Wedged a*s to elbow in the center of a packed dining room, moving my fork and knife in tiny, jerky motions to avoid bumping my neighbors, I’m consumed by a single thought: Why the hell didn’t I sit at the bar?
The bar is where it’s at. This is not a new development: Think of Grand Central Oyster Bar in Manhattan, your corner bistro, every diner ever, sushi houses, and hole-in-the-wall yakitori joints. Spain and Japan have understood the superiority of bar dining for decades. But America’s best restaurants are only just starting to catch on.
I’ve always been a huge fan of sitting at the bar. I love talking to seasoned bartenders, and learning all about their craft. I also make it a point to learn and address them by their first name, which in my experience goes a long way to earning their trust. Bartenders are some of the most insightful people around, and they often have great stories to go along with a perfectly chilled Martini. You really can’t beat that.