When Is It Cool To Go To A Bar Alone?

drinking alone


  • When is okay to drink by yourself at a bar?
  • There are only a couple of times when doing so is considered socially acceptable
  • More cool stuff here

When it comes to drinking alone, it’s kind of one of those things that gets a bad rap. It’s not a good look, people will say. And for the most part, those people aren’t wrong, per se. But there’s some nuance at play that can’t be discounted when it comes to drinking alone. Like, it’s not all bad and in fact, sometimes it’s all good.

But wait, when are those times?

Thankfully, this was a question that was recently raised by a reader.

Q: I come to you to help settle a dispute between me and my friends. Sometimes I go out by myself to a bar to just get out and enjoy some alone time, maybe meet new people and have a drink, thats it. This happen like once or twice a month if I’m feeling adventurous, and they say I’m an “alcoholic” because i know the bartenders on a first name basis and that it’s weird to go out by yourself. So the question is, do you think its weird to go to a bar alone?

No, it’s not weird. But context is important. There are a handful of incredibly specific situations in which a person going to a bar alone is fine or in this case, not weird.

Going To A Bar Alone Is Cool When You Are Traveling

If you’re alone in a strange town, traveling for work, or just hiding from life, it’s perfectly acceptable to go out to a bar alone. The lone traveler has found safe refuge when saddling up to a bar since the moment bars were invented. In olden times, a dude on a horse traveling from one side of Greece to the other, most definitely spent a night or two set up at a local tavern, making small talk with the locals and watching a gladiator match on TV. It worked for him then, it works for people in similar positions now.

However, if you’re in such a position and embarking on a solo adventure, the alternative to drinking by yourself at a bar is to sit alone in your hotel room and drink. And going back to the original question, it should be noted that THAT’S the sign of a true alcoholic. You can bring a beer back to your room after drinking at the bar; that’s cool. But spending the whole night pounding beers by your lonesome while watching reruns of The Office is most definitely not cool. It’s actually kind of sad.

Going out and drinking means you’re at least a social and functioning alcoholic, which when all things are considered, is preferable to the alternative.

Going To A Bar Alone Is Cool If You’re Dealing With A Break-Up

Ah yes, the fragility of someone nursing their wounds after a break-up; they too are in need of a place of refuge. Of course, they need to find ways to re-enter society and reconnect with friends they may have drifted from during the relationship in question. But they also need some peace and quiet and if anything, some gentle nurturing from a well-traveled bartender, one familiar with the ways of mending a broken heart.

Just be careful. This one can go sideways quickly. A couple of wrong turns and you’ve either picked a fight with someone, proposed to someone, or taken a dinger off a barstool and are in need of medical attention.

Going To A Bar Alone Is Cool If It’s Just Temporary

You know, if you’re meeting up with friends at a bar and you get there early. You don’t want to make it awkward and post up at the bar, quietly waiting. No, again, that’s weird and the main goal here is not to be weird. Waiting outside the bar for your friends is also weird. It looks needy. Just go inside and grab a drink.

Also, and this is kind of a bonus, is that if you get a spot at the bar and a drink before the rest of your crew arrives, you have established a line of communication with the bartender and can help get them up to speed. You become a hero. You can provide them with the refuge we’ve been talking about and you can help get them drinks. That’s great!

Be a hero. Don’t be weird. It’s that simple.

Going To A Bar Alone Is Cool If It’s Lunch

The old liquid lunch, kid. It looked like so much fun on Mad Men. Well, except for that time when Freddie Rumson got so drunk he pissed his pants in his office. That did not look like fun. But besides that, looked pretty sweet.

Now, if you’re planning on taking the entire lunch hour to grab a couple of drinks, it’s preferable to go solo. The more people you add to the mix, the greater your chances are of getting caught when someone can’t hold their tequila back at the office. Be cool about it. Be like Don Draper.

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