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Costs of eating in sidewalk cafes

Sydney, Australia
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Costs of eating in sidewalk cafes

Hi,

Is there a difference when having coffee, light lunch etc in cafes when you sit at tables on the sidewalk as opposed to going inside. Also, is it cheaper to stand inside and eat as opposed to sitting inside?

Thanks, Meri

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Metro Vancouver
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1. Re: Costs of eating in sidewalk cafes

It used to be--and is still the case in some places--that the prices were cheapest at the bar, a bit more sitting inside, most expensive outside (but you could stay for quite a while with only one drink).

Usually you can't drink or eat while standing.

Some do, but they will be at the bar and only stand because all the stools are occupied, or aren't staying very long.

At any rate, I don't think that there is a huge difference in the prices...

Loire Valley
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2. Re: Costs of eating in sidewalk cafes

Coffee will usually cost you more sitting outside as opposed to standing at the bar. The list of prices by the door should show that (not the "menu", the black and white official looking thing that will be displayed somewhere)

When eating, it depends where you are - go to anywhere with a marketing name (the latin quarter, the marais, etc) you may find yourself paying more for the privilege of sitting amongst the smokers and traffic fumes.

Bedfordshire...
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3. Re: Costs of eating in sidewalk cafes

A lot of places show the different prices for bar, table and terrace. A basic espresso which costs 1€ at the bar can cost 2.50€ at a table outside. If you are eating, there is usually no difference.

If you buy and pay for a drink at the bar, then go and sit down outside, they will not be pleased and may give you an extra check.

Second the wizard's comments about smoke, fumes and noise pollution.

Paris, France
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4. Re: Costs of eating in sidewalk cafes

Agree with what everyone else said. I don't think I have seen different food prices, but drinks are usually priced according to "real estate".

Look for the black/white sign - "comptoir" = bar, "salle" = interior, "terrace" - outside.

Someone asked about "free refills" (soda and coffee) - which he is used to back home, but which do not exist in Paris - except possibly for a couple of mythic places I have never visited. Anybody know about this?

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Costs of eating in sidewalk cafes

Thank you, very he'lpful. :)

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Costs of eating in sidewalk cafes

each coffee is a hand pulled espresso -- they don't do refills in the US on those either. people in Europe drink a lot less and very large soft drinks, refilled, are just not a part of the culture

in my experience, you don't eat at the bar (maybe a croissant with coffee in the morning some places) lunch is not served at the bar and usually the food doesn't cost more at tables inside or out. in some highly touristy places drinks may cost more outside than inside and they often cost more sitting down than standing at the bar

well away from tourist areas, the different costs are often not charged. I have paid under 2 Euro for a diabolo at a cafe with a great view in Belleville seated on the terrace -- it would be at least 4 Euro at a cafe in the center

Paris, France
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7. Re: Costs of eating in sidewalk cafes

janettravels - well, just to show there are exceptions to everything...

Last week, I was served a pot of coffee at Carette, at Trocadero. It definitely was not espresso - more like weak American coffee - and amounted to 2 cups' worth. Did come with a very nice cookie, though...

As far as eating full meals while standing at the bar - I see people do this all the time. Granted, they are locals and/or shopkeepers in a hurry, but it happens frequently.

I do think a tourist would be encouraged to take a seat, though.

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: Costs of eating in sidewalk cafes

I've never seen a meal at the bar -- do they charge less for it?

I've also never seen a pot of weak coffee in a Paris cafe -- on rare occasion we have seen a pot of coffee and a pot of hot milk served at breakfast, but that usually in hotels rather than cafes, but sometimes at cafes.

even with a pot you aren't getting a refill though but the pot you ordered, like a pot of tea -- the idea of gulping down a quart of sugar water with a meal is not yet a French thing as it is an American thing -- but give them time -- most culinary bad habits seems to flourish internationally.

Los Angeles
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9. Re: Costs of eating in sidewalk cafes

I've never seen anyone eat food standing up at any café. Just coffee. Food prices are always published by the restaurant, and I've never seen different prices posted for eating food standing at a bar (just coffee).

I agree that if you were to take your coffee from the bar to a table, you'd likely be charged, as the extra price is for sitting at the table.

If they were to charge less for eating at the bar, they'd have to publish that too. Looked at hundreds of menus, never have seen it. Just for coffee.

Paris, France
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10. Re: Costs of eating in sidewalk cafes

There are a few places that still serve meals at the bar -- I can think of one on rue Marbeuf which even has a special "bar only" meal of croque monsieur & french fries or salad.

It used to be much more common for working people to eat standing at the bar. Mostly, the only thing you eat standing at the bar now is a baguette sandwich.