Types of Bars, Ranked by How Good They Are for Drinking Alone
The experience of drinking alone isn’t all about you, you, you. A lot of factors play into a successful solo drink outing, especially your choice of bar. If you’re feeling at all cautious about drinking alone, set yourself up for success by choosing the right type of bar to drink alone at. Here's a definitive ranking from worst to best.
Honky Tonk Bar
A honky tonk bar is the last place you want to be alone. Unless you’re a regular line dancer, you’ll feel like fish out of water. Or possibly a cow in water. When you walk in the door, the music will probably stop and everyone will look your way like in an old Western. OK, maybe it won’t be quite that bad, but think about it: Do you really want to face a packed dance floor doing fast paced, unfamiliar steps or flail around on a mechanical bull to the confused amusement of total strangers? Even if the hootin and hollerin seems like a good distraction from your crushing solitude, country music has a way of turning hauntingly sorrowful, tying up your heart in more knots than a lassoed calf at a rodeo.
Ski Lodge Bar
People tend to go on ski trips with others, and when they’re done skiing, they go to the lodge together to drink warming apres ski beverages as they cozy up to the fire. There’s no room around the fire for you, though, lonesome skier. You can take your boozy hot chocolate and go sit in the snow by yourself for all they care. Try not to cry because your tears will freeze to your face.
Drinking in a tiki bar alone is more isolating than a desert island. Tiki bars are all about festive, communal drinking. As friendly as your fellow tiki fanatics may be, they probably won’t want you slurping down their punch. You can’t drink a Scorpion Bowl by yourself—well, you can, but it’s a horrible idea. And without companions to toast with your Rum Swizzle, the illusion of the Polynesian escape will melt away faster than your crushed ice.
Swim up Bar
If you end up at a swim up bar by yourself, you’re either on vacation alone (bold) or taking a break from your travelling companions (understandable). In either case, good for you for adventuring on your own. Swim up bars are pretty magical no matter the circumstances, and while they’re best enjoyed with a swim partner, there’s no shame in going for a dip and a sip by yourself.
With cocktail prices surging past $20, mixed drinks are best enjoyed in groups, when you and your friends can all order different options and trade sips. If you’re going it alone, though, stick to your favorite classic cocktail instead of chancing it on an unknown menu item. There’s no better way to experience your preferred Martini variation than seated alone at a decent cocktail bar while watching an expert bartender stir and shake.
Everyone’s at a jazz bar to enjoy the music, so sit back with something classy like an Old Fashioned and take in the tunes. In the darkened room, with the crowd closely packed up to the stage, there’s no way to tell you’re flying solo, if you’re feeling awkward about that. Plus, you look super suave rolling in to grab a drink and hear some sophisticated jazz. Google the combo beforehand to make conversation easier.
Assuming you have an in or don’t mind a line, a nightclub is a perfectly acceptable solo option. It’s dark, the music is bumping, and everyone’s a stranger on the dance floor. Take down some liquid courage and go dance the night away.
Guinness and Irish whiskey taste just as good whether you’re drinking with a crew or taking down pints by yourself. A true Irish pub may well be a family business, with generations of bartenders behind the stick to rattle off stories of nights past. But no one will bother you if you’d prefer to cozy up over a steaming beef and Guinness pie.
Who needs company with views of the sunset over a skyline? Rooftop bars tend to be buzzy party scenes, so there are plenty of chatty drinkers to meet. Even if the scene is dead, you can still post some pics of the view to Instagram and make all your absent friends jealous.
Drinking alone at a sports bar is no different than drinking alone in front of your TV. If you’re comfortable spending a little money to take a break from your couch, then by all means pull up a bar stool and order up a beer in front of the game. (This option also only applies to popular sports. You’ll have to keep watching curling at home.)
Whether it’s one of the best hotel bars in the country or just a bare bones boozery near your bed, the hotel bar is one of the best spots to drink alone. There’s a mystique to the comings and goings of strangers, a chance for friendship and romance with each newcomer to the bar. Travellers from all over the world gather in the hotel bar, united by a shared love of beer, wine and spirits, so strike up a conversation with someone passing through, or simply sit back and people watch.
You’re born alone, you die alone, and you drink alone—at least according to most stoic drinkers at gritty, old fashioned dives. A dive bar is a perfect hole to crawl into when you just want to be alone with your alcohol—er, we mean thoughts. If you become a regular solo drinker, there’s even a chance you’ll be adopted into the community, giving you a permanent family of customers and bartenders to drink alone with.
Our absolute favorite place to drink alone is at airport bars. A good proportion of the customers are guaranteed to be drinking alone like you. And if you somehow end up feeling weird about your solo drinks, you can just fly away across the country.