When you walk into a German Kneipe (pub), you’ll often see one table curiously unoccupied, even though the others may be full. Good table, too. Best view in the house.
Don’t sit there. See that sign on or above the table? it says Stammtisch. In a bizzare custom that wouldn’t ever go over in the USA, this table is reserved for a select group of regulars. It’s theirs even when they’re at home.
Now this sounds annoying, and if anyplace tried it here the cops would wind up getting involved, but being invited to sit at the Stammtisch is a privilege, and can lead to that rare kind of boozy fun that reminds us why we love beer in the first place.
As far as I know, the only Stammtisch in Rochester is at Swan Market. It’s odd, but I’m proud when Oskar Meyer and Guenther Schwann motion me over to join their table. Prosit!