Stag Series: The Art of the Happy Hour

We’ve all been there before.

Struck with a bout of cabin fever but all our friends have dates. Maybe you were flaked out on by an “always busy” paramour. Perhaps it is 4:45 and while you’re ready to leave work, you’re not quite ready to go straight home. When I find myself in any of these scenarios (or, like recently, all three at the same time, booo) I just take myself to the nearest happy hour.

It wasn’t until I started telling my friends about it that I realized this is not a normal practice in my age group. I constantly got comments like, “you’re so brave!” or, “I could never go to a bar by myself!” when in fact; the process is pretty simple and doesn’t take a lot of guts at all. In the spirit of good fun, below are my tips for making the most of a random Tuesday night:

For Goodness’ Sake, Don’t go to Just a Bar.

Or a lounge. Or any place that people go to “mix and mingle”, really. The idea is to have great drink, great food and great conversation, and your chance at all three is limited when you’re in some dark place with the music on 80. The way I see it, if I can only get two out of three, I pick food and drink. Ideally, you want to be at a good-to-great steakhouse or otherwise awesome food establishment with adequate bar seating and a thought-out bar bites menu. If you absolutely must do a “bar” bar, make it a hotel lounge. You will get some great conversation from the traveling business people, and the bartenders are artists at the quick-engage, as they rarely deal with regulars.

Go at Actual Happy Hour, NOT at “Date Times”.

This one is tricky as I know people work, blah, blah, but do you really want to be there while new couples feed each other angus sliders? Even if that doesn’t bother you there’s a method to my madness, hear me out. If you walk into a bar area between 5:30 and 6:30 the only people there are professionals looking to take the edge off before they hop on whatever mode of transportation gets them home. So what don’t you have? People you don’t like taking up loads of your time. I probably end up having five 10-15 minute conversations over the course of a happy hour; it is very rare that I’m stuck with one person for the entire duration. Get there at 8:00, and you’re likely to be speaking to the same person until 10. Which is fine if you click, but if you don’t…well, at least you picked a place with good food.

You are on a Date. Dress Accordingly.

Just don’t be that weird person in a cocktail dress at the bar at 5:30. You are taking yourself out for after-work drinks, so jazz up your normal work attire and head out. You may not be looking to meet someone, but you are worth dressing up for.

The best part about the whole thing is you are on a date with yourself, so it’s your rules. If you don’t want to speak to anybody, you don’t have to! If you want to read, you can. If you want to be the life of the bar, your party. There’s no pressure, you don’t have to stay any longer than you want to (unless your favorite team is playing) and you don’t have to worry about coming up with “date conversation”. Relax, have fun, and I’ll see you at the bar!



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