My husband and I have been going out to dinner on Saturday nights for many years now, and our favorite thing to do is to sit at a bar in a nice restaurant while having a drink or two and eating some good food. It’s our opportunity to relax and converse in an intimate atmosphere, away from our everyday world. Now sometimes we’ll spring for a more expensive dinner for a special occasion and sit down at a table. And there are other times when we stop in that local dive bar near our home where we just love their chicken wings. But our standby Saturday night date is sitting at a bar in a nice restaurant. We look forward to it all week. Here are some factors that we think make up a good restaurant bar.
First and foremost, is probably the ambience. That means the lights should be dim in the bar area. It makes for a more intimate feel, and besides everybody looks good in the dark, eh? One of our favorite bars did a little remodeling that turned out to be disastrous, in our opinion. This was a place that had the very best atmosphere. It was dark and intimate, but with lots of twinkly white lights everywhere which had a festive feel to it no matter what season it was. The owner must have had a spurt of insanity, because he decided to blow out an entire wall and put large windows there. Now if we get there a little too early in the summer months, sunlight is still peeking in those windows which is a no-no for Saturday date night. And if we’re there when it’s dark outside, the headlights from the cars coming in and out of the parking lot are distracting as well. The windows were a big mistake in our opinion.
I’d also like to mention two words that are very important and near and dear to my heart, and that is Central Air. We want to be comfortable when we’re sitting there, and sweating is uncomfortable and unsexy. So please, when it’s the warmer months, please crank up the air.
So after we walk in and see that the place has good ambience and cool air, the next thing we hope for is comfortable bar stools. And I’ll give a hint to bar/restaurant owners, and here it is. Hard, wooden bar stools are not comfortable. Help us out a little and have some padding on the seats. We may even sit there a little longer if our bottoms are all comfy.
Then after we’re seated, the next thing I hope for is those little hooks placed under the bar counter for our pocketbooks. If bar owners only knew how much women appreciated them, they would all do it. It can’t cost much money, but it makes things so much easier for us ladies. Being able to place your purse on a hook right in front of you is better than having to put it on the counter, or the floor, or the back of your chair. It’s safer on a hook right between your knees. It’s one of those little courteous things a bar can do that us women appreciate.
Another important thing is how well the place is taken care of and that includes cleanliness. No sticky bar counters, no smudges on the glasses, and no bits of food stuck on to the utensils. Cleanliness extends to the ladies room too. When us girls visit there, we don’t want to be thinking of bacteria and germs. We want the ladies room to smell clean, and have everything in working order. And please have the paper towel holders and toilet paper dispensers filled up too. Nice lighting or a candle or two wouldn’t hurt in there either. It’ll make us feel a bit pampered.
Let’s talk about the bartenders. We’ve had great ones and terrible ones. We think the most important factor in a good bartender is for them to be attentive. Two weeks ago, we went to a new place and there were two young girl bartenders. They obviously didn’t feel like being there, and we spent the next hour or so, trying to flag them down for our next drink or to order our food. One bartender was talking to a cute guy sitting at the bar, and the other one was talking and/or texting on her cell phone. So hubby and I, along with the other bar patrons, were feeling annoyed, which is infringing on our quest to feel relaxed and stress free for the night. Bartenders, please acknowledge our presence from time to time. That’s all we ask.
And last, but certainly not least, is having good food. Restaurant bars tend to have actual cooks making the food instead of some high school kid playing chef to make a few extra bucks on the weekend. It makes a difference. At one of the nicer bar/restaurants that we frequent, it’s also nice that we can order a fancy steak dinner and still sit at the bar where we’re comfortable, or we can order a good burger and fries and enjoy it right where we’re sitting as well. Some weeks we have more money to spend than other weeks, so we like having that choice.
Some day when I win the lottery, I’m going to open up a bar/restaurant of my own. I know just how I’ll decorate it too. I’ll have pretty hanging Tiffany lamps on dimmers all around a big circular bar, not to mention lots of tiny twinkly white lights placed here and there. I’ll also have some candles lit to add to the romantic atmosphere. Good music will be playing in the background. It won’t be old fogey music and it won’t be screechy loud music. It will be modern, contemporary songs, but played in a volume where people can still talk to one another. Then I’ll hire a chef who knows how to not only make a good chicken marsala, but he’ll make the best pizza too with lots of cheese. Oh and fancy glasses for everyone. Anything you drink out of a fancy glass tastes special. Of course the bar will have comfortable seats, and there will also be small round tables and chairs surrounding the bar as well. Now if I can just win that Powerball this week, I’ll invite everyone over to hang out when my bar/restaurant opens. I love to dream.