What is a bistro umbrella, anyway?

Ah, Paris. Birthplace of the café. How we love your culture and charm! And what could be more Parisian than a bistro set, complete with bistro umbrella? After all, you don’t want the hot sunlight beating down on you while you’re enjoying that hot espresso.

What Is a Bistro Umbrella?

Bistro umbrellas are characterized by their size: they’re smaller than regular patio umbrellas. Why is that, you think? Probably because bistro sets are smaller than regular patio tables! The typical American patio table is made to fit he American concept that bigger is better. So, most patio tables are made big enough to seat at least four people.

That size can be convenient if you’ve got a big group. But the flipside to this is bistro table, and there are pros and cons to each. Bistro tables are much smaller; they usually seat only two. But what they lack in seating capacity, they make up for in charm, cuteness, and intimacy.

Half Umbrellas

So bistro umbrellas are correspondingly smaller than regular patio umbrellas. Another feature that is common in bistro umbrellas is called the half umbrella. These half umbrellas are unquestionably the most adorable source of patio sun protection out there. Don’t they look cool? And they’re convenient, too. Because bistro tables are made to seat two, they often find themselves placed against the surface of a wall—a perfect fit for the half umbrella.

Some bistro umbrellas offer additional flexibility by having a bend near the top. So you can put your bistro table set against the wall, and still angle the umbrella to offer the best sun protection.

Is It For You?

Is a bistro table set for you? It depends on your personality. If you’re the kind of person whose home is a social hub, who always has friends and family over for dinner, then you might want to consider getting a table that can seat more people. It may not be as classy as a bistro set, but sometimes convenience has to take center stage.

On the other hand, if you’re like me, rather than making friends with everyone you meet, you focus on developing closer relationships with a smaller group of people. I really believe that this is the kind of person for whom bistro sets are perfect. Made for two. Just enough room on the table for two cups, and maybe a book or plate of fruit and cheese. (Doesn’t it just make you want to go visit a café?)

The great thing about bistro tables is that because of their intimate nature, they naturally encourage real, deep conversation. Van Gogh would have sat at a bistro table when he described his paintings to people. They’re associated with intelligence and culture. And like I said—they look cool!

Just don’t forget the bistro umbrella!