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It's not rocket science at all, and you might already know that. But we still think it's appropriate to share our five tips for getting a spontaneous table on a Friday summer evening. Because unfortunately, far too many of us, far too often, end up not getting a table, or are forced to choose a place we might not have wanted that night. All while several restaurants have empty tables due to late cancellations and no-shows. 

We've all been there. It's finally Friday afternoon. The sun is shining and you have kick-started the weekend with some drinks with good friends at Riga at Litauens Plads. The perfect start to a wonderful summer weekend.
The alcohol has started working its magic. Not so much that you are drunk. But exactly so much that it seems to you like your vocabulary and speech gifts have increased by 200%. And as for your inhibitions, they have decreased by almost the same percentage. Life’s just f****** good, and you wish you could just stay in this moment forever and ever.
But you know, that soon the group will begin to split up because it’s time for dinner. So, to prevent this from happening, you suggest that you find a place to eat together. Your friends, being in exactly the same place as you, take no convincing. You being the one to bring it up, feel that you have to take initiative to find out where to go. And very quickly your beautiful light-headed sensation is replaced by a hard knock of reality. How on earth are you going to find a table at a good place at this time?

Here are our five tips:

  1. Check out restaurants with a large outdoor area

  2. Check out the restaurant with a large dining bar

  3. Call the restaurant

  4. Be flexible

  5. Download and use the FirstServed app


At my former restaurant, we had almost 50 outside seats. Nevertheless, we never allowed bookings of our outside tables. Why? Because we’re in Denmark and are never really sure how the weather will turn out. We simply didn’t want to take the chance of having both our outside and inside tables booked at the same time. The result was that during the summer, we would always have plenty of open tables, even though the booking system said we were fully booked.
That’s why my first choice on this Friday summer evening would be to check out places with a large outside seating like; Café Stadion, Barr, Babylon, and Lola. Follow and read my July post: 10 restaurants in Copenhagen with an amazing outside area. Because chance is, that even if all the outside tables are taken, there’ll be place inside, which leads us to the next option.

Restaurant København


Personally, the bar is often my favorite seat in a restaurant. Often, you sit a bit higher than the other tables, so you have a great overview of the entire restaurant. The bar is also where the action is. So, if you, like me, mainly go out to eat for the atmosphere, this is where you’ll get the most bang for the buck.
But there are still a lot of people who don’t share my opinion. Therefore, many restaurants haven’t included the bar in their booking system, but keep the seats for walk-ins or as a place for guests to wait for their table, should it run a bit late.

So when it comes to finding a spontaneous table, definitely check out places with a great dining bar, such as Kødbyens Fiskebar, Llama, and Gorilla.

Fiskebaren Kødbyen København.jpg

None of the two tips above might be worth a lot if you simply check the restaurant’s booking system. Because even though there might be an open table outside or at the bar, the booking system could still say fully booked. 
That’s why I advise you to call the restaurant. I know how anxiety-provoking it is for some of us actually using our phone to make a call. But there is no way around it. Hopefully the alcohol in your blood will calm your nerves a bit. 
So, call goddammit. And when you do, make sure the person in the receiving end understands that you’re very flexible.

Remember that at the time you call the restaurant, most likely you will get a very busy host on the other end of the line, running around a noisy restaurant. She or he won’t have time for too many questions and demands. My best advice is to let them know early on, that you are very easy and flexible. 
In most cases, the host is an employee, not the owner. So, their main goal is not to get as high a turnover as possible. Not that they don’t care about that. They just rightly see it as their main responsibility to make sure that the evening runs as smoothly as possible, for both guests and their colleagues. And if they sense that you are not flexible, they’d rather turn you down than trying to squeeze you in. Because they know that it will only be a bad experience for you and their colleagues. On the other hand, if they sense that you are easy and flexible, they will do everything in their power to find you a table. Because they also know that you will not only be an extra paying customer, but the type of guest that will help create a great atmosphere on the evening. And believe me, the atmosphere is so freaking important to the front of house staff.

A final advice that probably should have been the first. But we are too humble for that.
Download the FirstServed app and put yourself on the waiting list at your favourite restaurants the next time the spontaneous urge for eating hits you.

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