Bistro tables are smaller, typically round tables that most would associate with a Parisian café. The word bistro has French and Russian origins. Some say it comes from the Russian word “bystro” which means quickly. During the occupation of Paris in 1814 some say that Russian officers that wanted to be served quickly would shout- Bystro!
Others say that the name comes from an aperitif, or before dinner drink, called a “bistrouille” made with coffee liquor.
Bistro tables originated in smaller Parisian cafes, called bistros. A bistro likely came from apartments where tenants paid room and board, but landlords supplemented their income by opening up their kitchens to the public. The food on the menu was kept simple.
Today a bistro is a small restaurant, or sidewalk café, featuring simple meals and a casual setting. Mostly likely French food will be served. Bistros were often small modest establishments, and the tables had to be smaller as well, and so the bistro table was born.
Where to use them
Bistro tables are most commonly used as a small serving table. They’re perfect for small meals, like breakfast, lunch or hors d’oeuvres. A great spot for bistro tables is a porch or back patio, if you have less room for a larger patio table.
While bistro tables are typically small round tables, perfect for seating two to three people, they can come in other sizes. If you’re looking to furnish a breakfast nook, there are all shapes and sizes of bistro tables to be found, like skinny and rectangular, square shaped, and the classic round.
While the common use is typically as a smaller patio dining table or in a breakfast nook, there are other places in your home where a bistro table can be used. If you’re going for the round original shape they can be utilized as a table in your living room, next to an armchair with a lamp, picture frames, candles or other décor.
A bistro table can be used as an entrance table by your front door, with a vase with fresh flowers, a dish for keys and trinkets. A bistro table could be a great addition to a mock office, perfect for someone who doesn’t work from home full time but needs a horizontal space to do minimal work. It could also function as an end table to living room furniture, depending on the size and shape.
Another use of a long rectangular bistro table could be along the back of a couch, creating another dimension to your living room. A long skinny bistro table could also function well as a mock bar in your kitchen, whether it’s against the wall, or a counter with bar stools or chairs.
Bistro tables are trendy, creating other spaces within your home that can be utilized for a wide variety of purposes. Whether you use them for their intended purpose, or create some other use and functionality in your home, bistro tables can be a great addition to a home or kitchen. Whether the use of the table alternates in your home, you can always find a place for a bistro table.