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Restaurants That Choose Darkness Over Light

Imagine eating at a restaurant devoid of light. Hard as it is to believe, some people are choosing to dine that way. Following a growing trend, sightless restaurants are opening up across Europe. What is a sightless restaurant? John Bohannon experienced it firsthand. Bohannon plunged into the "inky blackness of Unsicht-Bar, a restaurant named for the German word for invisible." To get to his table, it was necessary to place his hand on the shoulder of Magid the waiter, then allow his dining partner to put her hand on his shoulder. In single file, they carefully maneuvered to their chairs, with the waiter as their guide. Magid needed no light. Like most waiters in these restaurants, he is blind.

Bohannon felt panicked by the utter darkness and the inability to see his own hand while waving it in front of his face. He heard a glass crash to the floor from a nearby table. The reaction was "more desperate than the situation would merit under normal (well-lit) circumstances."

Since no lights of any kind are allowed in the dining room, a staff member must lead patrons to a candlelit bathroom when the need arises. Bohannon's unease over the situation began to build to the point where he wanted someone to lead him to the bathroom, just so he could see something again. He pushed aside the nervousness when Magid arrived with the food and Bohannon soon discovered the difficulties of using a fork you can't see.

At the end of this unique dining experience, the waiter arrived to lead Bohannon and his guest back out of the restaurant and into the light.

Whatever the pluses or minuses of sightless dining, one thing is clear. When choosing darkness over light, your best guide is blind.

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