The seats in the bar fulfilled their function through being wholly impractical. They were the brainchild of an award winning designer, or possibly an ex-member of military intelligence with a penchant for torture interrogations. For the seat backs stretched on for ever, so that it was virtually impossible to nestle in them. If one managed to, then the pain in the fully distended calves and hamstrings made any protracted sitting back unbearable.
At the opening night press conference, the designer had defended his execution of the brief. Stating that the bar was a realm of leisure and pleasure, in contradistinction from the office. These seats demanded a different posture from the workaday sedentary, one that resolutely wrung out the spasmed musculature sculpted by the swivel chair. One of his interlocutors challenged him as to how such logic applied to the manual worker, he who laboured by the sweat of his brow and almost certainly uprightly. The designer just blinked the question back incredulously, with the crystal implication that manual workers would not be welcomed in this bar and perhaps more pertinently, would be unlikely to afford the cover price.
Whatever the body and class politics of the seating ergonomics, they did ensure all conversations were conducted with the sitters perched forward on the end of their chairs. Thereby projecting them slightly more confrontationally towards one another then might be the usual proprieties. However another feature of the venue, was that on securing privileged entry, patrons were handed special house lip salve tubes. They were encouraged, though not compelled, to apply these to their labia, whereupon the alchemy contained within served to pronounce the lips, while also blanching out the facial features bordering them. The overall effect was to foster a series of disembodied mouths paddling the air as they exercised themselves in speech. A sort of shoal of oral glowsticks. One might even suspect that the salve's chemical composition were actually hallucinogens. Only for the fact that all reported this hanging mouth phenomenon, rather than fall prey to their own personal imaginings.
A further sensory disjunction wrought by the bar's arrangements, concerned the co-ordination of eye and ear. Like any bar, it had music accompanying the buzz of live chatter. Plainsong, Buddhist chanting, all manner of liturgical airs ancient and modern gently palpated those more prattling devotions beneath the vaulted ceiling. Yet the giant wall-mounted video screens, with their sound turned off, showed frenetic musical performances from thrash and death metal bands. At no point could one match the tempo of the two sets of musicians. Evoked tonsures grated against flying long-hairs . While their flying V-guitars brandished with desperate, uncoiled violence, chimed against imagined genuflected benedictions soothingly conveyed by the august tones. Of course for all the severance between the two, patrons couldn't but stare open mouthed (as it were) at the giant screens even while they conducted their small talk.
Thereon into the restaurant itself, for the ultimate part of the experience. Having chosen your food when placing your initial drinks order at the bar, one was summoned by the groping hand of a blind waiter. For the interior beyond was pitched in total darkness. Impossible to see your own hand in front of you, which is why the entire waiting staff were blind in order to assist guiding you through your own loss of sight. The intention was to have the other senses sharpened by way of compensation. Really to experience the taste, texture and aromas of the food perhaps for the first time in an absolute age. There was no cutlery, one ate with one's hands. Rooting around for its location somewhere on a plate in front of you. Your fingers chose what item you would start levering into your mouth. Hot soup however was off the menu. Who could object if you picked up your plate and licked it clean to ensure you had indeed concluded the repast? There is no etiquette in darkness, other than you must surrender your mobile so as not to cheat by utilising its light.
Such were the enervated appetites of the chic and swanky, Café Sensorium was booked solid for two whole years in advance. It superceded the previous trendy hot spot of Café App. And yet the drinks came from the same made to measure optics. The food was nothing particularly amazing. The conversations of the rarified were the same as they always were, only laced with bromidic observations about their immediate environment and how it worked. Those unable to prick their own senses, now required an establishment to execute it for them. But it couldn't tell them whether they'd actually had a good time.