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Of all the items drunkenly stuffed into pants and purses at bars, the copper mug is most like Sauron’s Ring of Power. These precious drinking vessels are one of the most desirable objects among bargoing kleptos, and their theft has reached epidemic levels. They disappear so fast that bars struggle to keep them in stock and even budget to reorder new ones every few months. (The mugs aren’t cheap, at $15 to $25 each.) Lincoln Restaurant tried requiring drinkers to turn in IDs to use its mugs, but dropped the policy after too many people just forgot their IDs. Others, like Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, opted to stop serving drinks in them altogether.
But restaurant thieves—who often assume the items they take didn’t cost a lot, or that the businesses have plenty of replacements—aren’t limited to shiny mugs. Restaurants report rampant theft of glasses, cutlery, paintings, and basically anything that’s not nailed to the wall. Not even the toilet paper is safe.