Take a big gulp, New York: Hizzoner is about to give you a pop.
Nanny Bloomberg unleashes his ban on large sodas on March 12 – and there are some nasty surprises lurking for hardworking families.
Say goodbye to that 2-liter bottle of Coke with your pizza delivery, pitchers of soft drinks at your kid’s birthday party and some bottle-service mixers at your favorite nightclub.
They’d violate Mayor Bloomberg’s new rules, which prohibit eateries from serving or selling sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.
Bloomberg’s soda smackdown follows his attacks on salt, sugar, trans fat, smoking and even baby formula.
The city Health Department last week began sending brochures to businesses that would be affected by the latest ban, including restaurants, bars and any “food service” establishment subject to letter grades.
And merchants were shocked to see the broad sweep of the new rules.
“It’s not fair. If you’re gonna tell me what to do, it’s no good,” said Steve DiMaggio of Caruso’s in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. “It’s gonna cost a lot more.”
And consumers, especially families, will soon see how the rules will affect their wallets – forcing them to pay higher unit prices for smaller bottles.
Typically, a pizzeria charges $3 for a 2-liter bottle of Coke. But under the ban, customers would have to buy six 12-ounce cans at a total cost of $7.50 to get an equivalent amount of soda.
“I really feel bad for the customers,” said Lupe Balbuena of World Pie in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
Domino’s on First Avenue and 74th Street on the Upper East Side is doing away with its most popular drink sizes: the 20-ounce and 2-liter bottles.
“We’re getting in 16-ounce bottles – and that’s all we’re going to sell,” a worker said.
He said the smaller bottles will generate more revenue for the restaurant but cost consumers more.
It will also trash more plastic into the environment.
Deliveryman Philippe Daniba said he had brought countless 2-liter bottles of soda to customers over his 19 years at the restaurant. The ban, he said, “doesn’t make sense.”
Industry-group officials agreed.
“It’s ludicrous,” said Robert Bookman, a lawyer for the New York City Hospitality Alliance. “It’s a sealed bottle of soda you can buy in the supermarket. Why can’t they deliver what you can get in the supermarket?”
Families will get pinched at kid-friendly party places, which will have to chuck their plastic pitchers because most hold 60 ounces – even though such containers are clearly intended for more than one person.
Changes will be made at the Frames bowling alley in Times Square, where 26-ounce pitchers are served at kids’ parties, said manager Ayman Kamel.
“We’re going to try to get creative,” he said, noting drinks with 100 percent juice are exempt from the ban.
“We’re figuring out a way to have freshly squeezed juice for the birthday parties. We might have to raise the price about a dollar or so.”
Dallas BBQ at 1265 Third Ave. will retire its 60-ounce pitchers and 20-ounce glasses, manager Daisy Reyes said.
“We have to buy new glasses,” she said. “We’re in the process.”
And if you’re looking for a night of bottle service at a Manhattan hot spot, be warned: Spending $300 on a bottle of vodka no longer entitles you to a full complement of mixers.
The carafes in which mixers are typically served hold 32 ounces, and the most common mixers – sodas, cranberry juice and tonic water – will be limited. Only water and 100 percent juice will be unlimited.
“Oh, my God. Seriously?” said Lamia Sunti, owner of the swanky West Village club Le Souk Harem. “It’s not like one person is going to be drinking the whole carafe. It’s silly.”
The rules are hard to unravel.
Alcoholic drinks and diet sodas are not subject to the ban, nor are fruit smoothies if they don’t have added sweetener, or coffee drinks and milkshakes if made with 50 percent milk.
But what about drinks with small amounts of added sugar? Vendors must determine if the beverages have more than 3.125 calories per ounce.
But they should double-check their math: Violations cost $200 each.