Café culture has spread from Europe to countries around the world. With its emphasis on eating and socializing, it appeals to a broad segment of people. Café culture contributes to a diverse and vital downtown area that attracts visitors and enhances the economy. In short, café culture benefits everyone.
The city of Chapel Hill in North Carolina realized the value of a café culture. Therefore, it passed an ordinance permitting the sale of alcoholic beverages to diners sitting at sidewalk tables.
A hostess at Top of the Hill says that there is usually a waiting list for seats outside the restaurant. That’s true even when seats are available inside.
The manager of the Weathervane Café says he plans to move more tables outside. There are increasing demand for sidewalk seating. He says “people will sit at the bar and wait until a table opens up outside. ” ‘That’s even when they can sit down inside.” The Sicilian born manager says “Italian food just tastes better outside.”
Pantana Bob’s restaurant, reports that its outdoor seating area always seems packed even on slow nights. A manager says that people will sit outside even if it’s cold. Many restaurants now have outdoor heaters for colder weather and most have outdoor umbrellas or awnings for warmer weather.
Less than a year after the ordinance, Chapel Hill had a thriving café culture that attracts people downtown. The café culture contributing to the city’s economic health and vitality. An additional advantage of outdoor dining is that more “eyes on the street“ contribute to a safer environment.
All of this success comes at no cost to the taxpayers.
Resources: Café Culture Benefits Everyone
Cups: the Cafe Culture Magazine. San Francisco: Milman.
Everts, A. Wellington’s Cafe Culture: the Visual Guide. Wellington: Capital, 1999.
Java Journal: Manhattan’s Cafe Culture Magazine. NY: Front, 1994-.
Jolliffe, L. Coffee Culture, Destinations and Tourism. Bristol, UK: Channel View, 2010.
Ysewijn, R. Belgian Cafe Culture. Antwerp: Luster, 2016.