Honour Bar System At North American Club Lounges – Are Charges For Cheap Liquor Justified?


Most North American hotels of any chain which offer club lounges have established the so called Honour Bar system where you pay a token amount per drink you take from the club bar and mark down the consumption yourself.

Lounge Spirits

Some hotels however go over the top and even declare the cheapest spirits available as ‘Premium Liquor’ in an attempt to make their lounge spread look more sophisticated than it actually is.

It has always been a mystery to me why you have to pay for liquor at club lounges in North America to be honest. I would understand certain legal requirements if state laws prohibit to serve spirits free of charge and without supervision of a barkeeper but this system of Honor Bar is just a scam and money grab.

Here is the consumption coupon from the Hyatt Regency Vancouver I observed this week.

Honour Bar

The description premium spirit is clearly marked and as can be seen in the headline picture there is nothing premium with the type of liquor offered at this club lounge.

Johnny Walker Red Label, Beefeater Gin, Crown Royal Whiskey and Stolichnaya Vodka is really the cheapest stuff available in wholesale and should have no place at a club lounge especially at a brand like Hyatt.

The minimum should be Black Label, Bombay/Tanqueray Gin and Grey Goose if a hotel wants to charge their guests for the consumption of alcohol at a club lounge. Hotels used to offer free drinks at club lounges in Hawaii but that has also been scrapped in recent years, all this while keeping the surcharge for Club Floors high.


What is being offered free of charge at North American lounges doesn’t justify a hefty surcharge in the slightest. Evening snacks that don’t deserve the name and a continental breakfast. The Regency Club at the Hyatt Vancouver is actually one of the better lounges in this regard as the catering has quality and is being prepared by the restaurant of the hotel. The worst you will find in the U.S. where I tend to skip lounges entirely except for a bottle of water on the go.

Are you a frequent user of honour bars at North American club lounges and what is your experience?