Time was, the only things a drinker could hope to learn while perched on a barstool were the details of a fellow patron’s latest heartbreak and the bartender’s preferred method of mixing martinis. But educational opportunities have lately picked up at a handful of Charleston establishments where the TVs are tuned to documentaries.
At Kanpai, chef Sean Park likes to play Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the acclaimed film about an exacting 85-year old sushi master. But other venues are using their Netflix accounts – which save them the trouble of purchasing cable or satellite service — to stray further from their menu themes.
The Granary, for example, recently treated diners to a screening of a movie seemingly about earth science (the sound’s typically turned down, so viewers have to piece together their own conclusions about plate tectonics.) A manager who selected Pressure Cooker as the follow-up film said the documentaries create a calmer ambiance than sporting events, and tend to stimulate conversation.
According to a counter staffer at Sunrise Bistro Express, lunch guests sometimes delay leaving to learn the fates of animals in the documentaries on the new cafe’s big-screen TV: A crocodile film recently held a crowd captive.
On most days, though, the documentaries are significantly less intense: Because the staffer is a gardening enthusiast, he really likes to watch movies about permaculture.