This post originally appeared in the November 18, 2019 edition of The Move, a place for Eater’s editors to reveal their recommendations and pro dining tips — sometimes thoughtful, sometimes weird, but always someone’s go-to move. Subscribe now.
You’re tired. It’s been a hectic Monday at work. You want to set dinner up on the coffee table, dissolve into your couch, and watch The Voice or something. Allow me to propose a different vision of the most-fretted-about day of the week: Get up and go out to dinner — or even just happy hour drinks and bites — on Monday night.
I know it sounds hard. Maybe you still have mountains of zucchini from your farmers market haul to deal with, and you’re feeling guilty about letting it spoil while you spend Monday night out. Or maybe your Sunday was spent nursing the type of hangover that those of us over 30 have come to recognize as a sign of having drank literally anything on Saturday night. You have work tomorrow, too, so best not stay out late. Perhaps it’s just that going out on Monday seems if not decadent, then at least off. It doesn’t have to be.
On a practical level, restaurants and bars tend to be mellow on Monday nights — if they’re open at all (do check, as it’s a common night off for many restaurants). It’s a great time to try to walk in to a buzzy new spot or score a reservation for a notoriously tough table. Once you’re in, the crowd will be pretty chill — especially if you do what I do and show up between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. A quiet restaurant after the first day back at work is a lovely way to unwind from overwhelming email inboxes and too many meetings. (Why are so many meetings on Monday? Another move: Stack your meetings on Tuesday afternoons.)
But I think the reason I fell so hard for going out on Monday is that it makes me feel more control over my entire life. I have staked a claim to my work week, even if I am but a feather floating on the capricious winds of capitalism. Yes, it sucks that we have to work. Even for those of us who love our job (waves at my editor), Monday, for many workers, means an end to everything the weekend promises: the ability to structure your time as you see fit; focusing on your own concerns rather than your company’s; a mini-vacation, even if it was spent doing housework and errands. But going out on Monday prolongs the high just a little bit longer. It’s something to look forward to during that busy day back, and an excuse not to kick off the new week by staying at your desk late.
You have a right to enjoy yourself, even when you also have to do a job, the 6 p.m. glass of Monday happy hour wine proclaims. I do too. See you next Monday.
P.S. Need dining out inspiration? Do consider one of Eater’s 16 Best New Restaurants of 2019.