by Max Brantley
Notes from the field:
When is happy hour not so happy? When you're at Senor Tequila. Everyone probably knows Little Rock has one of the highest taxes on drinks served in restaurants, as Mark Abernathy at Loca Luna and Bene Vita, among others, publicizes and fights against those high taxes. But at Senor Tequila, the management has made a unique decision that causes sticker shock at the register. Liquor taxes are NOT included in the price of the drinks but rather are added on at the register, unheard of in our experience. The exorbitant add-ons might not be noticed when drinks are paired with a meal, but at a recent "unhappy hour" experience the bill was a real slap in the face. Top-shelf margaritas are billed at $3.50 from 4 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, but when four of those and two shots of Herradura tequila (billed at $7 apiece) were totaled at the register, the tab was not $28 but north of $37. This policy is certainly neither posted nor mentioned, but the cashier wasn't considering backing down. "It's the taxes," he explained to our group. When told every other restaurant and other retail establishment in town adds only sales tax at the register and includes other taxes in the advertised prices he just shrugged and said "sorry."