You get the urge to go to a bar

Café life in Paris was certainly already in bloom, but it was nothing compared to what would happen during the fifty years following Verrière’s innovation. Now, a platform had been created for a new human behaviour.

We still flock around this remarkable thing, and will certainly do so as long as civilisation exists. What I am referring to here is the modern bar counter, or ‘zinc bar’ as it was named, after the material from which it was made. Previously, the bar was only used as a staging point, where the waiters went to get wine for the guests, but Verrière had the idea that it would be much more effective if a person could serve, wash dishes and, at the same time, converse with guests all in one place.

That was it, of course, and fifty years later, there were more than 70,000 bar counters in Paris. The French statesman, Léon Say, then noted soberly that "one half of the town is poisoning the other...

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