NPR reports that getting a drink in California may become a more sterile experience:
Bartender Cameron Hall hadn't heard of a new California law that bans culinary workers from touching uncooked food with their bare hands.
The rule applies to bartenders, who are now supposed to wear gloves to put limes in the mojitos and cherries in the Manhattans — even to scoop ice into a glass.
What would be the hardest thing to do with gloves on? Hall answers, "Shake hands."
The law could be a boon to psychiatrists, now able to offer a less clinical atmosphere in which people can vent about their problems.
I hope this law doesn't spread to Massachusetts. I was once at an almost empty restaurant where the bored bartender passed around samples of his homemade pickled vegetables, his hands dripping brine everywhere. One of the best nights out ever.
There is an effort in California to exempt barenders from the rule, but if it fails, some restaurants may want to make the gloves a feature rather than a bug. They can follow the lead of an eatery in Latvia featured on the website Fun Fever:
A unique, weird restaurant has opened in Riga, Latvia named "Hospitalis." It is a must-see place if you like gore things. The restaurant looks like a medicine cabinet, while you are treated as a patient and taken good care by the long-legged waitresses in nurses uniforms.
The food is served in flasks and operating-room’s dishes and isn’t that cheap (7 and more lats per meal), but this is a bizarre experience that is worth breaking the bank. Besides, the place is owned by local doctors, but unfortunately, the president of Latvia, who is also a doctor, declined his appearance at the opening once he realized how weird this place actually is.
That description is a bit judgmental, no? Maybe the straitjackets for customers are a bit much, but the skirted nurses' uniforms could catch on here, especially if nondiscrimination laws mean that male servers will have to wear them too.
Photo of Hosptalis from Fun Fever. I know that the bartenders aren't wearing gloves.