Open Tables

Where Ya At, Seattle?

I always assumed new bars were packed on opening night. I guess I was wrong.

May 12, 2011

I went to a bar on its opening night last night. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever done this because generally people whose job it is to write about bars and restaurants don’t go to the places they write about until said places have had the chance to work their stuff out. But I made an exception and promised myself I wouldn’t evaluate anything, I’d just drink wine and talk to my friends, which I did.

What was funny was this: this brand new bar, centrally located, fairly well hyped, wasn’t crowded at 7pm, or even 8pm. It was about half full, in fact. I always assumed that new bars were mobbed on their first nights. I was apparently wrong.

Come to think of it, though, Seattle bars and restaurants are kind of never crowded. On a recent visit to Chicago I learned that you had to call days ahead to get a reservation at popular restaurants. I waited over a hour to get inside a cocktail lounge. Here, with a couple of exceptions, you can waltz into whatever place you like and claim a table. It’s good because we don’t have to plan, but it would also be nice if there was a little more buzz, wouldn’t it?

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