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What Happened to Bar Snacks?

MK

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Staff member
Bartender
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When was the last time you were offered complimentary bar snacks? It used to be standard. I'm sure COVID contributed to the change but it seems like this trend stated before the pandemic. I miss having pretzels or salty peanuts at the bar.

The one exception are Mexican restaurants. They still provide chips and salsa. I hope that never changes.
 

MK

Founder
Staff member
Bartender
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Last night I had to pay $8 for these nuts. They weren't great either. I only ordered them because this lounge has live music and I like to support that. But I won't order these again. Are you paying for bar snacks?
 
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It was always those damn little goldfish crackers that gave me a hangover! Just kiddin’.

Was trying to remember where but there was a place in the PNW when I worked there once that would set out baskets of fresh French fried Vidalia onion rings.

Around here there is still a couple beer bars for college kids that still do the peanut & shells on the floor thing. Other places you have to order an appetizer for a bar snack.
 
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GHT

I'll Lock Up
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New Forest
Bar snacks were also once a common sight on our side of the pond, I can't recall when I last saw them.
The cynic in me thought that the reason for them, was to promote a thirst.

What I have noticed is that there are fewer and fewer bar stools and that most drinkers take their drinks to a table or seated area.

We also had what was known as happy hour, a quiet time for the pub so to promote sales certain drinks, mainly draught beer, were discounted. Happy hour seems to have gone the same way as bar snacks.
 
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MK

Founder
Staff member
Bartender
Bar snacks were also once a common sight on our side of the pond, I can't recall when I last saw them.
The cynic in me thought that the reason for them, was to promote a thirst.

What I have noticed is that there are fewer and fewer bar stools and that most drinkers take their drinks to a table or seated area.

We also had what was known as happy hour, a quiet time for the pub so to promote sales certain drinks, mainly draught beer, were discounted. Happy hour seems to have gone the same way as bar snacks.
In the USA, Happy hour has returned to the bars that had them previous to the pandemic. There's a decent number to choose from. Most happy hours are 3-6pm. Plenty of bar stools here again. It's my wife and my first choice. I like to quality control my cocktail. Communication breaks down when wait staff are mediators. Plus we like the social aspect of sitting at the bar.
 

Turnip

Call Me a Cab
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Europe
Here in West Germany happy hours were and still are fixed stars in many pub and bar time tables.
Malicious gossip has it that bar snacks lost a lot spicing during pandemic since everybody suddenly washed their hands after a visit in the tile department…:D
What has never been totally out of fashion in larger cities and (rural) southern Germany celebrates now a little renaissance in smaller towns northward of Hesse too, daily changing, simple dishes for pub lunch at a small price tag, around 7,- bucks.
 

Edward

Bartender
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London, UK
I think Covid killed off a lit of that round our way, though tbh I was never much of a fan for hygiene reasons anyhow. We don't tend to go to the pub with any regularity, tho. What I miss much more are the buffet restaurants. They were banned during the early stages of the pandemic. Permitted again now, but our great local Chinese buffet had already changed its business model and won't be back to what it was.
 
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I was never much of a fan for hygiene reasons anyhow.…What I miss much more are the buffet restaurants. They were banned during the early stages of the pandemic.
I would never, ever eat at a buffet where people/kids are allowed to serve themselves, for those same hygiene concerns you’re afraid of sitting at a bar.
 

Edward

Bartender
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London, UK
I would never, ever eat at a buffet where people/kids are allowed to serve themselves, for those same hygiene concerns you’re afraid of sitting at a bar.

That's a fair point, though at least with hot food and provided utensils the risk of someone handling (most of) the dishes available is somewhat lower than barsnacks where they are guaranteed to be handled. I remember a bar in Oxford years ago that put out unshelled peanuts, so at least the bit that goes in your mouth was guaranteed not to have been touched by anyone else. Not a bad idea.
 

Turnip

Call Me a Cab
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Europe
I would never, ever eat at a buffet where people/kids are allowed to serve themselves, for those same hygiene concerns you’re afraid of sitting at a bar.

That’s why I choose kids-free/adults-only hotels or resorts whenever I plan such kind of holidays meanwhile. Thanks to pandemic hotels, restaurants and bars in vast parts of Europe needed to develop hygienic concepts to stay in business. One important point has been exactly such shared snacks…and disappeared…
 
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One important point has been exactly such shared snacks…
Except with your spouse or maybe friends you’re drinking with, we never had shared snacks here. But as MK pointed out, free snacks have disappeared, & been replaced by the appetizer menu.
 

Edward

Bartender
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Location
London, UK
That’s why I choose kids-free/adults-only hotels or resorts whenever I plan such kind of holidays meanwhile. Thanks to pandemic hotels, restaurants and bars in vast parts of Europe needed to develop hygienic concepts to stay in business. One important point has been exactly such shared snacks…and disappeared…

Alas yes - kids will be kids, but it turns my stomach when you see kids handling everything on a buffet table... not their fault most of the time, of course - I blame the parents - but kids just don't seem to have the sense of hygiene adults do. I'm sure I'd have been equally as bad as an under 10, but my folks kept me well in line.
 

Turnip

Call Me a Cab
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Alas yes - kids will be kids, but it turns my stomach when you see kids handling everything on a buffet table... not their fault …

That’s all OK for me. If they like they can build castles from the food on the buffet, soak around with drinks…whatever, no problem at all.
I just don’t feel a need to join that.
 
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Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
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743
Not relating to bar snacks, but I remember a general practice of the relish tray, brought to the table while your steak was cooking. The tray was usually green onions, olives, carrots, radishes, and so on.
Years ago we dined at a restaurant that had maintained their "old-fashioned" style in decorating, menu options, etc. When the relish tray arrived I flashed back to my youth. The Missus did not remember anything like this from her youth, so I referred to the scene in White Christmas where the waiter places a similar tray on Bing's and Danny's table as they waited for the floor show.
 

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