The Unexpected Delights of Going to a Bar Alone

We often think of guys who drink at bars alone as being sad, lonely, or dealing with alcoholism. We see the trope all the time on TV—you know, the beat-up-looking customer sitting on the same barstool every day. At the end of the night, the barkeep says something along the lines of, “Alright Johnny, let’s get you home.” And everyone feels sorry for Johnny.

But many of us like going to bars alone, and it has nothing to do with being sad or a lush. Sometimes, after a long day’s work, it’s nice to have a drink by ourselves to decompress. Besides, you never know who you may meet when you go to a bar alone. Sometimes the night turns wild…

We asked nine guys about what it is they like about going to bars by themselves, along with tips for guys who want to stop into a bar alone, but feel awkward about it.

Here’s who you’ll hear from:

Why do you like going out to bars alone?

Paul: “I like it because it’s like starting fresh. Nobody knows who I am, so there’s no pressure at all. I can chill at the back and observe, and not worry if I talk to anyone or not.”

Robert: “I honestly think the best part about it for me is that I get to try new things without worrying if someone else wants to. Like heading to a dive bar and chatting to the bartender; I couldn’t do that if I was with someone else.”

Gio: “When I go to bars with my friends I always end up just hanging out with them and never meeting anyone. When I’m alone, I don’t have friends to rely on, so I’m forced to talk to strangers.”

Tom: “I find that when I go out to bars with my friends, it always turns into a night of debauchery. So I started going to bars alone, and I found that I not only spend less money, but I also meet more individuals that way.”

Jospeh: “I’m a people watcher by nature and love spectating the interplay of different energies. Drinks aside, I love the energy of your classic hole in the wall/stereotypical “writer” bars where I can tuck in with a book and then go between reading and bantering with people around me.”

Aaron: “First, I resent the association that solo frequenters of a bar are assumed to be alcoholics with nothing better to do than drain a bottle of Jack until closing time, only to turn around and do it again the next day. What I like the most about solo bar trips is the convergence of everything that’s great about a bar atmosphere without the pressure of having to engage with another human.”

Michael: “I like being able to do whatever I want. I can go to bar a little off the beaten path. I can meet new people. I can eavesdrop on other peoples conversations. If I’m not vibing the bar, I can go somewhere else and not have to ask a group of friends what they want to do. Also, you’re more approachable when you’re solo.”

Julian: “Going to bars alone put everything in perspective for me. I suffer from really bad anxiety, and part of it is going somewhere and feeling unwelcome. When I was going alone to bars and clubs; it was surprisingly the opposite experience. I met so many interesting people, and became less scared about the idea of being alone in these kinds of places.”

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What advice do you have for guys wanting to go out to bars alone, but are a little hesitant?

Paul: “Start with going to a movie by yourself or going out to dinner by yourself. I think a lot of the nervousness comes from being worried about looking like a loner or a weirdo, but when you own it, you realize that there are a lot of valid reasons to go to a bar by yourself.”

Robert: “Finding a bar that is fairly chill is key. Always sit at the bar, as it’s easier to strike up a conversation with the bartender, or get involved with a conversation that others are having with the bartender.”

Will: “If you’re nervous, start by going to your favorite bar. The comfort and familiarity of the setting will take some of the pressure off stepping outside of your comfort zone. Be open to meeting new people, especially the bartenders because sometimes they’ll be the cutest and most interesting people in there.”

Aaron: “Find a bar that resonates with your personal brand, but also attracts people you’re interested in meeting. Also bring an activity. A newspaper, a book or maybe just a journal. I’ve done some pretty deep self reflection during a solo visit to my local watering hole. All it takes is making the decision to be comfortable and confident in doing something alone.”

Michael: “Don’t go to the bar solo and be on your phone the whole time, have open body language, and drink less than usual. You gotta reply on yourself to get your butt home.”

Julian: “Breathe, drink a bit, and put everything into perspective. Once you throw out the stigma of going out alone, it becomes quite fun, especially when your friends don’t wanna go out.”

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