was, however, free of charge.

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