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Jan 3, 2012 10:38 AM

Cocktails placed on plates? Etiquette question

At an upscale restaurant this past weekend, our table started with a round of drinks. Each of our cocktails were placed in front of us in the center of large plates that were on our table already. I have eaten at many nice restaurants and never saw this before. Can cocktails be placed on the place setting plates? We each had a bread plate and used the place setting plates for the appetizers then they were cleared as our dinner was served. It made me nervous to have a martini glass directly in front of me (for fear of knocking it over!) and I moved mine from the plate was that acceptable? What were these plates for?

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  1. Personally, I have not had this happen to me. I would only be bothered by it, if I was then expected to use the plate later for a food item. Just because I have no clue where the bottom of the glass was before it went on my plate. Along the same lines I *hate* when the server brings my coffee to the table with the small dish of creamer perched onto of the cup. I always send that back for a clean cup.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Quine

      I was also bothered by the cleanliness factor!
      Absolutely hate it when diners bring out breakfasts literally stacked on one another!

    2. I've never seen this, and I tend to favor places with craft cocktail programs. Weird.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LeoLioness

        It's reassuring that others have not seen this!
        Whats so funny is my friends at the table just went along with it, which made me convinced I was the only one not in the know...making me not wanting to ask... haha

      2. Can they? Yes. Should they? Depends upon if they're those sloppy cocktail--the ones that are filled to the brim--though I would hope a cocktail napkin was put down first. But have to say it wouldn't bother me.

        1. The practice of putting drinks on show plates is very common in my area of New York and New Jersey at better restaurants .....and almost always at fine catered affairs. The show plates are removed before first course...or the first course is placed atop the show plate.

          5 Replies
          1. re: fourunder

            fourunder, you've got it just right. These plates are called chargers and they are used exactly as you said.

            1. re: Gail

              thanks...I get lucky once in a while.

              : 0 )

              1. re: Gail

                Okay so it is acceptable to put the cocktail on the charger (they didn't use a cocktail napkin), but is also okay if I move it. I assume they should have placed another plate on top of the charger when our appetizers arrived...

                1. re: WhatsEatingYou

                  Yes, this is correct. Chargers are not supposed to be used for food. Rather, they go under the plates that contain the food and are themselves removed after the first course. This is how it used to be, anyway. Now, I'm not so sure people agree on the "rules" of etiquette because it seems like anything goes!

                  1. re: Isolda

                    I seriously just learned what a charger was, like, last month. I was shopping for a Christmas party and found what appeared to be pretty, cheap, festive-looking plates. I got to the register and realized they said "not for food" and was totally confused.

            2. seems weird to me, the proper place for a drink is right hand side just above the knife. If my drink was placed on my plate I would move it right away, for one thing I would probably knock it over with my hand or the menu.