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Dining at the Bar

mojoeater Mar 21, 2007 01:53 PM

I find that often the best service in a resturant is at the bar. Your drinks are always full, the food comes out quickly, and bartenders either chat with you or leave you alone, depending on what you want.

However, I have friends who just hate sitting at the bar. Even for happy hour. We will go to a place where we know the floor service is slow, and still they prefer a table. And I'm talking about 3-4 people, who can easily hold a conversation at a bar. What's the hangup? I prefer sitting at a table when I want privacy or romance, but the bar is sometimes a lot better for small social outings.

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  1. m
    mike_d RE: mojoeater Mar 21, 2007 01:56 PM

    I agree with you. But I think for some people (and I do find it this way myself sometimes) the linear arrangement at the bar isn't as nice for talking.

    1. MeAndroo RE: mojoeater Mar 21, 2007 02:05 PM

      One thing about happy hour is that it's supposed to be relaxing. I find sitting at a table to be more relaxing because I can lean back in a chair, put my feet up if we have space, and not have to worry about people leaning too close to me at the bar. If it's myself and one or two people, we can do the bar thing, but I often find myself in groups of 6 or more, which makes the bar impossible anyway.

      1. Jacquilynne RE: mojoeater Mar 21, 2007 02:33 PM

        I loathe bar stools. I look like an idiot trying to heft my fat butt up on a bar stool, and then spend my entire time there uncomfortable, since it's impossible to relax on them. Whether dining alone or with others, I'll always opt for chairs where my feet touch the ground.

        1. m
          mojoeater RE: mojoeater Mar 21, 2007 02:39 PM

          It seems to be mostly women who hate bar stools (I'm female, by the way). I'm short and my feet don't hit the rail, but I still prefer to get my drinks quickly and not have to wait for the server to come my way.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mojoeater
            brekkie_fan RE: mojoeater Mar 22, 2007 12:43 AM

            I like it when my feet dangle. And if it's just me and one other person, it's the best place.

          2. nummanumma RE: mojoeater Mar 21, 2007 02:39 PM

            i love to eat at the bar- I always sit at the bar at Acquolina and have also at Colbourne lane- only way I can sit so close to my husband without looking like a fool (can't stand sitting on the same side of the table if we're alone!)

            1 Reply
            1. re: nummanumma
              smartie RE: nummanumma Mar 21, 2007 07:22 PM

              also love to eat at the bar. same reasons as above, easy to get drinks and quicker service for food. plus you can eat appetizers without the server being annoyed you are not eating entrees.

            2. hotoynoodle RE: mojoeater Mar 22, 2007 04:58 AM

              i frequently dine solo, so prefer the bar. with one or two friends, we'll usually eat at the bar. however, some bartenders need to learn the fine art of shut the h*ll up. if we go in and he or she is on, we'll opt for someplace else.

              b/f always prefers a table though.

              4 Replies
              1. re: hotoynoodle
                PDeveaux RE: hotoynoodle Mar 24, 2007 03:45 PM

                I agree that the service at the bar is usually really good. The reason I don't like to eat there is because of that edge or lip that's usually between me and my plate. I'm short so my feet dangle and then I don't have any way to get leverage.

                1. re: PDeveaux
                  hotoynoodle RE: PDeveaux Apr 11, 2007 04:31 AM

                  i'm short too. i was just at a place yesterday where the stools were so low and the bar was so high it was truly uncomfortable. the bar was at chest height. i kept wondering if the wrong size stools arrived before opening and they just decided to keep them, rather than hassling a return. i won't eat at the bar there again!

                2. re: hotoynoodle
                  Perkyshai RE: hotoynoodle Apr 10, 2007 12:22 PM

                  I like eating solo sometimes, with a book. It's a bit of a luxury. Bar is perfect for that, and the bartender won't bother you overly.

                  1. re: Perkyshai
                    soupkitten RE: Perkyshai Apr 11, 2007 01:58 PM

                    i love that too! you usually get better, more immediate service at the bar, which is a huge plus if you're all by yourself. when you're sitting with others at a table, service lapses are much less noticable because you're talking with your companions. i like to eat at the bar alone or with 1 other person and watch how the restaurant works-- very good for evaluating the general competance of the staff of a place that's new to me.

                3. jfood RE: mojoeater Mar 24, 2007 04:36 PM

                  Eating solo on the road a lot, the bar is great, so I have a general liking to the bar.

                  Two people - can be very intimate or an outright disaster. If it is a congenial place it can be very private and cozy for two. Or it could be where there are pushers, yellers, side intruders (the guy who turns sideways and pushes between the two of you to order another drink) and general yutzes and then no fun at all
                  Above two - There will be one or two people who will look like a bobble head from turning to the left and the right and the two people at the end will have a crick intheir respective necks by the end of the evening.

                  So for two people it depends on the bar itself, for more tha two, i like a table.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jfood
                    mojoeater RE: jfood Apr 11, 2007 02:15 PM

                    My SO and I almost always sit at the bar, and have managed to perfect the art of keeping people from pushing between us. And we've gotten to know the bartenders at our favorite spots, so often get freebies!

