An Open Letter to Cocktail Bars That Require Reservations

Dear Cocktail Bars That Require Reservations & Have “No Standing Room” Policies,

I just wanted to say thank you. You’re so much smarter than people realize. While some may disagree with your business model and think that you’re excluding people, I know that you’re only taking reservations because you’re invested in your customers’ experience. Sure, you could pack the bar and ask people to pay $10 or more for incredible drinks that they wait half an hour for and then promptly spill when someone bumps into them trying to make their way to the bar but instead you make sure everyone has a seat, a server, and a really good time.

I decided to write you this letter over the weekend, as I became increasingly thirsty waiting a really, really long time for a bartender’s attention. I was at a hot new spot and the artisan cocktail I eventually ordered was worth every penny. Unfortunately, while the drinks lived up to the hype the poor service staff could only do so much. The place was packed, the cocktails on their menu are labor intensive, and it was really hot out so people were sucking them down faster than they could wash a shaker. Had there been a reservation policy in place, the three guys and one girl on bar would have been in a much better position to be accommodating, and creative.

Until last year, I didn’t know that bars like you existed. I mean, let’s face it – you tend to be less common and more exclusive. That being said, I’m really glad that you exist and I think that the extra work and possible wait is definitely worth it. I think it’s great that you care about people and their experiences – and I just wanted you to know.

Love Always,


PS: I really like the way our friends at Tender Bar explain themselves.

Tender Bar - Pittsburgh

A note from Tender Bar in Pittsburgh, PA


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