DAILY MAIL — The notorious Mykonos beach bar repeatedly accused of forcing tourists to pay sky-high prices warns locals away because 'it's expensive', yet charges them just a fraction of what unsuspecting holidaymakers are charged.
A string of customers - all foreign tourists - told DailyMail.com that they were 'scammed' in the past week after being forced to shell out hundreds of euros at DK Oyster, a beachfront restaurant on the ritzy Greek Island.
All the victims told how they were not informed of prices before they ordered and were intimidated by burly waiters when handed their bills. Several claimed they were lured into the bar by touts promising them free use of sunbeds if they bought just one drink each.
You may be thinking you recognize this story — that you can't remember reading any specifics about it, but there's some fuzzy, distant familiarity about Greece and a bar and some outrageous prices and tourists complaining. That's probably because this one spot has been running the same "pillage the tourists" ruse for years, with unsuspecting and clueless victims getting their bank accounts wiped out and running to the media for at least half a decade.
DK first came to attention when an American family got stuck with a $800 bill for six plates of calamari, six beers, three chicken Caesar salad starters, two bottle of water and a glass of tomato juice.
There was a Seattle woman whose group of friends was charged $1,640 for one plate of calamari and one lobster pasta, salad and bread.
There was a Texas mother and her teenage daughter who were on the hook for $641 for two crab legs and two mojitos.
A New Jersey couple was shaken down for $557 for a dozen oyster and four drinks.
Most recently, a couple of Canadian newlyweds who stopped in for a "quick snack" got hit with a $410 bill for one beer, one cocktail and a dozen oysters.
And the Daily Mail team themselves: When DailyMail.com visited the restaurant we were charged €212.50 for a plate of fried potatoes, two beers, six oysters and bottle of mineral water which was never ordered.
If you're not presently planning a vacation to Mykonos or especially interested in web articles about foreign restaurant pricing, chances are you just did some quick headline scans and assumed there was just a lot of reporting about one or two instances. Slow news summer. But in addition to the six separate stories above, the DK Oyster Bar has a putrid 2.5 on TripAdvisor with hundreds and hundreds of horrible, enraged reviews (if you're a frequent TripAdvisor visitor you know that their user base is overwhelmingly optimistic and easy to please, and will give a place 5 stars because the pool bathroom quickly replaced the toilet paper or the concierge gave them a correct phone number to make their own reservation. They'd probably give Hell a 3).
Finally the intrepid reporters at the Daily Mail took a break from rummaging through the Queen's royal garbage and giving unsolicited opinions on American policy to set up a sting operation on the hated home of the thousand-dollar seafood appetizer. It took them like 5 minutes to get the owner on camera laughing about charging "wannabe influencers" wildly inflated prices made up on the spot:
When local shop worker Costas, 32, carried out a test for DailyMail.com to see whether locals would be charged the same high prices at the bar when ordering in Greek, he was warned away by staff because the 'prices were very high'.
He said: 'They brought me a cocktail after I had ordered in Greek. I had told them that I lived in Mykonos and was a local man like they were. 'They first said to me that I shouldn't come into the bar, as the prices were very high and that I might not be able to afford it. As we got talking, they became friendly and served me with a cocktail in a glass which had a rim which was probably the diameter of a football.'
'One waiter said it was lucky I wasn't a tourist, as my drink would've been three times the price and one of the bar staff laughed loud.
DK Oyster owner Dimitrios Kalamara has blasted people who complain about their bill as 'wannabe influencers' trying to gain attention.
That "Wannabe Influencers" drop lit my brain up like drugs to an addict — the Hot Take center of my amygdala practically forced the opinions out of my fingertips. FUCK influencers! Has the correlation between "ease of job" and "amount of complaining" ever been more fucked up in any other industry? Here's an idea Influencers: instead of filming yourself twerking to Dua Lipa for a Tik Tok during English class, maybe pay attention so you learn how to read a menu. Math class too so you'll understand how the numbers on there will add to each other as they combine. You won't increase your followers but you'll maybe avoid decreasing your entire bank account for a margarita and an oyster.
But then, something came over me, something inexplicable and self-destructive, and I did the worst thing a blogger can possibly do: I read the full story. Not only that, but I actively considered the other side. So at the risk of getting fired (again), I've reduced my take to lukewarm — maybe even room temperature.
Yes, of course: you should ask to see prices before you order anything. Obviously if they just flat out refuse to tell you, you should not order at all and leave. There is a significant lack of common sense in these stories that is hard to defend. But that doesn't change the fact that what this restaurant is allegedly doing is fucked up and shady, and wrong.
Because in all fairness, there is a generally universal price expectation for "having a drink", a common-sense range based on where you are — maybe it's like $3-$8 a beer for a dingy dive bar, $12-$20 at a bougie Manhattan cocktail bar. An oceanfront tourist-trap restaurant in Mykonos? You'd better be extra flexible, and have a full wallet.
