While it’s perfectly acceptable to eat a burrito by yourself in Chipotle or sip on a Starbucks Frappuccino solo, the idea of bellying up to the bar all by your lonesome is shameful to most. But I’m here to tell you it’s awesome.
Over the course of my legal drinking life, I have enjoyed many pre-flight beers and Bloodies alone at airport bars, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I discovered the joys of solo drinking at a real world bar.
I had been forced out of my apartment for the evening (it was being used as the set for an indie movie—don’t ask), so I wandered down to the nearest bar to pass the time. I’ll admit, I was nervous. The bar was populated by canoodling couples and happy hour foursomes. I had only a book and my phone for company. But I still sidled up to the bar and ordered a glass of wine. I took it outside to a table on the sidewalk and sat, looking around, nervously wondering if people were pitying me, the sad, lonely girl drinking wine by herself. But they weren’t. Because, guess what? Other people don’t care about you and your social hangups. They’re having their fun and, for the most part, are perfectly content to let you do you. It was liberating. It was relaxing. And it became a bit of a ritual for me, long after the film crew evacuated my apartment.
If you haven’t had a drink alone in a bar, I highly recommend you try it. Put it on your drinking bucket list. Here, all the reasons why drinking alone can be a seriously good time:
Not Talking Is Awesome
Meditation is difficult, but sitting alone at a bar in silence, simply drinking and breathing—that’s doable. Sit back comfortably, take a sip, swallow, breathe, repeat. It’s boozy zen.
People-Watching Is Better Than Most TV Shows
Think about how much you like reality TV. Well, watching people at a bar is about as real as you can get. Don’t stare, but do observe your fellow humans as they go about their lives. Make up a backstory about that lady in the giant red hat. Follow along as the humans you’ve named Bobby and Sarah-Beth enter into an epic fight. Track Slippery Jeff as he flits from table to table, hitting on anything that breathes. This is better than The Bachelorette.
It’s a Very Grown-up Thing to Do
Much like buying a house or getting engaged, having a drink by yourself is an adult rite of passage.
You Don’t Have to Worry About Paying for Rounds
Don’t worry about keeping track of who got which round, because the answer is always you. You got this round, and you’ll get the next round. Go ahead and order that expensive cocktail—it’s your dime. It’s always your dime when you’re drinking alone.
You Can Drink at Your Own Pace
Slow drinker? No one can shame you if you’re sipping solo. Speed demon? You don’t have to worry about slowing your gulps to stay in the same lane as your buddies.
You Can Get Into Almost Any Bar
If you’ve been looking to grab a cocktail at that tiny, first-come-first-serve speakeasy, but have been foiled every time you’ve gone with a group, consider hitting it up solo. There’s almost always room at the bar for a single drinker.
You Can Really Focus on Your Cocktail
Your bartender put a lot of work into making that cocktail, and all too often, we’ll just gulp it down without even thinking about it. But when you’re drinking alone, there’s nothing to distract you from that magnificent drink. Take the opportunity to appreciate how the olive subtly disperses savory notes into your Martini or how your Negroni changes as it dilutes.
Every Exit Is an Irish Exit
Everyone knows the best way to leave a party is by way of an Irish exit, when you sneak out without having to deal with any awkward goodbyes. Well, when you’re drinking alone, there’s no one to say goodbye to (except maybe the bartender, if you’re particularly polite). Enjoy your anonymous exit.
All of the Free Popcorn Is Yours
No grubby hands but yours will scoop up handfuls of complimentary popcorn or bar nuts. It’s yours, all yours!
You Can Finally Do What You Really Want to Do: Look at Your Phone
When you’re alone, there’s no need to sneakily peek at your Instagram or covertly check your Facebook feed in fear of being rude to your peers. Go ahead—get that phone out and scroll away.
You Can Order Whatever You Damn Please Without Any Fear of Judgment (at Least From the People You Care About)
Your friends may cringe every time you order your signature cocktail (Dirty Martini, extra olive brine on the side), but the only people you’re at risk of offending with your order when you’re alone are eavesdropping bar patrons. And who cares what Slippery Jeff thinks? If you want to order that giant, frozen Daiquiri in a pineapple or even some blue curaçao on the rocks, that’s your business.
It Gets You out of the House
You might be drinking alone, but at least you’re not moping on the couch watching “The One With Ross’ Sandwich” for the umpteenth time. Head to your nearest local, grab a drink, and breathe in that fresh, stale beer air. So this is what the real world is like.