My DH and I arranged to meet another couple for dinner at 7pm. The restaurant is a small neighborhood joint that serves excellent food, is very popular and doesn't take reservations. We arrive at 7pm, the restaurant is 1/3 full and our friends haven't arrived. We wait 20 minutes before friends ring to say they are a few minutes away. We inform the hostess who decides to seat us.
We order drinks then wait 15 -20 more minutes - still no friends. Restaurant is now getting busy. Our server says we can't hold the table once all other tables are taken. Fair enough. We ring our friends who say they are at the end of the street parking their car. We tell our server and then proceed to wait another 15 minutes. STILL no friends!! At this point, the server asks us for the table back which both my DH and I immediately do and we pay for our drinks. We are in fact mortified for keeping the table for so long esp when we could have waited at the bar.
My DH and I decide to give them 5 more minutes and they still don't show. As we are walking back to our car, we hear our friends calling to us. Overall, they were 1 hr+ late. DH and I with hindsight think we should have bailed after 35 minutes and told our friends we were going to go ahead and have dinner elsewhere but would like to know what Chowhounders think. How long would you wait before leaving? Or is it rude to leave, no matter how late your friends are?