Bottom-up, open data, open source, open design, co-creation, crowd-sourcing. The last years have been marked by a trend of openness that’s driven by the geeky side of Internet culture, and driven further by things like the economic crisis and the democratic deficit. Whether it’s about WikiLeaks’ struggle for open information or the attention for participatory urbanism, we all go ‘inclusive’. However, there’s no culture without counter-culture.

The excessive appreciation on openness of the last years leaves space for a new movement that’s slowly becoming visible in our cities and in urban lifestyle, and that’s focused on exactly the opposite idea: exclusivity. Increasing numbers of organizations, brands and people seem to realize that keeping things exclusive, and sometimes even secret, adds value and quality. In the nightlife scenes of modern world cities, (private) member clubs have a reputation as a successful tool to ensure exclusivity. Some of them are organized around interest groups, others around professional fields, or even sex.


Street Diner is a restaurant in the town of Ferrara, Italy, that combines pop-up thinking with exclusivity and secret urbanism. People who have made a reservation receive separate tickets for aperitifs, a table and two chairs, and two dinner menu choices, and will receive text messages that reveal location information. The first message explains where the Welcome Aperitif will take place. An hour before dinner, a second text message will tell you where to pick up your table, chairs, and the ‘mise en place’ for your table. The third text message will finally reveal the location where we will have the dinner will take place.

The dinner tour of Street Diner is a great way to explore the beautiful city of Ferrara. It offers a night full of discoveries which will be revealed moment by moment to whoever chooses to participate. Streetdinner says to be a mix between a meeting in the dark and a treasure hunt, between a puzzle and a role play, between a social network and ancient art, between a VIP dinner and a romantic picnic. Streetdiner is supported by the city council of Ferrara as it is considered a great contribution to the city’s promotion. What is a better way to make people love your city than letting them explore the beauty while playing a game that ends with a romantic dinner?