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I hate sticky tables - Charles Stewart

Features | By Charles Stewart

French lesson: a spotless surface in The Bar by Toulouse-Lautrec

Raise a glass to non-stick bar tables. By Charles Stewart

There is nothing worse than sitting at a table in a pub or restaurant and finding one’s hands or arms sticking to the table surface.

Waiting staff have always been helpful in wiping tables between guests, but the development of spray bottles of cleaning fluid has led to an accumulation of gunge on the surface.

Long gone is the day when waitresses used a scrubbing brush with soap and water to leave a clean wooden surface. Pubs and restaurants increasingly have tables that are varnished or have plastic surfaces. The varnish or paint gradually softens. Along comes the next customer: not only do their fingers stick to the table top, but so too do any papers belonging to the unsuspecting individual.

Cleaning of tables has become even more of a ritual with the implementation of strict hygiene associated with COVID-19 rules. More and more bottles of spray fluid are being used in all businesses coming into contact with the public.

What has happened to good old warm water, soap and a scrubbing brush?

There is nothing more welcoming in a pub or café than a bleached wooden table that has been scrubbed clean. The surface is smooth to the touch. Hands and clothes slide cleanly across the surface. It is possible to place a newspaper beside you without the back page’s sticking to the table top. The sleeves of your jacket don’t require to be freed every time you try to raise your glass.

The owner of the hostelry gains as well. No more spray bottles to buy, just water from the tap, a bar of soap and a scrubbing brush with a bit of elbow grease. The restaurant looks brighter without the table top engrained with yesterday’s beer slops. The natural wood surface displays the cutlery and table decoration to great effect.

Ban the spray bottle and bring back sensible practicalities!

This story was from October 2021 issue. Subscribe Now