Eating Out in the 1970s: A Photo Album of Disco Decade Dining

1970s dining

Before you is a buffet of photographs of men and women dining out in the 1970s (a few, perhaps, from adjacent decades).  I don’t know the context, background and circumstances for most of them, but it’s fun to theorize.  Now, grab a seat and enjoy the smorgasbord of seventies supper snapshots!


dining out

It’s the 70s, so there’s plenty of smoking (note the pack of Marlboro Reds) and drinking, and waitresses in outfits that would cause public outrage today.


014_Fine Dining

Yes, these two men are probably making her very uncomfortable.  Drink up – after a few more glasses, she might actually start enjoying herself.


020_dining among mirrors

It’s like eating inside a disco ball.  “I’ll have the carved roast beef with a side of cocaine, please.”


008_Good Lord

Nothing remotely sexual-looking here.  Nothing at all.


015_The Bibb Family

This family takes their bibbing seriously. The beard on the guy at the head of the table is nothing short of alarming.



God, I miss the days when you could be waited on by a lovely serving wench with cheese grater.




I’m not an expert, but I think sitting directly on a buffet table violates some health code.


013_Fine Dining

Smoke ’em if you got ’em, ladies.



In the 1970s,  waitresses had a certain uniform.  I suppose it’s viewed as a sexist thing these days, but that’s the way it was.



When I die, I want to go to the Great Big Tiki Room in the Sky.  Polynesian Food & Exotic Drinks for all eternity  = Heaven.


fine dining 4

Fine dining in the early 80s.  There’s a dynamic going on here that I can’t quite decipher, but I’m sure it ends in the most unpleasant manner imaginable.



This from 1968.  I would entitle this photograph “The Sad Woman Eats Alone”.


fine dining 6

“Welcome to Château de Sleaze.  How may we service you?”


040_at the diner

Diners and “greasy spoons” are a rarity these days. Once, the most common type of eating establishment; now, anomalies worthy of a food network show.


072_32 cent cheeseburger & 22 cent fries

“I’ll have the 27 cent hamburger and the 22 cent fries.”  Livin’ the dream, baby. Livin’ the dream.


1980s dining

Dining out in the “Me Decade”.  I love the reaction of the couple in the background.  The guy is digging it, and the lady is revolted….. or is she intrigued?  (Queue porno music – “bomp-chicka-bow-bow… waka waka waka” )



T-Bone steak for $3.59!    Even so, I would have trouble eating with those Native Americans looking upon me so disapprovingly.



066_Dining in style

Privileged white folks at supper. I think I know where the chef wants to stick that shish kebab.



Before T.G.I. Fridays, before Chilis, before Applebee’s… there were just plain old dives, and we loved them.


070_Dining in Style

The food – exquisite, the spirits – divine, the service – perfection, the company – flamboyantly gay.


087 Remember “Let’s Spot the Wallflower“?  I’m thinking it’s the girl with hands folded on the table.


dining out 5

I’m betting Wayne’s Steak and Lobster chose this photograph of a woman alone at her table as a message to the guys – come here, there’s liable to be a lonely lady in a miniskirt.  Smart guy that Wayne.



Used to be, any old hotel had entertainment while you ate.  Sure, it was often cheesy (the dreaded lounge performance, perhaps), but I miss it nonetheless.


juke joint

In the 1970s, girls outnumbered boys 22 to 1.



He’s saying, “What’s that?  I can’t hear a word you girls are saying.  Come a little closer and speak it in my ear.   Get real close, now.  My hearing’s reeeeal bad.”



taco bell prom

Taco Bell before the Prom?  These guys are every bit as classy as their powder blue tuxedos would indicate.



Yes, kids.  Hold those Dan-Dee-Dog ice creams aloft.  The mom-and-pop restaurant is fast becoming a thing of the past.  So, hold them up high with pride.  Viva la Dan-Dee-Dog!

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