How To Drink Alone In A Bar Without Feeling Like A Dick
The Debrief: Because Barchick knows the importance of solo wine time
Illustration by Marina Esmeraldo
In New York anyone who is anyone can be found sat up at the bar at the end of the day, cocktail in hand, it’s the norm, and no one would bat an eyelid. But over in the UK there's a bit of a stigma surrounding solo drinkers and the assumption is that they've been stood up by their Tinder date. BarChick though, loves nothing more than drinking alone, and not just because our wingman can’t keep up.
Whether you’ve had a long day, you’ve got a few hours to kill before meeting mates for dinner or you just really don’t want to go home and face your housemate’s wrath over the washing up, sometimes you need a boozy escape so rather than hiding out in the only coffee chain that’s still open and ordering a weird iced fruit cooler (the one drink without caffeine) then reclaim your night, and hit the bar. And no, we’re not talking old man’s pub.
First of all, let’s get something straight; locals - or, as our nation affectionately refers to them, ‘old men’s pubs’ - are epic. The landlord remembers your name, there are always at least six different flavours of crisps on offer and, once you’ve really got into it with him, you’ll wonder how you ever expected to get anywhere in life without career advice from Kev. But sometimes your local boozer just isn’t the answer.
It’s not just because there’s never any loo roll in the ladies. It’s because being eyed up across a bar is one thing but, since seeing young women drinking on their own is such a rarity, it often means that confused looks and bewilderment from fellow punters are part of the territory, totally taking the fun out of the whole event and making you want to down your drink and make a run for it before you’ve had the chance to log any decent people watching time. No-one should be on the receiving end of a stranger’s pitying eyes when all you want to do is chill out with your old mates gin and tonic.
Next time you’ve had a bad day, want to get some space from your housemates or simply fancy reading your book with nothing but a bottle of prosecco for company (also known as heaven) then head to one of these tried and tested bars that are all hassle and pity-glance free zones. Plus, if you change your mind and fancy some company, all the bartenders are total babes and will be on hand to listen to the trials and tribulations of your attempts at a communal washing-up rota.
The Lido Cafe
Brockwell’s outdoor swimming pool is home to an award-winning restaurant - go for breakfast at the weekend and spend the day with a book in one hand and a jug of Pimms in the other. They do prosecco for £3 a glass on Tuesdays too, more than enough reason to take a days holiday.
Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PA
Everyone knows coffee houses are the ultimate place for alone time so next time you’ve got hours to kill before dinner plans swap your coffee for a cocktail, or combine the two and get one of London’s best espresso martini’s. Cafe by day, bar by night, most of the punters here will be drinking alone anyway.
213 Old Street, London, EC1V 9NR
It’s a bit of a walk from the town centre but if you want to be on your own then this secret, quiet venue is perfect. Sit at the bar and order the Cynar Blossom cocktail with artichoke liqueur (!). If that’s not your thing no worries, all the cocktails here are perfection. You’re gonna have a great time.
52 Upper Belgrave Rd, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2XP
The Paris House
As the name suggests this bar is so Parisian that mature clients come as standard and the staff are super inviting, too. Order yourself a cheese plate and grab a seat by the window for the optimal people watching spot.
21 Western Road, Brighton, Brighton, BN3 1AF
Sometimes all you want is to end the night snogging a stranger purely because he’s wearing a leather jacket and that means he’s cool (true story). For nights that are the total opposite to that, there’s The Botanist. If the Disney princesses had a local, this would be it - the venue is like something out of The Great Gatsby and there isn’t a dirty pint in sight.
78 Deansgate Manchester M3 2FW.
There are speakeasy’s everywhere, but this place does it properly. Get the number off the barman and you’ll be texted a code for the secret downstairs bar - it’s a long winded system, but great dickhead filter.
81 liverpool trading dock, Liverpool, L1 4BB
Mal Bar at Malmaison
If you’re ever in doubt about where to drink solo, hotel bars are always a winner - they’re full of punters on business trips hiding from their colleagues and, because the hotel wants to keep guests happy, rowdy crowds will never spoil your plans.
The Mailbox, 1 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RD
This place has great food, an ever-changing cocktail menu and a really inviting, chilled vibe. There are about 5 spots at the bar so sit up there and introduce yourself to the bartender - if you get any unwanted attention it’ll be sorted with just one look.
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Follow Barchick on Twitter @HotBarChick
Illustration by Marina Esmeraldo
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