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Communal tables at restaurants - your opinion please?

I know restaurateurs read these posts and I just wanna say...

I hate communal tables. Is the idea to have a dinner party with strangers? Hook ups?

I really hate them when I have to sit on a bench. Hard to get into, hard to get out of when someone is next to you. And impossible to have a private conversation. Especially if the joint has nasty acoustics.

I don't mind a "lively" room, I don't mind raising my voice a bit, but some of these places are like eating during a prison riot. Maybe works for the right group ("rowdy movie sets", etc)...?

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  1. if you include food bars and counters as communal tables, i disagree with you.
    i love the chef's bar at lukshon that overlooks the kitchen.
    also love the bar at settebello MDR that gives you a view of their pizza oven.
    also, have no problem whatsoever with the communal tables at gjelina.

    agree about the benches though. what could they be thinking putting benches at a communal table?
    i eschew all benches.

    1. Don't like sharing a table and would generally avoid such places. There is, however, a very small mini-chain which I like which has them. But they're never that busy that sharing is a regular occurance. But they commit the second cardinal sin of having bench seating - this may be OK for young folk, but for old farts with arthritic backs it's not good.

      1. I agree, I won't go back to a restaurant with communal tables. If I want group dining, I'll invite my own friends.

        I usually dine out with my SO and want to enjoy a private conversation. I really don't want to listen to others private conversations and there is no way to avoid it. Yuk.

        1. Often I don't want to share a table, but there are some types of restaurants where is it part of the atmosphere. It is fine, and part of the experience, in certain restaurants, like a place in a small town where they do country cooking and serve it home-style, (think Lancaster County, PA,) a really good bbq place in the South, a "crab shack" at the beach or a lively German Bauhaus in the Mid-west.

          Benches definitely kill my back, but are OK if the rest of the experience is worth the discomfort.

          1. Communal seating is a great option to have. Just had a fantastic dinner this week with a previously complete stranger. We ordered together, shared everyhting, and it was a wonderful experience.