This Coke costs $5!

The Brooklyn Paper
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They don’t call it “The Five Spot” for nothing — because this otherwise reasonably priced Myrtle Avenue soul-food restaurant is now charging $5 for a soda.

Yes, $5 for a large Sprite, Coke or root beer — the same price as about a gallon and a half of gas; two and a half shares of Bear Stearns or a Barnes and Noble classic copy of “Macbeth.”

That’s also 50 cents more than a Coke will cost you at The River Café, one of the most-expensive restaurants in Brooklyn.


So was Kate Myers, who dined with her husband and 5-year-old son at the Five Spot on Sunday, March 9.

The family walked into the restaurant, at Washington Avenue, at about 3:30 pm, and ordered two notably reasonably priced entrees: the Clinton Hill Crispy Chicken Fingers ($6.90), and the Five Spot Fish N Chips ($7.95).

And they ordered three drinks: one vodka tonic ($8), one Brooklyn Lager ($8), and a Sprite for little Joe ($5).

Lest you think the high price for soft drinks stems from a bottomless mug, think again. There are no refills — which Myers discovered when she ordered her son a second soda.

“The bill came and we saw there were $10 worth of Sprites,” said Myers, still in disbelief. “If it had been $3, I would have thought it was too much. I travel a lot for my job, and for room service, I don’t pay ever $5.”

Malik Armstead, the owner of Five Spot, does have an explanation — of sorts — for the price he charges for a soda.

“Our drinks are, like, 25 ounces,” said Armstead. “But most places give people only an eight-, 12-, or 16-ounce glass.”

Indeed, two Brooklyn Paper reporters confirmed that the $5 sodas were served in larger-than-normal steins, but closer inspection revealed that said glasses were filled with quite a bit of ice and had a false bottom.

Besides, Myers claims that her son’s sodas were served in tumbler glasses — though the waittress might have merely made a mistake or put the drink in a more child-friendly glass for little Joe.

After all, said Armstead, jumbo-size is part of the restaurant’s theme.

“A lot of times you go out, and you pay more for less,” he said. “When you walk out of here, you’re filled.

“Generally, our food prices are extremely competitive,” he added

In fact, they are, which is what makes this $5 soda stuff all the more puzzling (not to mention the automatic 20-percent gratuity tacked onto our check.

“It just seems bizarre,” said Emily Livadary, a Fort Greene resident who works in advertising, but has never been to the restaurant. “It seems like it must be a joke or something. You could buy an entire meal for $5.”

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Reader Feedback

JT from Clinton Hill says:
I used to really look forward to Dana's FG/CH stories and I've been dismayed at the lack of nabe stories these last few weeks, but now, after reading this lame piece of filler I realize that the lack of print was due to lack of inspiration.
Sorry, but this is a weak story.
March 20, 2008, 10:36 pm
Stefan from Brooklyn says:
Ewen if the dollar is very low now compeering to the rest of the world... Even Sweden who has one of the highest tax in the world... go to a star restaurant there.. and you would at most pay 4 dollar and that includes 25% vat. ( 25.3605 fl.oz. (US) ) so I will say that the restaurant is steeling. Is it any more people who think the same.. visit send them a mail.. and they will send some one to do an article on that restaurant..
March 21, 2008, 2:10 am
Rudy from Clinton Hill says:
I went to Five Spot years ago when it first opened. I sat at the bar and ordered a Cosmo. There was no price list at the bar. When I gave the bar tender a $20 and was left with $8, I was furious. The manager came over and was extremely rude. He said the menu was on the bar, but it was in a pile of other menus by the waitress station. I couldn't believe, at that time, I think early 90's, that on Myrtle Avenue they would charge that price. I have not walked in there since. I think it's a pretentious rip-off with severe attitude.
March 21, 2008, 9:29 am
JD from Fort Greene says:
Then just don't go there. Voice your opinion that way. $5 for a soda is a rip off, as is $8 for a Brooklyn Lager. They should be ashamed, yes, but with those prices they should also be out of business. The only way that happens is if folks voice their displeasure with their wallets.
March 21, 2008, 10:26 am
joe from fort greene says:
If this is true, I can't believe it. No one, in their right mind, orders a soda of that size for a child. I think the owner should sue. Unless he knows the reporters from those papers and is dissing them. That's what should be reported. Jumbo-sized is not part of the restaurants theme unless they're talking about the owner. Nothing about food here. I have actually visited the restaurant many, many times. Twice in the restaurant (on my anniversary 2004, 2005) Quit going because it's a BAR! No one there at 6pm except neighborhood drunks. Quit ordering from the out because the food is overpriced and lousy...even when cooked in my presence. The soul platters were better when they cost half as much. Over cooked seafood, no greens, no white meat chicken. No barbecue unless you'd like some chopped stuff with bones still in Don't know what the owner is doing but he isn't in touch with his customer base. And certainly not in touch with me who has tried to complain to him often.
March 21, 2008, 7:58 pm
gorilla man from Park Slope says:
maybe they were charging that much to discourage people from drinking soda due to the may health problems relating to its empty calories
March 22, 2008, 9:48 am
Chad from EV says:
Disgusting. I used to eat at Heartland Brewery once or twice a week until I realized they were charging $3.00 for a non-refillable soda. I emailed them about it and got the standard "sorry you're upset; come have a free meal on us" reply that just pisses off people who have valid complaints and aren't simply trolling for a freebie. I let them know know I wasn't interested in their offer and that they should feel free to contact me when their prices become reasonable so that I can start eating there again. It's been 7 months and I have yet to hear from them... and I haven't been back once. If they were charging $3.00 and refills were free it would be a different story. But I like my soda and I was paying more for Coke than for my burger. It's not an enjoyable meal when I know I'm being screwed while I'm eating it.
There is no excuse for a $5.00 soda and this restaurant knows it. They'll realize their mistake when they CLOSE because people will stop eating there because of it.
March 23, 2008, 9:29 pm
HG from BedStuy says:
I've been going to the Five Spot for years and the $5 coke is a new one to me. The sizes ARE large for drinks typically and the prices on the food or decent.
Malik knows his customer base quite well, unfortunately you can't make all of the Joes of the world happy.
One thing must be said though: read prices before you order.
Definitely go and check out the Five Spot for yourself.
March 24, 2008, 3:54 pm
HA from Clinton Hill says:
Ridiculous storeeeee! I guess Easter Sunday was boring for Dana.
March 24, 2008, 3:55 pm
AG from Clinton Hill says:
Wow! That's front page news? For real? It must be nice to be a writer and not own a business. To put this on the front page of the paper at the beginning of Dine In Brooklyn week is pretty vicious! Is this considered standing up for the people? Terrible!
March 24, 2008, 4 pm
Misscegenation from Greenwood Heights says:
I agree--THIS is the top news story?? Is it a slow news week or what?

But I have to say, I lived around the corner from the 5 Spot for 10 years, and the food is practically inedible. My grandmother and I went there the first time she came to see me when I moved to Clinton Hill in 1998, and we agreed that the food was awful.

(Now THERE'S a woman who knows how to cook soulfood!)

I gave it a few more tries and then gave up. How in the world does that place stay open??
March 24, 2008, 7:01 pm

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