Sidewalks with Umbrellas

Across Europe, there’s something unmistakably well…European and it’s something that requires little more than a simple table and several plastic chairs. You’d  think we (America) could easily replicate this phenomena, but to this day, we have not.

The sidewalk cafe or restaurant is one of the simplest of inventions and is without a doubt one of the most memorable aspects you’ll find when visiting Europe. It’s not the the U.S doesn’t try to recreate this appealing atmosphere, it’s just we don’t get it right.

Of all the cities, San Francisco and New York put forth noteworthy effort. In the foggy-city, Bohemian or if I must say it, “Hipster” streets throughout the Mission are typically packed with tables and sun-starved locals. Of course, their Little Italy also does a fine job – offering a bevy of tables perched on the edge of the road. (Picture below)

And New York? Well Manhattan comes about as close as possible to nailing the whole sidewalk thing. On the Upper West Side you have the streets of Columbus and Amsterdam which do pulse with life and on a sunny day – everyone will be sitting right where they belong – outside with a drink in hand.

Of course, there is ample debate within Europe to decide which country offers the very best of the sidewalk cafe. All have seen images of a smoky french cafe, perhaps masked in shade from the nearby Eiffel tower, and Italy, of course, should not be dismissed, but in the end the honor of best sidewalk cafes and restaurants must go to the country who simply knows how to snack, sip, and chat, better than all others. The winner? Spain. Hands down. (Photos from Madrid, Spain below)

Agree or disagree? Let’s hear you’re thoughts. Post as a comment below.


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