So my last post about traveling solo went down really well. I got so much amazing feedback and comments on here and twitter, that you guys just made me smile so much. But there were some comments from people about how they could never travel alone. Well continuing the theme I thought I’d tell you about an amazing bar I tried on Friday on my own, and give my top tips for drinking at a bar alone.
On Friday I was all geared up to go have some fantastic cocktails with company, but sadly my partner in crime was caught up with work, and I found myself alone at Polo Bar in Mayfair.
Polo Bar, is the 5* Westbury Hotel's bar. It’s Art Deco in design, and takes grandeur in its stride. There are Swarovski Crystal blinds at the window and Fendi interiors. On paper is sounds quite imposing and maybe somewhere that would seem too uptight, but as soon as I walked in the mood was not like other stuffy Mayfair bars. I was genuinely warmly greeted and even the other guests were relaxed and gave off warm vibes.
Whilst I waited for my company (before I knew I'd be alone) I ordered from the newly launched menu.
I started with the Divine. A beluga vodka, with passion fruit, lime, Galliano (a type of sweet, herbal liqueur) and saffron syrup. The drink was delicious. I real fruity mix, with just a hint of spice to cut through all the sweetness.
Now you might be wondering why there is a mini drink next to it? Well here at Polo Bar, you get a little side drink of the same cocktail, as you know when your with friends and they ask to try your drink? Well this way, they can try your drink without nicking any of yours! Genius.
Although for a solo drinker, it just meant I got extra. You don't see me complaining.
Yes definitely. Sometimes I like not having to talk to people. I like being able to just have some time to myself and think things over. Plus I've said it before, but treating myself to a good quality drink on my own, does wonders for my self esteem. I just come away feeling that much more sophisticated... even if it's only till I get home and put my Star Wars PJs on (true fact)
So here are some top tips if you are a bit nervous of drinking alone
Not everywhere is right to drink alone in. Some places I feel uncomfortable in. I find that quieter places are easier, as the whole point of going alone is to enjoy my own company, and if I can barely here my own thoughts, there's really no point. Upmarket or low key is a tricky one, as yes, nice upmarket places like Polo Bar make it very nice to spend time in, but then some upmarket places are so pretentious you get odd looks that are just down right uncomfortable. Same with lower key places, some are too rowdy and you'll get unwanted attention, yet others like a nice country pub are great for keeping a low profile.
Sadly if you go to a bar late in the evening in a city, people are going to make assumptions that you want to get picked up. It's just the way the world works. Don't get me wrong, if you want to wear that slinky dress and own that bar on your own, without any intention of wanting to hook up, I'm giving you a virtual high 5 through my screen. But if you don't want to get harassed, it's probably best to go afternoon to early evening time.
Have something to do
With all good intentions of sitting there putting the world to right in your head, being alone can mean boredom sets in sometimes. So have something to do. I wouldn't recommend whacking out a book in a bar, that's more coffee shop, but your phone, sure why not. When I've done enough sipping and thinking to myself, I like to actually use the time to answer some emails and then go back to my drink. Why not, you've got no one to tel you your on your phone to much!
Location to the bar
I have mixed opinions on this depending on what mood I'm in. If you want company, sit at the bar and strike up conversation with the bartender. I don't mean bug him/her, but ask them to explain your drink, ask them what they recommend and just little chit chat here and there. It's also good if your worried about appearances, as it draws less attention. But if you don't want to talk to anyone, grab yourself a table. It's perfectly fine to have a table to yourself (although don't grab a big one, that's just selfish).
Also another good thing you can do is order some nibbles. It takes away some of the awkwardness. So on Friday I ordered some smoked salmon cones. Made from London smoked salmon mousse, crème fraiche, Aquitaine caviar and chives they were really nice. Very fresh and light, and the unusual textures made for a really interesting tasting experience.
However this drink made my night. What a drink! This is Masterful. Millers gin infused with apricots and shaken with homemade lavender syrup, lemon, sugar and egg white. Oh lordy it was so good!
Next was Scarlet Gem Ilegal Mezcal Joven shaken with orange marmalade, Campari and Cocchi Barolo Chinato. This ones more sour and more strong. Personally I'm a girly drinker (and I own that) so it wasn't my favourite.
But the tempura prawns made up for it. They were so big, fat and juicy.
What if I get unwanted attention?
If you are a woman, it very well could happen. I find most men are simply just trying to strike up conversation and if you say you don't really want to be disturbed then they'll happily leave you alone. But if someone is persistent or even sits down at your table without your permission, you have to just ell them straight "I'm sorry, but I'm not looking for company right now" but if you find yourself a bit stuck, you can be more subtle and signal to the waiter/ bar staff to come over, as being alone in a bar usually means they will have clocked you.
Finally just own it. You have every right to be there as anyone with company. Enjoy your time alone, enjoy good drinks, and enjoy your new found independence.
I was certainly enjoying my time alone at Polo Bar. I can't remember what my final drink was (bad blogger) as for some reason my notes are blank for this drink. However it really was fantastic.
The Polo Bar is such a great bar, solo or not, I'd highly recommend. The staff are fantastic and will look after you.
If you want to go drink alone, but are nervous to, I'd just say go for it. The worst thing would be you hate it, and you leave. But just give it ago. You might just find you love it.