Two weeks since the Harmonized Sales Tax kicked in, restaurants in British Columbia are gauging the effect of the controversial new tax.

At Vancouver's Winking Judge Pub, alcohol has actually become less expensive.

"You get a savings now, instead of being 10 per cent provincial tax and a five per cent federal tax adding up to 15 per cent, with the harmonized tax it's now down to 12," pub owner Michael Gould told CTV News.

While booze buyers may be benefitting, Gould says there is a flip side.

"The food side of our business is suffering because of the huge increase in tax on all food products," he said.

But at Rogue Kitchen and Wetbar the experience is different.

"I haven't really felt an impact to be honest. The customers that get the bills for tourists, it's a lot simpler because they see one tax, there's not two taxes to explain," general manager Carl McCreath said. "We've found people are still eating out; there hasn't really been a change in sales."

Premier Gordon Campbell believes the tax will still help boost businesses.

"Whenever there's change people are going to be a little frightened of the change and wondering how it's going to impact them, but for example, people who are expanding their restaurants are seeing substantial savings," he said.

Former premier Bill Vander Zalm, the man leading the campaign against the HST, says it's hard to determine the effects of the tax during tourist season.

"Tourists don't know when they get here that there's a tax and they have to pay it because they're eating, and I think the restaurants hardest hit are those catering to families and to people who can't afford to go to the high-end places," he said.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Maria Weisgarber