Bring Back Restaurant Chairs

Not long ago, I blogged about the demise of the china plate in our bars and restaurants. Replaced by everything from slate, wood and stone, food is even served on shovels and in baseball caps these days! Well, the same is happening to furnishings.

Why has the ordinary, common or garden chair with four legs, a seat and a back gone out of fashion in our eateries?  Suddenly, there are beanbags, salvaged church pews, beer barrels, bicycle saddles, deckchairs, school benches, and car and subway seats infesting the UK's restaurants and pubs. Why do I want to sit on any of these? They are not dining chairs, they are not comfortable, they are not the right height for a table and not, especially the beanbag and the deckchair an aid to digestion. Yet at every trip to a restaurant of late, I am presented with some new curiosity to sit on, or should I say, 'squat 'on.

Equally, do I want to sit at a modified Singer sewing machine on which my super food salad has been perched? My knees pressed against the ironwork logo and my feet jammed under the pedals of the artfully distressed Singer table. What about the Gloucestershire cafe offering customers the comfort of a straw bale on which to enjoy the sensation of prickles sticking into your bottom. I told my wife not to wear that tweed skirt! Or what about the delight of a little enamel milking stool bought in bulk from a Shrewsbury junk shop?

So let's eat at the bar instead, despite making the restaurant booking three weeks ago and having to wait on the automated booking line for 20 minutes, listening to Handel's water-music. Well, any women will tell you about how undignified it is sitting on a high stool at a bar, balancing a handbag on the lap, legs dangling in the air and eating spaghetti carbonara.

I just want an ordinary chair. It doesn't have to be expensive, nor grand, just normal, sensible and fit for purpose. While some may commend restaurateurs for their ingenuity and keeping vintage shops and car booters in business, I might enjoy my banoffee pie more if I wasn't distracted by a rusty nail and a splinter from an Evesham fruit crate poking into my thigh.

Thanks to Laura Freeman for sharing her London experience.   


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