Melbourne’s hippest eateries aren’t taking bookings, as restaurants embrace the New York-style trend of waiting at the bar.
New Mexican restaurant Touche Hombre is the latest in a growing list of “it” restaurants that refuse bookings. Chin Chin, Mamasita, Cumulus Inc. and Longrain have similar policies.
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According to Touche Hombre owner David Yu, the concept is chilled out and popular for dates.
“Most of the time it makes it a lot more fun – you go out to a bar first, have a few drinks, then you go back,” Yu says.
Similarly, Chin Chin host Jessica Ho says walk-in restaurants offer a night out, not just dinner. The restaurant takes names and numbers on arrival, and texts diners when a table is free.
Ho says young restaurant-goers “can’t just drop $200 a head anymore, so no bookings creates a more casual atmosphere – it’s a bit more of a party”.
“It lets people decide things last-minute instead of going somewhere fine dining where it’s booked out for three months,” she says.
If you have a background in hospitality, why not tap into the no-booking trend and take it elsewhere? It’s highly likely consumers outside of Melbourne will love it just as much.