The origin of the bistro table?

So what exactly is a Bistro Table? They’re one of our best sellers, they have their own dedicated section in our Shop, but why are they called a Bistro Table?

Well, let us start with the easy bit. What exactly is a Bistro Table? A small two seater table is really all it is. Nothing complicated about that. But then isn’t that the point? An intimate table for two that doesn’t take up much space.

Lazy Susan Bistro Table
A lovely customer photograph of our Ivy Bistro Table

The History of the Bistro Table

Originating on the streets of Paris, the bistro table is synonymous with the small Parisienne cafes from which they take their name. They were a place you could eat a home cooked meal and enjoy a glass of wine or two. And an authentic Parisienne style Bistro is defined primarily by the food they served. French home-style cooking, and slow-cooked foods like cassoulet, a casserole containing sausages and white beans, are the typical fare. Which I must admit, just typing that made me feel hungry!

According to Wikipedia, the origin of the term bistro is a little more lost in the sands of time. They describe the etymology of word as follows:

The etymology is unclear, and is presumed to come from a regional word: bistro, bistrot, bistingo, bistraud, bistouille or bistrouille. The first recorded use of the word appears in 1884.

A popular folk etymology of the word claims that it originated among Russian troops who occupied Paris following the Napoleonic Wars. They would shout “быстро” (pronounced bystro), which translates as “quickly”. The term was allegedly shouted by impatient Russian officers or Cossacks who wanted to be served sharpish.

However, this version has been discredited by some French linguists as there is no attestation to the occurrence of this word until the end of the 19th century.

Bistros likely developed out of the basement kitchens of Parisian apartments where tenants paid for both room and board. Landlords could supplement their income by opening their kitchen to the paying public. Menus were built around foods that were simple, could be prepared in quantity and would keep over time. Wine and coffee were also served.


A more likely explanation for the name is that it evolved from the French word for innkeeper, ‘Bistreau’. But nobody really knows for sure.

I’m guessing the compact style simply evolved so that entrepreneurial owners could pack in as much seating as they could into a restricted pavement-side or courtyard space. Bistro chairs too were compact by design, comfortable but functional, and often foldable or stackable for easy storage. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

However, one thing I know for sure is that these intimate little table sets have become incredibly popular in gardens up and down the UK. They are perfect for those with limited space, ideal for small backyards, courtyards and apartments with a balcony.

Why Buy A Lazy Susan Garden Bistro Table?

Bistro sets lend themselves perfectly to an intimate dinner date or an evening glass of wine with a friend. The Lazy Susan garden bistro table collection comprises of various shapes, colours and even materials. We’re specialists in cast aluminium, and many of our bistro sets are constructed from our go to metal, but we recently introduced a range of versatile steel bistro sets.

Our steel collection features a range of folding chairs and tables, making them the practical choice if you want to clear it away when not in use. Ideal if space is extremely limited such as you’d find on a city apartment balcony. The cast aluminium collection on the other-hand is robust and weatherproof, it can be left outside all year round and come out the other side of winter looking as good as it did before.

The Lazy Susan 2019 Garden Bistro Collection

Ivy Garden Bistro Table

The origin of the bistro table?

Our Ivy table features some beautiful, detailed metalwork across its 63cm table top. It weighs in at just 13kg and so can be moved around the patio with ease, or even brought up onto a balcony, although it has enough heft to make it feel solid. It comes in Antique Bronze, Slate Grey, and white.

Rose Garden Bistro Table

The origin of the bistro table?

The Rose bistro set is a stunning and ornately designed aluminium bistro with an intricate rose detail that runs from the table top down to the legs and stretcher. It has a diameter of 65cm and comes with the stylish, matching Rose bistro chair.

Ella Garden Bistro Table

The origin of the bistro table?

Another compact 2 seater table set is our Ella. For me, this is the perfect bistro set for a small patio or balcony, with a diameter of 60cm. Compact yet sturdy, the cast aluminium Ella bistro set will survive the elements just as well as our larger aluminium table sets.

Zara Garden Bistro Table

The origin of the bistro table?

As for the steel set I mentioned earlier, our Zara range is a square shaped folding bistro. It’s a simple and elegant 2 seater garden furniture set, perfect for those who want to make the best use of their space by being able to fold away their table set.

The reason we chose to construct this set from steel instead of cast aluminium, was two-fold. To keep it lightweight so that’s it easy to pick up and move around, and the material worked better with the mechanics of these sets. We wanted them to be foldable so that they were easy to store. These factors combined make Zara the ideal set for those with limited space such as apartment balcony or small yard.

Garden Bistro Chair Collection

Some of our bistro sets come with folding chairs, and others with a standard ‘bistro chair’. Then there are our 2 seater table sets. Those labelled as a table set come with a choice of chairs. So once you’ve chosen the right 2 seater garden table for you, you simply select which chair you’d prefer to pair that table with.

A default chair will be available at no extra cost, but take a moment to consider others, such as the Emma, Rose, Georgia or Abigail chairs. You can pair one of these alternative chairs with your square 4 seater table for between £5 and £25 extra per chair. These garden chairs are made of the same weatherproof and robust cast aluminium as the tables.

Garden Bistro Accessories

Your 2 seater garden table and chairs will be much more enjoyable when enhanced with a few accessories such as cushions and a parasol. Underneath the section where you choose your chairs, you’ll find offers for cushions and parasols in various colours. Purchasing these in combination with your garden furniture set allows you to save 70% on them compared to buying them separately, so don’t miss out!

Those aren’t the only available offers. You can also get between 20% and 80% off various aluminium garden furniture items such as a bistro set or sun lounger. But these offers will be unique to this page, so combine them with your main order to take advantage.

We have some outstanding deals on our clearance page, too. These standalone deals apply to everything, from side tables to 12 seaters. They change all the time, so check back regularly, and if you see a bargain on something you like, get it while you can!

Delivery is free on all our 2 seater cast aluminium garden furniture. So there’s no need to worry about extra charges on the checkout page. Our aluminium garden furniture sets are delivered as a large package or on a wooden pallet by our partner couriers Parcelforce or Geodis. Both offer online tracking of your order from the day of dispatch. Geodis will also call you the day before delivery to arrange a time slot that works for you. For details about delivery you can have a look at our delivery information page or give us a call.

Please show us your new garden furniture to help us raise money for our Do Some Good charity campaign. Just take a few pictures and share them on Facebook or Instagram with the tag @LazySusanFurniture or email them to us. We then donate £10 for any set of photos of Lazy Susan furniture in your garden. We’ll donate £20 for photos including friends and family during a family lunch or BBQ. Your help goes a long way.

To view our full Bistro Collection for 2019, please head over to our Shop.

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