DEAR MISS MANNERS: I've often wondered what the etiquette is when selecting a seat in a crowded bar. My boyfriend and I often enjoy sitting at the bar of local restaurants for a quick dinner -- it's a bit more lively and entertaining than a table.
Should one leave a stool between parties? That seems appropriate, but also leads to many unused seats for patrons who might enjoy the bar, too.
We've often encountered a bar with many solo open stools; is it appropriate to ask someone to move over in order to get two stools together? I am not a very vocal or forthright person, so having your opinion in my back pocket will give me the social fortitude to handle the situation next time.
GENTLE READER: The rule is one bar stool per person. In an empty bar, it is perfectly reasonable to spread out -- so long as you are prepared to scoot over as the bar fills up. It is therefore less trouble for everyone if, in an already crowded bar, one does not leave gaps. (And yes, it is perfectly proper to request that patrons close gaps.)
During the pandemic, Miss Manners noticed that in offices with waiting rooms, there was a preference for taping over every other chair rather than simply removing some. Not being a frequenter of bars, she does not know if bar owners also followed this vaguely alarming practice.