Curious yet confused, so I looked up the web definitions for a bistro and found these: A small bar, tavern, or nightclub/ "pub"; A small cafe, usually serving modest, down-to-earth food and wine/A small, informal restaurant serving wine/A small restaurant, featuring simple fare, sometimes with entertainment.
If a bistro by definition is a simple and honest place without frills and a high class atttitude, then why does the public opinion seem to avoid bistro because of preconcieved connotations about the environment or even price? It seems to me that most places including the one you may have mentioned are not really bistos, yet they use the word in their business name as merely an attempt at marketing. Since the concept of a "snobby" bistro seems to make as much sense to me as a snobby 24-hour roadside diner.
Maybe the real response in this isn't about just an education to the servers and business that serve your beer, but a way to unify and classify restaurants. From everything I know about the restaurant industry I can open a up an Italian Restaurant and call it Jose's Tex Mex, who's going to stop me? Maybe there should be a national register/consumer organization that will clarify terms of different style restuarnats and make business conform to these standards. Otherwise in years to come everything might be a "bistro", and as it seems already this term has no meaning anymore as it is.
Franklins Restaurant, Brewery & General Store
5123 Baltimore Ave