Single Dining For Dudes
Ok, so you’re single and you’d like to eat out at a nice place every now and then but hate sitting at a table by yourself in a crowded dining room for fear people will look at you and wonder when your date will be back from the bathroom or worse, who stood you up. Fear not, the restaurant bar is your friend. Here is why:
1) It’s easy to get a seat, especially at the really nice places. Want to eat at Babbo? Lupa? Union Square Café? No problem. Reservations for premium days and times are impossible at these places but they all serve the full menu at the bar which is first come first serve. Just walk in and tell the host(ess) that you would like to dine at the bar. They will usually refer you to the bartender who, in well-run places, keeps a list so you don’t have to jockey for the next empty seat. Get a drink and wait. I have rarely waited more than 20 minutes.
2) You won’t feel alone. Likely there will be other singles at the bar too, but if not, at least it won’t be obvious to the rest of the restaurant that you are by yourself. Bring a book or newspaper, which will often invite conversation from others, but for god sakes, put away that iPhone or Blackberry. No one will talk to the self-absorbed introverted techie. People will often say “oh I read that book” but no one ever says “did you download the new version of twitter.” If you don’t have a book or newspaper see reason #3.
3) It’s easy to talk to others, especially the cute girl sitting next to you who also happens to be alone. People at the bar are typically friendlier and it’s less awkward to strike up a conversation. If you have eaten there before, chime in with a recommendation, if not, ask what they are having. It’s ok to chime in unsolicited on a conversation happening next to you. It’s a great icebreaker. Just be sure to gauge if they are open to additional conversation or are not interested in your interjection. If it’s a cute girl, and things go well, offer to share dessert or replenish her drink.
4) The bartender is a way better server than a normal waiter. They are captive behind the bar (no flagging down waiters), only have a few customers, and most like to chat and interact with the customers. Also, the bartender is the only one with access to free alcohol!! Therefore, dining at the bar tends to be a cheaper and more inebriating experience.
5) It gives you something to do. Come on. You’re single. You don’t have that much going on. Relax. Start with a drink, or two. Peruse the menu. Order an app and an entrée. Have drinks after dinner until you’re ready to go home. If you aren’t crazy about the company sitting next to you, give it time for someone else to rotate in. They may be new and you have just had dinner and are already an expert. Strike up a conversation (see reason #3.)
So, let’s recap. Easy to get a seat, you’re not alone, you have others to talk to, you get great service, free booze and it gives you something to do. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and eat at the bar tonight!!
P.S. For those of you on a date or even in a relationship, dining at the bar is a solid option. Just think how thrilled your date or girlfriend will be when you take her to Babbo on a last minute whim. Since us guys are notoriously bad at planning things in advance this technique is our saving grace. Enjoy!