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Sitting at a sidewalk coffee shop and using another establishment’s restroom



Sitting at a sidewalk café is a favorite pastime for many Vietnamese people. However, one common concern that arises is the issue of restroom access. Drinking a lot of coffee naturally leads to the need for restroom breaks. But how can one find a restroom at a sidewalk café? In this dilemma, many people opt to use the restroom at a nearby café. This action has sparked various opinions, with some seeing it as normal while others feel uncomfortable about it. Customers and café owners often have different perspectives on this issue.


The sidewalk coffee shop culture


The sidewalk coffee shop culture in Vietnam has long intrigued and captivated many foreign tourists, representing a cultural tradition that has persisted for centuries. It’s not about luxurious establishments; instead, people gather around simple plastic chairs and tables, enjoying aromatic cups of coffee. There’s no sense of constraint; individuals, whether familiar or strangers, comfortably share their life stories, fostering a sense of connection. Perhaps it’s the lack of constraints that allows people to be so free, where nobody knows each other but everyone carries a friendly demeanor, ready to connect.

cà phê vỉa hè

Sidewalk cafés exude a liberating and slightly intimate ambiance that irresistibly draws others in.

Taking in the bustling streetscape is also a delight of sidewalk cafés. Observing the hustle and bustle of life outside, one learns to appreciate the “slowness” of being here. This wild, tranquil, and liberated feeling cannot be experienced in upscale coffee shops where people must be polite, sophisticated, and refined.

Sidewalk cafés can spring up anywhere. Sometimes, just a coffee cart, a table, and a few plastic chairs are enough to attract passersby.


Sitting at a sidewalk coffee shop and using another café’s restroom


Sitting at a sidewalk coffee shop and using another establishment's restroom: What do the café owner and customers say?

Sidewalk café culture is truly enjoyable, but sometimes there are amusing or frustrating situations that arise.

Although it’s a somewhat delicate matter, it happens quite often. Sidewalk cafés are simple establishments and usually don’t have restrooms, so what do you do when you need to use one? Some people choose to leave and find a restroom elsewhere, while others opt to politely ask to use the restroom at a nearby café.

Recently, there’s been a viral story on social media about a girl innocently going to another café to use the restroom without saying a word. When gently reminded by the staff, she became irritated and returned the next day for “revenge”. This story wouldn’t have been a big deal if both sides had shown some understanding. If the girl had politely asked the café owner before using the restroom, perhaps the staff’s perception would have been different.

From the customers’ perspective, they might think it’s just a small matter, just asking for a little favor, nothing significant. But this is a basic courtesy. No one is obliged to help you, no matter how small the request. So before taking action, let’s ask the café owner for permission or buy something from the café to compensate for using their facilities. Sometimes our seemingly natural attitudes can cause inconvenience to staff or café owners.

For café owners, encountering such situations can evoke various emotions. Some may brush it off, but others might feel uncomfortable, especially if it’s not the first time. Additionally, not everyone is considerate; some people who ask for favors end up leaving the restroom in a messy state. Moreover, a café is not a public restroom, so there’s no obligation to allow non-customers to use the facilities. Therefore, if the café owner refuses, people shouldn’t harbor any ill will.

Everyone has their reasons and sentiments. If both parties agree, there’s no issue, but if one party is unwilling, it’s best to seek alternative options.

43 Factory Coffee Roaster has presented a common scenario encountered at sidewalk coffee shop. Hopefully, this information will help you handle similar situations with tact and reasonableness.

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