5/10/2012 03:00:00 PM

Restaurant Debates: Do You Get Better Service At The Bar?

Service always ranks as the number one complaint in most of our restaurant surveys. If the eateries are not going to bone up and improve their game, can you do something about it? Well, maybe you can sit at the bar, according to one of our editors. Dining at the bar may not be as comfortable as spreading out at a table, but what you sacrifice in space you may make up for in service. Or not. Check out the debate between our two editors below, and let us know if you've had better or worse service at the bar in the comments.

James: One of my friends was complaining the other day about service when went out to dinner. The waiters were slow and weren't paying attention to her. This is why I always sit at the bar - you no doubt get better service.

Kelly: Yeah right! I've never once gotten better service sitting at the bar. It's usually like I'm interrupting the bartender's party when I ask for a fork.

James: Of course there will always be a bad bartender here and there, but the key difference is that the bartender is right in front of you while servers can escape to their little station and lose track. AKA - gossip about the customers.

Kelly: Um, have you ever been to a bar? It takes ten minutes to get the bartender's attention before you can even order a drink. The difference with the server is that they don't have the right to ignore you. A certain amount of "ignoring" is expected in a bar setting.

James: Yeah, but this is really only about bars that serve food. The bartender sees the moment you finish something and usually asks what you need - it can take the server longer to mosey over. Also - bartenders are generally higher up in the restaurant ladder - a good bartender runs the bar like his/her little business. It takes a good service personality to do these things.

Kelly: The other night when we were out the bar service was horrible. When your friend joined us it took ten minutes before the bartender even gave her a glass of water. At the table someone would have taken her drink order right away.

James: Right, one bad example does not negate an overarching argument - sometimes people will get distracted, but in general bartenders are more on point.

Kelly: Bartenders by nature are less attentive in my experience, because they don't have to be. I've never had a bartender clear my plate faster than a busboy while sitting at at table.

James: You're also more likely to chat and create a personal bond with your bartender because of proximity, and this also improves the service. And, it brings up another good reason to sit at the bar: you are much more likely to get something for free.

Kelly: Not a chance. A drink maybe but at a fancy place known for food, you're probably not getting anything for free. I mean I doubt the bar at Per Se does "buy backs."

James: Per Se doesn't have a bar. Oh, snap.

Kelly: You know what I mean.

James: Game. Point. Match.


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