Drinking alone – a delicate, unsung art often frowned upon. But there shouldn’t be any shame in taking a minute to bask in the glory of an hour or two of some much needed solitude. Heck, Trappist monks can make a whole life of it – so why shouldn’t we? It’s not like the whole thing will end in a mess of tears and telltale smears of ice cream across our face. (We swear, it was just that one time.) One doesn’t merely join the leagues of moody novelists and George Thorogood without some planning. So, let’s raise our solitary glasses in honor of Valentine’s Day. We’ve accrued a handy-dandy list of where to sip it solo in the city without looking like a lone wolf or lost lamb.
To feel better about yourself by simply watching those around you… Put down your iPhone and pay attention to the scenery. There are quite a few spots in Atlanta where the bar seconds as a front-row, top-notch, Oscar-worthy people-watching. Perhaps there is no greater fiasco inside the perimeter than an evening at Johnny’s Hideaway or Trader Vic's. Better yet, why not make it a double feature? The whole thing will end up a mess of liquid pixie sticks, White Diamond perfume, and some serious cougar carnage. For those on the prowl for a bit of Americana, we couldn’t recommend Southern Comfort Lounge with more fervor. Hop up on a cracked bucket seat at the bar and watch as the menagerie of truck drivers, barflies, and hipsters take the karaoke stage. Oh, and lest we forget – nowhere does it get more real than an evening at Little Five Point’s beloved Yacht Club.
Libating for the Literary-minded… Looking to curl up in a nook is a pleasure revered by many – but a book in one hand and a tall glass of liquid courage in the other? Might be just the thing to make all that curling even more enjoyable. Thanks to a few cafes who add wine and beer and wine to their rotation, this doesn't have to mean smuggling your Franzia into the library. Pulling up a chair at the bohemian Carroll Street Cafe bar (and the tapas menu) with a worn paperback in tow and a good glass of vino at the ready can be one of ATL's most pleasant ways to kill a couple hours. The couches and the beer list at Park Grounds make a dangerously comfortable combination (just be sure to bring headphones to drown out potential dog-barking). And while some coffee shops around town might feel a little too chaotic, Java Vino's living room atmosphere (and handy roster of organic wines) makes for a perfect spot to catch up with your buddy Hemingway.
Finishing your novel (or browsing Reddit, but we won't tell). Rare is the establishment where one can enjoy a grown-up beverage and crack open their laptop without wary glances and bad Wi-Fi. But more and more coffee shops are catching on to the beauty of the alcohol license (hey, that Great American Novel ain't going to write itself sober). Bustling cafes like Octane Westside and Kirkwood’s Taproom is just as picky about their beer list as they are their coffee, which means you can alternate between the two while doing... whatever it is that you're doing on there. And if you need a little extra shot of inspiration, head to Krog Street Market, snag a sweet from Little Tart Bakeshop and a brew from Hop City, then seat yourself at a big community table, to pound at those keys.
Chatting up the bartender. When it comes to drinking solo, the person behind the bar can make or break the whole experience. Snooty mixologists might give you the stink eye if you ask for the wrong drink (don't even think about whipping out that book) and generally elicit a fight or flight response from your frightened temporal lobe. But killing time chatting up a friendly bartender? Might be one of the best arguments against stranger danger we know. We always like talking with the folks pouring our Spiritual Sangria at Sister Louisa's Church (after all, they are Sister Louisa's acolytes), and the folks at Bantam Pub are certainly never short on charm. Looking for a moodier setting? Those whipper-snappers behind the bar at Decatur’s Paper Plane have both cocktails and conversation down to a science.
Having a beer with your best friend. No, not the human kind. Sure, you can't really chat him up about what happened on Walking Dead last weekend or why you can't seem to get a date, but kicking it with your dog and a cold beer is one of life's great pleasures. Our top pick for said activity has to be Park Grounds, where you can grab a beer and toss a tennis ball for your pup in the cafe's dog park. The Wrecking Bar’s cozy little patio is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy not one, but two of man’s best friends – good dogs and great beer – at the same time. Then there's The Midway, where a dog-friendly patio makes for an excellent setting to enjoy one of the best beer lists in Atlanta.