You might have noticed something peculiar if you went to the Comet Tavern this weekend. While waiting to order, maybe you heard someone whispering, "Is that really a pint? I don't think it's a pint." And someone else responding, "No, dude. That's two ounces short." And if you went to the men's bathroom, you might have seen someone pouring water into a pint glass to ensure it was, in fact, a 16-ounce pint. And if the latter is true, then you were the guy who peed next to me. I'm sorry. I was just trying to debunk some garbage a local lawyer wrote last Friday:
"Go to the Comet Tavern these days and you’ll notice something peculiar. No, not the fact that Seattle’s favorite 'neighborhood bar' will sell you a pitcher of Vitamin R for $4 at 4 p.m. (the best deal in town). No, it’s what happens immediately when you order a pint of beer. The glass you get back won’t be a pint at all … it will, in fact, be 14 ounces, a full two ounces less than a pint.
This problem isn’t limited to establishments owned by a Seattle personality whose name begins with a 'D' and ends with an 'ave Meinert.' Many dives and chains alike are purchasing deceptively low ounceage glasses."
Andrew Lewis, a Seattle native and lawyer, says we're apparently getting served our beer in "cheater pints" that let bars get 20 more beers out of a keg. That would be a bummer, and Lewis wants to make it unlawful:
"The problem is not the falsies per se, it’s the mislabeling (or lack of labeling), which leads consumers to believe they are getting a pint when they aren’t.
Seattle can be the first city in the nation to take actions on false pints. If a bar really wants to use the 14-ounce glasses, that’s fine. But they should be obligated to label the correct ounceage on the menu and on the board."
Okay, okay, but before we start making up ways to micromanage and fine local businesses, shouldn't we ask if this is even happening?
As a dutiful drinker, I decided to try out the test Lewis outlines as a way find cheater pints: someone comes into an establishment with a 16-ounce glass, fills their glass with water, and pours it into the establishment's glass. If it's a cheater pint, the water will overflow.
So I grabbed a protein shaker, marked 16 ounces, and went to work. First, the target in question, Comet Tavern:
One scary bathroom, but no cheater pints to be found.
What about GameWorks, the other business in question?
Nine years ago, a bartender told the Wall Street Journal that GameWorks scrimps on their pints. While I couldn't get a glass at GameWorks, the bartender gave me a pint in a cup. And surprise! It's also 16 ounces.
Finally, Optimism Brewing wasn't mentioned in Lewis' article, but I wanted to try out a brewery, too:
It turns out Optimism leaves an optimistic amount of room for the beer's head. How kind. How generous. It turns out not all lawyers are as cool as super-babe Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
Comet Tavern's David Meinert said it best:
So, fellow patrons of booze, keep on drinking your pints. They are, in fact, pints.