Community Table, Part II: Dine at the Bar

A few months back, my family and I had sort of a funny weekend experience.  We eat out quite a bit and that weekend was no exception.

On Friday, afternoon, I scrambled to make a reservation at one of our local favorites, Lidia’s (a delicious Lidia Bastianich restaurant), and was thrilled to get a table for three, no problem.  We arrived at the appointed hour and discovered that the place was completely jammed up!  The hostess apologized profusely, but it was clear, we weren’t going to be seated any time soon; she encouraged us to wait in the bar.  Once there, the bar tender said, “Hey, guys, I have three seats for you on the corner – why don’t you let me feed you right here?”  Well, you don’t have to ask me twice!  We bellied right up to the bar and ordered salads, pasta… the works!  That’s when a miraculous thing happened… the fellow sitting to my left, who was with his teenaged daughter, too, started up a conversation with us.  We talked about schools and the kids’ specific interests; we discussed great restaurants and where they like to go as a family.  By the time we’d had our fill of food and drink, we had made a couple of new friends.  When they got up to leave, we all shook hands, exchanged names and agreed that it would be fun to see them again back at Lidia’s where they apparently eat “once a week!”

It was such an enjoyable evening.  We definitely got in some family time for just the three of us and also loved the added bonus of our unexpected discussion with the father and his daughter.

The next night, our son had plans with some friends, so Marc and I decided to grab dinner and a movie.  Once again, I looked on my mobile app to get a reservation, and to my astonishment, I was able to find a table for two at just the right time at a little bistro called Carmen’s Cafe in Brookside.  They were also experiencing a computer glitch because when we arrived, the hostess, with sincere regret, told us there was, in fact, no table, but that she had saved us two seats at the bar!  Marc and I glanced at each other with a knowing look based on our experience from the night before and agreed to her Plan B (B for bar?).

Honestly, we were not looking to strike up a conversation with anyone, but once again, the couple sitting next to us engaged us.  They were both relatively new to Kansas City – in fact, one had just moved to the U.S. from Colombia that week!  We laughed and laughed, shared a few stories, exchanged contact information and determined that we would soon meet for sushi at a cool place downtown.  (As of this writing, that hasn’t transpired, but I will keep you posted!)

So, two nights in a row, two dinners at the bar, two new sets of friends, two great evenings out.  The lessons here:

  1. You never know who you might encounter at the counter. Take a chance.
  2. Be open to new friendships. The community aspect to eating out can be fun-filled and informative.

Next week:  Yet another type of Community Table for you to sit at or for you to invite others to sit at…

Happy Networking!

4 thoughts to “Community Table, Part II: Dine at the Bar”

  1. Over the years, some of my best connections have been made while dining at the bar at fine dining restaurants. I recommend this practice to my career coaching clients. Great article Alana!

  2. I used to experience that in DC on business trips. There was a famous bartender at the Capital Grille who would turn his lunch crowds into tribes. It was awesome!

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