I realize that for some, the idea of drinking alone at a bar conjures sad images of loneliness and isolation. But hear me out: There's a certain charm and liberation in embracing the quiet zen of taking yourself out for a drink. Of savoring your drink in solitude at the bar. We're not telling you to abandon your friends, but simply reminding you that sometimes a man can be his own drinking buddy.
Now I'll admit that at first, it might be a little intimidating. Where do you sit? Maybe it's too loud to strike up a conversation with a stranger. And that bartender who you were hoping to befriend always seems to be busy. But just like getting engaged or buying a genuinely nice piece of furniture, having a drink by yourself is an adult rite of passage—it's a little scary at first, but you're always glad you had the guts to do it.
The key here is understanding that this is truly a "choose your own adventure" type of experience. And your decisions will determine how things play out. Want to be left alone? According to a few bartenders I spoke with, then you want to sit at or near the end of a bar. You could even bring a book. It's a cozy spot and you'll pretty much blend in. But if you're looking to be included or strike up a conversation with someone, then you'll want to position yourself in the middle of the bar, where people will naturally sit around you.
The anonymity is an added bonus. When you go to a bar alone, no one there knows anything about you. You're simply a man who's bellied up to the bar, looking to hit the reset button with a good drink. In that way, you're able to be whoever you want to be—at least for tonight. The freedom of choice is one of the best things about drinking alone. You get to decide the type of drink, the ambiance of the bar, and even the music that accompanies your evening. This sense of autonomy can be empowering and adds an element of control to your leisure time.
It also provides a rare opportunity for self-reflection and relaxation. Meditation isn't always easy, but sitting alone at a bar, soaking up the silence, sipping slowly? That's simple and effective. Just sit back and take a drink and swallow. Breathe in and out, and repeat. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, we often find ourselves caught up in social obligations and external distractions. This solo drink allows us to unwind, contemplate and enjoy our own thoughts without any external pressures.
Curious about where to start? Try a hotel bar. Almost all patrons are out-of-towners so you don't run the risk of looking clueless amongst a bar full of regulars. The bartenders are often a little friendlier, too. Plus, in my experience, most hotel lounges are intentionally decorated to be visually interesting and stylishly inviting—all the more to enjoy and look at while sipping your drink. Or maybe you're looking for a dark, dive bar vibe. Perhaps you're interested in a specialty cocktail bar where you can nerd out on rare bottles or house-made bitters with the bartenders because none of your friends are that into it. That's the beauty of the solo drink. It's all up to you.
This is a hybrid of the Korean words for “alone” and “alcoholic beverages” and it’s an expression used by young people embracing loner trends in and around Seoul.