If you don’t make a reservation then just expect the wait to range from 45 minute to an hour and a half. In these situations you should always, I repeat ALWAYS, ask if you can eat at the bar. You’d be surprised what kind of places are crazy busy and at what hours. A few weeks ago we found ourselves hungry around 11:30 or midnight-ish and knew we didn’t want to go home where we knew we’d either (1) not eat anything or (2) take another half-hour figuring out what we wanted to eat and most certainly not be happy about any of it. So we got off the train where we knew we’d find food & lots of people – Times Square – and opted to dine where we thought there would be the fewest people eating – Ruby Tuesday. Yes, I know – I live in New York City and we ate at a national chain. What can I say, it’s gonna happen every now and then and on this night we just wanted food, you know, easy food. The wait was about 45 minutes. We opted to take our chances and wait. They sent us up to the 2nd floor, you know, ’cause nearly every place in this city is either teeny tiny or on multiple levels. Once we got up there and checked in with the 2nd floor hostess I noticed some people with food at the bar. I asked the hostess and sure enough the full menu was available there. What more could I ask for at that ungodly hour? We got to sit and eat immediately, we had our server/bartender right in front of us at all times and we got to laugh at all the fools who hadn’t taken the two empty bar stools before us!
We did this again this weekend at Rosa Mexicano during peak dinner time where if you didn’t have a reservation the wait was at minimum an hour. I put my name on the list and went right for the bar seeking a table. My husband didn’t want to wait in the crowd but I was sure I’d find someone signing their credit card receipt and grabbing their coat. It worked out brilliantly, not only did we get to eat right away but again we got to laugh at all the over-dressed people on first dates forced to stand and try to maintain their cool for an hour as the dining room cleared out. Our servers were constantly zipping by delivering drinks to the anxious crowd so we were constantly attended to and the food was just as good as if we’d sat in the main dining room. So again, make a reservation or if you’re like me and mostly spur of the moment then always, ALWAYS check if you can eat at the bar. You’ll be happier for it.