I couldn’t care less about the center table. I rarely have a need for the private spot good for a mid-dinner cuddle session. And I’ve got no preference when it comes to bench, booth, or banquette.
But I am, without a doubt, the person sighing miserably when, for whatever reason, I am unable to get my dinner seat of choice, which is, unquestionably and unapologetically, at the bar.
I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere over the course of my tenure as a patron of restaurants, I’ve lost interest in the dining room as a place to enjoy a meal. Accustomed to arriving early for reservations to enjoy a drink while surveying the scene, I oft found myself waxing poetic about some inane topic with a sexy bartender as I enjoyed my apertif. Unsurprisingly, I’d be sad when I was finally led to my table.
The more I dine out, the more I find myself appreciating the very human elements of meals in a restaurant. On occasion, I want the smooth and un-intrusive service that fine dining restaurants strive to provide. While this is usually warm and comfortable, it’s also slightly mechanical and choreographed. This is a compliment; it’s that type of service for which these restaurants strive. Unfortunately for me, while I’m the subject of such an affair, I feel the need to sit up straighter, say smarter things, and make sure I’m using the correct utensil. And woe betide me if I, say, get crumbs on the table, don’t order the chef’s tasting, or drop a fork.
The bar takes the edge off for me. I like to lean on my elbows, interfacing with a human who can talk to me (and my lovely dining companions) about the food, the beverages, the restaurant, and anything else that may come up. I like to feel like it’s okay that I had one cocktail too many. I like to watch part of the process that patrons in the dining room never see. And I like to do all of that while still enjoying the immaculate food of a great restaurant.
Hey, I get the point of Michelin stars. I understand the tight standards of restaurants at the top of the game. And I want to experience those places first hand. But for a girl who prefers the bistro to the flagship 9 times out of 10, the bar, dimly lit and more forgiving of breaking the fine dining rules, is the best place to be.
Front Range fine dining with great bars:
Frasca Food and Wine, 1738 Pearl Street, Boulder CO 80302, 303.442.6966
Colt and Gray, 1553 Platte Street, Denver CO 80202,