Last fall when we were in France, we were waiting to catch a bus in a small village near Nice. We had some time to kill, so nearby we saw a German Bierstube. A good German beer sounded perfect. We sat outside and I looked into the bar through a window. I was immediately attracted to something on one of the tables. Not wanting to look foolish with my camera, but still wanting a photo, I took a picture through the window.
This is a typical German Gasthaus or Bierstube adornment. It is a metal stand which holds an ashtray and it has a bell. On one side of a metal plaque it written "Stammtisch" and on the other side is "Reserviert." It sits on a special table that is reserved for the regulars who come to the bar. Found mostly in Bavaria, this is very typical Old World German. Historically, a sign such as this meant socializing, card playing and often political or philosophical discussions.
The second half of the 19th century, a Stammtisch consisted of local dignitaries such as the mayor, doctor, pharmacist, teacher or wealthy farmers. Inviting a stranger to take a seat was indeed an appreciated invitation.
Needless to say, the Stammtisch has been in my mind for quite some time now. Just by chance, I decided to check eBay to see if I could find one. And, there it was!!! A real Stammtisch from Germany. We won the bid and by chatting with the owner, found out that it had been purchased in Germany some years before. Perfect. I was so excited. Today it arrived.