Back when I was growing up and into young adulthood (40-50 years ago) it was not uncommon to find small restaurants or bars that had sawdust on the floors. I remember a sandwich shop with red checked table cloths and sawdust floors. A bar I frequented had sawdust floors, and free peanuts which they encouraged patrons to just drop the shells on the floor. Is that still done anywhere, or have current health codes outlawed that? And how did that work, anyway; did they sweep up the old sawdust and put down new every day, or once a week, or just as needed?
Phillippe’s in downtown LA, the birthplace of the French dip, still did it when I was last there about a decade ago, and as far as I know they still do.
Logan’s Roadhouse is a BBQ chain and they serve up peanuts in a small galvanized pail and yeah, toss those shells on the floor.
The Texas Roadhouse chain encourages tossing peanut shells on the floor.
I haven’t been to a place like that in forever, but when I did, I always felt like I was once drunken misstep away from a broken ankle.
Same for Texas Roadhouse.
I assume they sweep up at night. When I’ve been in at the start of the day for a NH the staff was actively putting peanut shells on a clean floor. In MA locations they don’t seem to do the same. The peanut shells are all from customers and they do sweep them up during the day. I don’t know if it’s just a different district policies or if MA has more restrictive health code.
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells
–from The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock
I know of one in PA (the same place has some pool cues in a couple corners but no pool table - rough little joint) but in most of our counties the health code basically prohibits it. We had a couple different steak places allow the peanut-shells-on-the-floor thing and they got fined for it and stopped.
But the waitresses don’t dance on the bar.
It’s been a while since I was there, but last I was Monk’s Pub in Chicago had peanut shells on the floor. (And Really Good grilled cheese.)
There’s sawdust on the floor at “Mad O’Rourke’s Pie Factory” near Birmingham, UK.
Saloon #10 in Deadwood, SD still does it.
A chain called Cody’s Roadhouse does it. I love peanuts in the shell but have a hard time throwing the remains on the floor. It just feels. . . wrong. And no, I don’t do it at the ball park either. Always put the shells in my food tray.
The answer is going to vary by state since, in it’s Food Code Administrative Guidelines, the FDA does not specifically disallow it (though it does seem to discourage the practice):
Here is the health code in Georgia (PDF):
This does not mean they can’t let customers throw peanut shells on the floor, only that the shells can’t remain there on any kind of permanent basis. I think the rule of thumb is that the shells must be cleaned up at least daily. The Texas Roadhouse/Logan’s type places around here have started providing 2 buckets at each table - one for the unshelled nuts and one for the shells.
ETA - Some of my favorite BBQ restaurants when I was growing up had sawdust-over-dirt floors, picnic table indoor seating and a loaf of store bought white bread in the original bag on each table. MmmmmMmmmm!
And what about spittoons?
Surely their aren’t any today, but I’ve always wondered about the awkward transition period. Someone all ready to spit, then realizes there’s no handy spittoon.
There are still country and Western bars that have sawdust on the floor, but it’s done for the nostalgia factor.
Another saloon feature that has sadly gone away, is the urinal built into the front of the bar, just beyond the brass rail. Who wants to interrupt their drinking and give up their spot at the bar just to take a piss?
What was the point of the sawdust anyway?
My guess would be to absorb vomit.
They do at Ed Debevic’s in Chicago. And they are supposed to be rude/surly, but the one we had came up short in that department.