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Cover Charges of the Rich and Famous
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In today's Guardian, Polly Vernon writes about the Eagle Ski Club in Gstaad, "probably the most expensive restaurant in the world" ( The world's most expensive lunch) The prices at the members only restaurant are not extravagant, at least by the standards of the super-rich to whom it caters, but it costs 25,000 to join.

That's one heck of a cover charge.

I recalled taking day trips into New York City when I was in college. I was entirely innocent of the concept of paying to sit down in a restaurant, any restaurant, or diner, or lunch counter, no matter how thick the grease on the grill. I recall my friends and I checking out the signs in the windows of seedy looking joints, sorting pennies from pocket lint, to see if we had enough between us to spring for the cheapest thing on the menu that would cover the cost of sitting down. Sometimes I settled for a very expensive cup of coffee just to rest my feet and get out of the wind.

On one memorable trip, after a Kinks concert at the Fillmore East, we missed the last bus of the day and wandered around lower Manhattan in the late November cold looking for someplace warm Suddenly we came upon a brightly lit folk club type establishment filled with long haired young people in bellbottoms. Someone was playing a guitar and singing about peace and love. Shelter from the storm. We crashed, as they used to say. A waitress in buckskin, granny glasses and lovebeads glared down at us bumpkins. "$2.50" cover charge." We were bummed out as they used to say. Not to mention given the bum's rush. Or was it the bumpkins' rush?

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