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How long can I stay at a table in a restaurant after finishing my food?
In Europe the answer would be: AS LONG AS YOU WANT. For anyone who’s traveled, you know most restaurants take that to the extreme, making it damn near impossible to even ask for the check when you’re finally ready to leave. Europeans believe a restaurant should be treated as an extension of your home, even if that means you stay at your table well past the time when most of the staff would like to leave.
Here in the States, however, expectations are different. Though many of us would love to say, “They do it in Europe this way, we should, too,” that isn’t reflective of reality. Here, turnover is key if a restaurant wants to be able to afford its rent and pay its staff. Therefore, out of patriotism and also the desire to be a good person, I try to stick to this general rule:
If you’ve paid the bill and there is no more food or drink on the table, try to get up within five to 10 minutes of paying. But if you’ve paid the bill and there is still wine or other drinks left, it is totally fair to give yourself at least a half hour, and then to get up to leave. Finally, if you are done with your meal but you’re having a good time and people want to continue ordering drinks, it’s totally within your rights as well as good etiquette to stay as long as you’re still ordering and consuming food or beverages, provided you aren’t making a scene or getting so inebriated that you’re bothering other people.
If the bartender comes to serve me before someone who’s been waiting longer than I have, can I give him my order? Or do I have to let the other person order first?
Some believe the bar is a jungle, albeit an urban one. These people believe it’s every man or woman for themselves inside this cutthroat environment. But I like to think we live in a polite society. That means that even if the bartender comes to you first, the correct thing to do would be to defer your order to the person who’s been standing there longer. This isn’t always possible; the bar might be loud, or the bartender simply may not care. But if you can, let them order first, and then order your drink when the bartender brings them theirs. You will have made the world a better place.
Why is red wine served in larger glasses?
You don’t have to serve a red in a red glass. Here at VinePair, we are big believers in drinking whatever and however you damn well please. But if you decide you want to drink red wine from a red wine glass, you may be wondering why a red glass is larger than a white one. It’s so that the wine can more easily open up and give off its aromas. As opposed to white wine, red wine has tannins — compounds that come from grape skins and give wine its lovely acerbic quality. Those compounds also need more aeration or contact with oxygen in order to really blossom. More surface area means more contact with oxygen, wine’s ultimate frenemy, which is why you’d want more of that contact with red wines than whites — ergo, bigger glasses.
It also makes swirling easier, less messy, and — most importantly — very classy.