I would say $1,640 for one plate of calamari, one lobster pasta, salad and bread falls outside the bounds of that unwritten social contract.
There's no high-tech trickery or elaborate scam at work here: just some pressure, intimidation, manipulation, and some good old-fashioned bullying:
DailyMail.com witnessed the bar's all-male staff who dress in black trying to snare tourists walking past by enticing them with offers of sunbed-use if they purchased a single drink.
A waiter in a nearby restaurant who asked not to be named said: 'My advice is not to go in there as they make people pay too much money by scaring them.'
'The guy came back with a huge trolley of desserts and he says 'so of course we're having cake today' and starts putting different desserts on our table and we said we didn't want them and he started getting offended that we didn't want to take them so I can see how people would be pressured to take more.
'As we kept refusing what he was trying to give us he was getting more frustrated.
…The couple also claim that rather than presenting them with the bill at the table, carpenter Alex was taken to a back room to pay and when he asked for a breakdown, they showed him their computer screen which was all in Greek. Lindsay says her new husband settled the bill without arguing as he wanted to avoid a confrontation. 'He definitely felt intimidated and he's the friendliest guy so even if the bill was double he probably would have paid it to avoid any problems.' 1
…'Mrs McCormick said: 'when we got the bill, it was around €500. She said when they complained 'a group of big, hulking men' surrounded them until they agreed to pay. 'They have no female waiters,' she added.
'Everyone knows everyone on this beach. We just tell our customers and those staying in hotels here to stay away from there. They are not nice people in there.'
There are, to be clear, plenty examples of the aforementioned people, people lacking the common-sense gene; the ones who are—and I mean no offense by this—just kind of stupid.
Danish nurses Amanda Miehs and Almma Rasmussen from Copenhagen were left close to tears after being asked to pay €533 for one Mojito, a Red Bull energy drink and two plates of moussaka and calamari.
Amanda, 28, told DailyMail.com: 'We were passing that bar and they offered us the use of sunbeds for myself and Almma if we bought a drink.
'The beach was very crowded as the sunbeds in the other bars were very busy, so we accepted.
But for the most part, it's a simple but devastatingly effective ruse based on intimidation and taking advantage of people who just want to enjoy their vacation.
Christine, 58, who is the director of a renewable energy firm said: 'When they brought us the margaritas, they were in huge glasses filled to the rim.
'I thought there was no way at all that we could drink those empty and I wondered if there might be some ulterior motive by the bar.
She said she and her husband could not finish their massive cocktails before the sobering moment when they asked for the bill: 'More than €400 they asked for! I was shocked and thought the bill for that one hour was more than our flights to and from Paris as I had booked them six months before.
'The bill also had an added €50 as a tip. I thought, 'What for?' All they did was serve us once and the man at the front who was wearing all black had stared at us through his dark shades the whole time and made us feel very uncomfortable.
Working in renewables, Christine is at least used to the idea of overpromising and underdelivering while intimidating people into paying humongous amounts of money for shitty products as their quality of life declines. But other people have no idea, and don't deserve to be shaken down by a Busboy Mafia that nobody will step in and do anything about.
For the owner's part — the "Wannabe Influencers" guy — he vigorously denies the charges that he's ripping people off. 2,000 bucks seems like a lot if it's framed as just for 2 appetizers….but that leaves out the fact you can see water while you eat them.
DK Oyster boss Mr Kalamaras has consistently been unrepentant about his prices, insisting that they are justified by the quality of his food and the stunning beach-side location.
He denied customers' claims that they are not told prices before they step inside, saying he had positioned blackboards at the entrance to the restaurant displaying his prices.
Mr Kalamaras accused many of his reviewers on TripAdvisor of lying.
I read through about 100 reviews, as well as the article I'm writing about, which details their firsthand experience of literally exactly what everyone is complaining about. But as a fair guy who is determined to bring objectivity back to journalism, I will allow for the possibility of a worldwide conspiracy involving powerful deep-state forces attempting to bring down DK's Oyster Bar. Covert operators historically have focused on things like initiating regime change in a foreign country, dismantling clandestine nuclear programs. Important stuff like that. Employing bots to flood the TripAdvisor dot com page of a small Greek oyster bar and tanning salon with negative reviews and food criticism doesn't seem to have the same importance…
but maybe that's exactly what they want me to think?
… Lindsay says her new husband settled the bill without arguing as he wanted to avoid a confrontation. 'He definitely felt intimidated and he's the friendliest guy so even if the bill was double he probably would have paid it to avoid any problems.'
1 In defense of Lindsay's husband, who no doubt comes across as kind of a total pussy here, I will just say there is only one country in the world where I have been punched in the face, and it is Greece. By an employee of the service industry too — a bouncer (it was decidely not a love tap). A mouthy and drunkenly obnoxious college kid channeling Leslie Mann in Knocked Up, there is no world in which I did not fully deserve every inch of that fist obliterating my face. I'm just saying threats in Greece tend not to be empty.