One of the things I hate about bars, is a cover charge.
It's hard to write about something that I don't like without winding up sounding like a whining little bastard. I was about to remove everything below this paragraph, but figured I'd keep it available. I'll work further on this later. But the main points are below.
When I go out, I select a bar based on the beverage selection. Even though I provide the entertainment listings for the bars, here on the blog, I know that the reason bars have entertainment is to get people in the door and have them spend money on drinks or food.
I believe that bands should play for tips, and not for a flat rate. If you (the consumer) like what you are hearing, give them the money; if you don't like them, vote with your wallet. A bar shouldn't have to pay a band to come in to play. A patron shouldn't have to pay money to hear something they may or may not like. If the band is good enough to draw a crowd, sell tickets.
Some of the excuses given for charging a cover are: we have to pay the entertainment; we have to pay for the extra staff; people who come in don't buy enough.