The Trump Hotel’s Bar Has Already Jacked Up Its Cocktail Prices

Photograph by Jessica Sidman.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump stopped off in DC today for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony on the hotel his company built inside the Old Post Office building. And just as he has during campaign events and two of three debates, he described the hotel in superlative terms.

Trump has repeatedly said the hotel opened “under budget and ahead of schedule.” While that boast’s veracity is, at best, questionable according to the Washington Post‘s Fact Checker column, the hotel is definitely ahead when it comes to cocktail prices at the bar. Since its soft opening in September, drinks at the Benjamin bar in the hotel’s vast atrium have gone up in price by as much as 33 percent.

Compare the opening-week menu above with the one shared on Twitter Tuesday night by the Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi:

A “John Willet”—made with Willet bourbon, honey syrup, and orange bitters—cost $18 when the hotel opened. As of last night, it’ll set you back $24. The “Postmaster General” (Tito’s vodka, pear, Chambord, and prosecco) jumped from $16 to $20. The other drinks on the menu all ticked up between $1 and $3 as well. There’s also a new $100 offering at the top of the list: a blend of rye, potato, and winter wheat vodkas served with oysters and caviar.

It’s not uncommon for bars and restaurants to nudge up their prices in the first few weeks or months after opening. In 2013, prices on nearly every entrée at Le Diplomat edged up between $1 and $4 about seven months after the always packed French spot opened. Washington City Paper reported that while menu fluctuations are often responses to changes in the prices of ingredients, sometimes they’re simply reacting to demand.

The Trump hotel did not respond to questions about why the bar raised its prices, but across the lobby, the menu at BLT Prime has remained relatively stable. A menu collected from the steakhouse on September 12, the night the hotel opened, is nearly identical to the one posted online now. Aside from a few changes to the appetizer and side-dish offerings, the prices have not moved at all, save a candied-bacon starter that went from $14 to $16. Seafood, steaks, and other entrées remain at their opening-week prices.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.