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.
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.