                  2. momof3 RE: mojoeater Apr 5, 2007 06:46 AM

                    Unless the bar is jampacked, the bar is always my favorite place to eat too.
                    Unlike a server on the floor, the bartender is always in his/her section. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide :) Almost always best service.
                    As a bartender I like to spread the love too of course.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: momof3
                      Linda VH RE: momof3 Apr 5, 2007 07:43 AM

                      The bar for happy hour with a max of 3 people is fine with me. I don't really like to eat at the bar but will if pressed. I spent a week with a friend in Calif. and that is all we did - never sat at a table - what a bore after awhile. JMHO, Linda

                    2. j
                      josephnl RE: mojoeater Dec 16, 2013 07:56 PM

                      We love to eat at a bar, and agree with you completely regarding service for both food and drinks. Although we almost always eat at the bar when it's just the two of us, with three we find it a bit challenging, and would not think of doing it with four…the two end people cannot interact at all.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: josephnl
                        westsidegal RE: josephnl Dec 16, 2013 09:09 PM

                        four people can be accomodated easily if you can find a bar that has a corner: two on one side of the corner, the other two on the 'facing" side.
                        my favorite bar is a "U" shaped bar, so there are two corners with which to work.

                        1. re: westsidegal
                          josephnl RE: westsidegal Dec 16, 2013 09:51 PM

                          Agree completely, but not all bars have corners, and very few restaurants will accept reservations for bar seating, and I know of no way to assure that corner seating will be available.

                          1. re: josephnl
                            westsidegal RE: josephnl Dec 16, 2013 10:20 PM

                            true 'nuf.

                      2. westsidegal RE: mojoeater Dec 16, 2013 09:03 PM

                        i LOVE LOVE LOVE to dine at the bar.
                        i love bars that serve liquor.
                        i love "chef's bars" that look into the kitchen.

                        i just love dining at bars.
                        the food tastes better
                        the booze tastes better
                        dunno exactly why everything is better at a bar.
                        it's completely nonsensical, but it's my strong perception.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: westsidegal
                          James Cristinian RE: westsidegal Dec 21, 2013 01:49 AM

                          ,,,and after a few trips and nice tips the booze usually flows freebie with more and nicer tips.

                          1. re: James Cristinian
                            westsidegal RE: James Cristinian Dec 24, 2013 03:45 PM

                            even without freebies, i like bar service/food more.
                            one of the restaurants on my regular rotation, Lukshon, has a chef's bar that overlooks the kitchen. that bar is my preferred place to sit at Lukshon.

                            the last time i was there, as he was plating my entree, the chef said, "i wonder how many times i've made this steamed cod for you? when i see you walk in the door, i know to get started." for some, completely irrational reason, the steamed cod tasted even better to me after that remark. he gave me the feeling that he was cooking "for me" not just for an anonymous diner.
                            i guess there is "freebie" side helping of "personal connection" that enhances my meals there every time i go.
                            they know what i order and i've taken the time to express what is is about each dish makes it so special/terrific/unique to me.

                            1. re: westsidegal
                              James Cristinian RE: westsidegal Dec 24, 2013 04:31 PM

                              It's not just about the freebies. Bar service is almost always better, especially if the wait staff is made up of college kids.

                              1. re: James Cristinian
                                josephnl RE: James Cristinian Dec 24, 2013 04:42 PM

                                Where I usually go, the bartenders are "old pros" and definitely not kids. They know their "regulars" and are smart enough to always treat them well

                          2. re: westsidegal
                            josephnl RE: westsidegal Dec 21, 2013 10:08 AM

                            +1 ...and the drinks and wine pours are almost always better at the bar, especially when the bartender knows you are a good tipper!

                            1. re: josephnl
                              westsidegal RE: josephnl Dec 24, 2013 03:49 PM

                              sometimes yes and sometimes no.
                              my favorite "neighborhood" bar, the place where "everyone knows your name" never varies in their pour size.
                              every single drink is served to the rim of the glass.
                              obviously, their wine is not "fine" wine and the glasses they use are not designed to leave space for breathing or any such thing.
                              their martinis, their wine, their shots, are all served to the rim all the time.
                              the glassware does the measuring.

                          3. b
                            Burghfeeder RE: mojoeater Dec 20, 2013 04:19 PM

                            I love to eat at the bar! As one that travels alone a lot it just seems more comfortable. I might sit for half an hour before I even order food, and there's always someone to chat with if you desire. Also, I don't feel rushed if I want to sip on a drink while I watch a game or read a newspaper. Luckly, most of my friends are the same way so we usually all want to eat at the bar.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Burghfeeder
                              josephnl RE: Burghfeeder Dec 20, 2013 10:21 PM


                            2. d
                              DebinIndiana RE: mojoeater Dec 20, 2013 05:47 PM

                              We live in the boonies, and several years ago went out in May to a local "good restaurant." We did not know in advance that it was Prom Night at the nearest high school.

                              In Indiana, minors are not allowed to enter the bar. The restaurant was full, but the bar was empty. We enjoyed dinner and seeing all the pretty young people in their tuxes and gowns. The bartender wasn't very busy, either...

                              1. Green_Shartreuse RE: mojoeater Dec 21, 2013 08:58 AM

                                Sans Sharty Jr., it's the bar every time.

                                1. d
                                  DebinIndiana RE: mojoeater Dec 21, 2013 04:25 PM

                                  We went out for a ladies' lunch at work one day and sat in the bar (quickest seating). When I saw my boss that afternoon, he said that he had taken an interviewee out to lunch at the same restaurant "and what did I see? -- all the women in my department hanging out in the bar!"

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