Consider this checklist an expansion on the “how to drink alone” post from awhile back. Some can’t stand the idea of having a drink alone. Others might understand and appreciate how heading out for a drink without company can be not just relaxing, but productive too*. Drink shown above: The Harrington
1. A good people-watching seat at the bar
You want to be positioned so you can easily and inconspicuously observe the rest of the place. Being at the far end of the bar will usually work. This way, you can barely move your head when you hear an exasperated woman say “when the f*ck did I turn 36 and have to deal with this BULLSH*T” to see that she actually looks closer to 50, has an enormous silver hibiscus stuck over her ear, and from hairline to cleavage she’s covered in an obscene amount of body glitter. If a train carrying nothing but My Little Ponies and self tanner turned over, that’s what it would look like.
2. Your wedding ring if you’re married
There are plenty of us who don’t have our wedding band glued to our finger 24/7. Be warned… if you forget it and you head to a place you frequent enough that the waitstaff knows you and your better half, (or if you’re headed somewhere new and you run into someone that you know) … it might look a bit odd that you don’t have it on. That, and a guy with a wedding band at the bar by himself might not be the norm, but he’s not a creep out trolling. Usually.
3. Your cell phone, but kept in your pocket.
Do NOT put it on the bar. If a pal is out and texts, so be it. Maybe you meet up. If your phone is on the bar, you’ll look distracted and/or lonely. If you are distracted and/or lonely, might be best to have a quiet night in.
4. A pocket sized notebook and a reliable pen.
Even if you think your brain is suffering serious creative lockup, just get it out and start writing. About half way through that first drink the monkey settles and starts to stack some boxes and sticks (see below). By the time you order a second (if you order a second) the bananas are down. Field Notes are perfect for this job. They fit perfectly in most blazer/sport coat pockets, they’re sturdy, and they’re easy to fold.
5. Cash, and an exit strategy.
Pay in cash. It helps out the good-to-talk-to bartender who might have been kind enough to provide you with some free beer tastes and/or a sample of the new rye on the shelf. Make plans to be out of there at a certain time. Meet up with someone else. Head home and get some needed rest. Just don’t leave it too open ended.
*Wisdom from Travis McGee in “One Fearful Yellow Eye“:
“There is a hairy chimp caged in the back of the mind. The bananas hang out of reach. If you can make him stop leaping and chittering… make him settle down and look around the cage, usually he can find some boxes which he can pile on top of each other… Then he can climb onto the top box and knock down some bananas.”
Photo Credit: Kitty Terwolbeck