Single-Legged Tables in Cafés: A Wheelchair’s New Nemesis.

Bistro table with rivets

Undoubtedly other wheelchair users can identify with this: tables in restaurants and cafés increasingly becoming inaccessible.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been to a café or the like wanting one simple thing: to sit at a table, order whatever’s on my mind, and basically be a normal café-going person relatively faceless in the crowd. Nope, no such luck for me. My evil plan fails right at step one.

Example of the ‘Central Column Love Affair’ Table

How often have you been to a café etc. to find that tables – rather than having the four legs allowing tables to stand the exact same way they have pretty much since the first table was invented – they have this ridiculous ‘central column love affair’ going on with four feet and/or a base at the bottom of this column. The table, in this new arrangement, stands by balancing on a single, central column of some kind.



Seems innocent enough, right? The table still stands, table (usually) doesn’t wobble too

An example of a decent café table.

much. I fail to see any benefit to the ‘single column love affairs’ over the standard four-leggers. If anything, I think you may save more space. Regardless, the ‘love affairs’ have been driving me mad more and more recently at cafés etc. Why? I can’t get under the table!




Yeah sure, it might look better to have tables with a single leg as opposed to the traditional four but, because of this new fashion, wheelchairs are unable to get under the tables in any real way which means, often, there is a 1- to 2-foot gap that I am forced to keep between my rib cage and the table edge. You see, that single column that has the Restaurant Industry clamouring for me but it blocks the footrest of a wheelchair.

So, if the ‘Central Column Love Affairs’ make no difference in increasing the number of people at a table significantly, and there is no other conceivable benefit to them, why do we still have to see them in restaurants when they could be so easily swapped out for more accessible counterparts?

No, seriously… I genuinely want to know.

3 thoughts on “Single-Legged Tables in Cafés: A Wheelchair’s New Nemesis.

  1. diaryofadisabledperson says:

    So, so, so annoying. I think those types of tables are easier to move, or even fold away for cleaning or events… Still flipping frustrating though.
    My control pad for driving my wheelchair used to get in the way of table tops, but I found that I could fold it away to solve that one (initially thought I’d broken it, but the retailer had forgotten to tell me about that feature)…

    1. Aidan says:

      It’s amazing how many people don’t think when it comes to access. That’s all it is: not thinking. If they thought a bit harder problems would make themselves known.

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