Clubs Swap Fancy Liquor for Cheap Booze

Belvedere, Ketel One, or Georgi? Next time you go to the club, you might as well just order well vodka, since likely that's what you'll be drinking, regardless. The New York State Liquor Authority has been fining clubs and high-end bars in New York City for swapping out top-shelf liquor with cheaper booze, as well as for watering down cocktails and failure to maintain health standards. "We may find contaminated liquor or contaminated products, which may include refilling of liquor bottles with inferior liquor or fruit flies contaminating the bottle," said SLA spokesman Michael Smith. Hot spot club Marquee was fined $100,000 in 2008 and music venue BLVD/Crash Mansion paid at least $16,500 over the last year for failure to properly display its liquor license, fruit flies in liquor bottles, and allowing dancing without a cabaret license (paging Kevin Bacon). "The SLA, in my view, jumped on it as nothing more than a revenue-generating matter," said Warren Pesetsky, a lobbyist for the New York Nightlife Association.