Owners are chicken to ban phones for the same, obvious reason they gave up on dress codes: fear of losing customers. How can we go without our precious smartphones — which have thousands of times more pocket-size computer power than NASA’s astronauts had to reach the moon — for even a few hours?
Smartphones can be a big help in restaurants when used responsibly. They tell you more about wine, and how much a bottle should cost, than many sommeliers can. Calculators make it easier to figure out how much to tip when you’re tired and fuzzy-brained from drink.
But for all their fun and convenience, smartphones turn the restaurant-going experience to mush. Those too young to know a device-free world might be amazed by the greater pleasures of focusing on eating, drinking and enjoying only the company of people you’re with.
Pre-iPhone, dining rooms were the settings for private dramas high and low — romance, breakups, plotting — all secluded from the world beyond.