Booths may be the most popular seating option at restaurants, but dining at the bar has more benefits than you may realize. Here are five.
1. You'll receive faster service
Wait staff that serve the main dining floor have several to many tables each, and it's sometimes difficult to receive the attention you need when their hands are literally full throughout your experience at that restaurant. That's not to say that the bar doesn't get busy too – it does – but at least there you have a dedicated bartender or more who is constantly scanning the length to see who needs what. Lock eyes or raise a finger and you're good to go.
The bar also is a better option if you're in a hurry. You usually receive your food and drinks much faster compared to sitting at a full-service table or booth, which can be helpful if you need to dine and dash – after you've paid for everything (plus tip!), of course.
2. Eye candy is up close and personal
I can't confirm that bartenders are hired based on their appearance related to the type of clients the establishment serves, but when have you ever been to a gay or gay-friendly bar or restaurant where the hired guns didn't have a pair of their own to gawk at? Thus, if you enjoy sucking on a little eye candy – proverbially speaking – while satisfying your nutritional cravings, belly up.
3. Food and drinks are often cheaper
I practice what I preach in my other life as a personal finance expert, and I'm always looking for deals and discounts when I dine out. The best way to score those savings is usually at happy hour, which requires bar seating to qualify for limited-time food and drinks specials. Even outside of happy hour, bar-only menus typically features lesser-priced items than the regular menu. Making a meal out of a couple of those dishes will save you cash over buying a full-fledged entrée.
4. You can be more affectionate and romantic
My boyfriend and I almost exclusively sit at the bar when we dine out, save for a couple special occasions a year where we like to switch it up and be a bit more traditional at a cozy table. What we both love about bar seating is that we can be closer than if we were seated opposite another. We like to canoodle, put our arms around each other's shoulders, and rest our hands on each other's thighs. The seemingly inconsequential decision on where to sit when we dine out helps us maintain a certain closeness – figuratively and literally – which is very important to our relationship. Spending an hour or two at the bar is a simple way to accomplish that.
5. You'll meet new people and make new friends
My boyfriend was a server at a restaurant when I met him while dining at the bar with a couple buddies, so, yeah, I'm a bit biased on its benefits, but you can't deny that in a restaurant setting the bar is where social people make connections. I've met friends, business contacts, one-night stands and long-term lovers while noshing on half-price apps and dollar-off drafts at the bar, connections I would have denied myself dining in another location.