Café, Bar, Bistro

Choose one: A café, a bar, or a bistro.
Where would you like to go in this very moment?

Now think of these places called Thursday or Luigi’s or Black Rose with a byline stating “Café – Bistro – Bar”. I’m rarely tempted to visit any of those.

Here’s the thing: If you’re smart, you can build either: A great bar, a great café, a great bistro. Depending on the moment (and company), on my current preferences and desires, I’d be tempted to bring business to any of these places. Most certainly, there’s a great barista in a café. A barkeeper knowing his stuff and mixing amazing cocktails in a bar. A cook preparing humble yet delicious meals in a bistro.

I wouldn’t bet on finding all three of them in the “café – bar – bistro” type of establishment. Most certainly, I wouldn’t find either.

There ain’t just a promise to a brand. There’s a promise to a label, too: If your place has too many of them, the only promise I get is that everything’s going to be mediocre. While each of the labels speaks for itself, the only information I get from the combination of all three is that I probably won’t get a candlelight dinner.1 But then, what do I get that’s really worth my money and my time?

And Writing?

How telling is this post for a guy writing about “personal sovereignty, (un)productivity and living an interesting life”!

The truth is that specialists have their place in the world. Just as much as generalists and dilettantes do.

So here’s another take on this issue: In any decent café, bar or bistro you can chat with good friend about a broad range of topics. I’d like The Friendly Anarchist to be that place.

  1. For what it’s worth, I’m told that “Sea View: Café – Bar – Bistro – Restaurant” does indeed still exist in a small town at the German Baltic Sea coast. []


  1. The humble British pub – often (but not always) the rural ones – is another good place to sit and chat with friends. It’s a shame so many of them have become motivated by, or forced to embrace, the money to be made from serving food. Previously traditional pubs have adopted the restaurant model to the extent that they can no longer be considered a place to go and simply have a drink at a quiet table in the corner.

    Thankfully, our local has converted one room to a restaurant and kept the bar the same as it has always been. They’ve employed chefs who do the menu and they largely keep separate bar and waitressing staff. The pub is the pub, the restaurant is small but excellent, and whether I want a pint or a meal or both, I know I’ll be well served. I get the feeling it is the exception rather than the rule, however!

    1. Sounds like a good place to go to, Paul, and a very viable business idea. Giving separate care to each area most certainly makes this pub-restaurant a lot more enjoyable than others. That said, I guess they’re better off not becoming a café, too. That probably wouldn’t fit in too well! ;)

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