Thought Catalog

A Guide To Going To The Bar Alone

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The act of intentionally going to a bar sans others for the purpose of meeting people who might date you is not as easy as it seems. Here are step-by-step instructions. But first…

Why should you go to a bar alone?

Reason #1: You and your four best friends dressed up on a Friday night in a crowded, sweaty bar filled with dozens of drunk bitties is not good odds. Dating is a numbers game. Put them in your favor.

Reason #2: While going to the bar alone is not weird (keep saying it), people don’t traditionally do it, so it will be noted by people who respect confident, interesting folk. These are the people you want to want you.

Reason #3: What do you have to lose? The answer is: the cost of 1-3 beers, pride (if you happen to run into an ex), and time if it doesn’t work out. You’d lose way more than that trolling through Match.com after Pad Thai and a bottle of wine on a Wednesday night.

What to do when you get there:

Step 1: Do not tell anyone that you intend to go to a bar alone. They might say “That’s weird,” or, “Do you think that’s safe?” or, “Can I come?”

Step 2: Select a venue that’s guaranteed to be crowded with the stereotypes of your choosing. If you live in a hipster hood but prefer to date Harvard types, be sure to travel.

Step 3: Aim to arrive at a post Happy Hour time on a sensible weekday night. So, Tuesday or Wednesday at 8pm.

Step 4: Sit at the bar (never at a table) and order something respectable (read: not pink). Note: It is critical to tip the bartender well. If the first person who sidles up to chat is a douche, you want the ‘tender in your corner.

Step 5: Engage in some form of banal activity that prompts curiosity but not intimidation. So — yes to notes for the fun, freelance article you’re writing, no to notes for the miserable, required CPA exam you’re taking. Your move is to be casually reading and jotting things down while maintaining a look of coy openness to the question, “Hey, what’s that you’re working on?”

Other options: real estate listings, movie script, book with lots of pictures. Not options: sudoku (nerd), nail polish (priss) your iPhone (too typical).

Step 6: Set a time or drink limit and do not move. Your mantra: this is not weird. Think of the bar as a much-more-fun coffee shop. You would have no problem at all sitting alone at a Java The Hut sipping coffee and reading the paper (if you would, get over it). The bar is just like that but people get drunk, feel bold, and talk to each other.

Step 7: Repeat steps one through six until you meet the person with whom you’ll spend the rest of your life. When people ask you how you met, make something up. Nobody wants to meet the love of their life in a bar. TC mark

image – Mel B.

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    • http://www.oneyearintexas.com Perfect Circles

      I went to the bar alone on Friday night to watch World Series game 7 while reading an international affairs journal.  I didn’t meet the love of my life but a guy did tell me we needed our own Arab Spring over here.  He seemed drunk but maybe he was it…

    • Guest

      A sign of a good bar is when the bartender knows how to engineer conversation between strangers subtly.  Even better when they only do this between parties actively looking for interactions.  Also, bartenders at the best hotels in town have amazing stories – definitely worth dressing up for.

    • John

      You could also try asking the guy about what he’s drinking or eating, or engage in convo with the bartender, then bring in someone sitting next to you, and break it off with bartender.  I’m not sure sudoku is nerdy though; that’s like saying that word search puzzles are nerdy, when they’re more like sad things that grandpa might do; maybe a hard crossword that requires asking your bar neighbor for help?  
      Can we now see an article with the same title written by a straight non-really-good-looking-non-extrovert male, so that it is relevant to me?

      • Alasdair

        I assumed this article was written by a guy until you made that comment. I think it’s entirely relevant to us males, although if you’re looking for a date at a bar you’ll usually have to be a bit more forward than just hanging around looking interesting.

        • John

          The common scenario is probably that a guy wants to talk to a girl, and the girl isn’t going to initiate things; if women do the stuff in this article, it does make it easier for the guy to say something, to have an opener.   A reverse article could be about how the guy is sitting there looking at givemesomethingtoread.com articles on his phone alone at the stool, with a beer in front of him, and one or more women appear and sit or stand next to him.  If they aren’t making themselves too approachable, then what?  Said article could be earnest with potential tactical maneuvers, or could demonstrate the tragicomic failure inherent in any attempts to make good conversation when alone, average-range looking, and half in the bag. 

    • not_carlos

      I made the mistake of going to one alone after work one night (golf club bartender) to relax and have a couple of drinks and mindless banter with the bartender. Why did I bother going on a Saturday night????

    • Anonymous
    • Kmcgrath73

      This is fantastic. I have tried to convince my friends that “it’s not weird” but I have not been so concise or eloquent.

    • http://thebackgroundstory.wordpress.com/ The Background Story

      I’ve gone to a bar alone once. It wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be. Creepers did come up to me but no one was too pushy or insistent.

      I didn’t want to go alone but I was on a business trip by myself. I wanted to explore the nightlife of the foreign city I was on. No regrets! :)

    • Barfly

      People call me Barfly.

    • Staylor733

      I always go out alone and most of the time I have a great night meeting lots of new people. If your a confident person then your fine. 

      • LS

        big surprise

    • Sapphoozmak

      Never thought of going to the bar alone until I read this. I often go to the cinema alone and my friends (and the cute guys I meet) think it’s weird. Hello? Cinemas and bars were not created for coupled up or groups of friends alone, and they do not even have a “No Singles Allowed” sign. I’m happy to be one of those who can brave a crowd without a posse. :)

      • http://twitter.com/mung_beans Mung Beans

        Going to the movies alone rules

    • http://bangbangcanary.com/ CAT

      well said!

    • Anonymous
    • http://dirtyyoungmen.wordpress.com Maxwell Chance

      I hit the bar alone all the time. No probs.

      • Irakli

        And how is it? :p

        • http://dirtyyoungmen.wordpress.com Maxwell Chance

          Pretty good. Meet interesting people. Make new friends. Get sloshed.

    • theditsmar

      never.

    • Anonymous
    • http://www.facebook.com/ubeda Joant Ubeda

      Trying this!

    • Anonymous

      holy shit. I feel like a huge dick and a f*ing idiot because the authors are the same singular person. HA! smoking on a saturday and then googling “going to a bar alone” obviously aren’t good practices for me. A bigg ‘ol sorry to the author, I swear I would like you in real life and i’m an asshole only sometimes. I guess I just really hate plagarism, and now need to reevaluate my priorities. hugs and kisses?

      • Amber

        Probably no biggie, especially since you seem so apologetic 

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