Time to get another food and drink-related bugbear off my chest.

Seat Nazis. You know who you are.

I went into a large, city centre bar that also serves food the other day, shortly after work. After getting my drink at the busy bar, I looked out into the restaurant area – probably about 80 covers. There were a few people eating, but most people were sitting at the large bench-style tables in between, getting into the pints and cocktails.

So much so, they were all full. So me and my companion sat at one of the empty tables nearest to them.

Immediately, the SN was on us.

‘You can’t sit there.’

‘Why not?’

‘Well, are you eating?’

‘No, just a drink. Probably just the one.’

‘Well this area is for people who are eating.’

‘But there are about a dozen empty tables. Surely we can sit here until they start to fill up. We’ll move if you need the table back.’

‘Well, you really are supposed to be eating.’

‘But we’re not hungry.’

‘(Sigh) Well, I suppose I can allow it for now. But you might have to move if.’

‘I know, I know.if 12 tables worth of ravenous people turn up.’

And off they huffed, the protectors of the fabled ‘seating area where you can sit if you’re eating, but not if it’s quite quiet and you just want a drink.’

Another similar venue – on Spinningfields – wouldn’t let me and two friend sit and drink a bottle a wine at one of the 25 or so available tables one quiet weekday evening, asking us instead to sit on some really uncomfortable stools crammed next to each other near a wall.

Seriously, who trains these people into thinking ‘the rules’ are more important than common sense?

Bars are supposed to be a relaxed environment are they not? Since when did hungry customers become more or less important than thirsty ones?

Let people relax and feel they can do what they want and they’ll stay for longer and spend.

So let’s unite in opposition to the harsh sanctions of the Seating Nazis. Together we can defeat them, Then have a nice sit down.

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