Nightlife Try Outs: 5 Posh Bars To Visit When You’re a Party of One
New York might be the city that never sleeps, but that doesn’t mean your posse is always awake and ready for adventure. Don’t let other people’s home-bound plans keep you from treating yourself to a night on the town. Sometimes people scoff when they hear about my inclination for going it alone, but getting over your fear of facing social situations solo opens up an entirely new side of the city. You don’t have to stress out about making plans, you needn’t worry about other people’s loves/hates/dietary restrictions, and doing things off the cuff can lead to so many other surprising adventures. Plus, you can treat yourself to really lavish experiences without worrying about splitting up the tab—deliciously empowering. Whether you are a single girl in need of a dose of romance, a New York newbie looking to make friends, or a culture-addict searching for a unique experience, these posh bars are some of my favorite treats for when I’m flying solo.
1. Brandy Library It’s 7pm on a Friday evening and the library has a gathering of friendly, smartly-dressed folks. The sophisticated ambiance is slightly intimidating at first blush, but once you settle beneath the flattering lighting and sidle up to the mahogany bar in all of its snazzy glory, you’ll immediately feel at ease. Ask the knowledgeable barkeep a ton of questions about the menu—your solo session can double as a free liquor class. Perk: The bar is usually filled with singles that appreciate a well-made cocktail. Best For: Single girls who aren’t afraid to share a Brandy tasting with a stranger. Tip: The record will skip if you order a cliché whiskey and cola. Ask for a recommendation if you need help.
2. Bowery Poetry Club What? Not exactly glamorous, you say? Try telling that to the man reciting E.E. Cummings and drinking cognac. A night of poetry readings might not spell “Night on the Town” for everyone, but if you’ve got a hankering to expand your circle, meet new people, and take advantage of one of New York’s great cultural experiences, BPC is a great place to discover the luxury boho scene on your own. Sure, you’ll bump into a prose-snob or two, but you can always use the live performances and the full bar as an excuse to get away. The crowd is constantly in mingle-gear, and you’ll end up meeting an amazing cast of characters. Perk: The bar is a WiFi café from 12-noon to 6pm. Best For: Those in need of culture shock. Tip: Stop in on Mondays and treat yourself to a night of bingo!
3. Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel Rose Bar runs a tight ship in the small hours of the evening, but early on, the large, lavish spot is filled with interesting locals and outgoing foreigners celebrating in the city. Park yourself at the front bar around 6pm and watch as a slow trickle of hotel guests begin their night. The clientele is high-end, savvy, and inclined to learn more about their surroundings—in this case, you. Gramercy locals still cite it as the best way to start or end their night, and the sensual, tranquil space is a great venue for interesting conversation—even if it’s only with one of the attractive bartenders. Perk: The pool table near the front is a great way to get the night started, and can distract you in case you’re not feeling chatty right off the bat. Best For: Solo girls who want a scene. Tip: Use the art pieces as a sneaky icebreaker—Julian Schnabel designed the furniture, original pieces from Warhol and Keith Haring hang inside.
4. Per Se So, Prince Charming has yet to take you to the (so-called) best restaurant in America? Why not take yourself? This first-class restaurant, full of pomp and circumstance, will certainly put a dent in your pocketbook if you ever decide to overdo a date night, but sit stag at the bar and get sucked into your own little world of complete culinary euphoria. The Salon menu offers lavish dinner and dessert dishes in the front lounge area, priced between $24 and $46. Treat yourself to Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster or go easy with “The Cheese Course, ” and a glass of wine. The serene bar area is full of single parties. Perk: Every staff member is incredibly attentive, making for a surprisingly unstuffy atmosphere. Best For: A date with yourself. Tip: Indulge in the “Brownie And Malted Milk,” a $14 dessert luxury—double chocolate brownie with chocolate “marquise,” caramel ice cream and malt mousse.
5. City Winery Breathe a sigh of relief: this is not a house of hard-core winos. Instead, it’s a venue that pairs a jovial atmosphere with fine wine and music. If you feel like truly being by yourself, you’ll find that the space is cavernous enough for you to melt into the atmosphere. But if you’re feeling chatty, the bar offers a great view of the stage, and friendly patrons often take up casual conversations between sets. Perk: The venue schedules classes like wine pairings and tastings, perfect for a solo act. Best For: Live shows when you’re solo. Tip: Skip City Winery for stag nights when they aren’t hosting a class, or live performance. The giant space can be awkward without their presence.
More Tips For Going Stag in NYC
-Research Your Bars: Even the most out-going girls might feel awkward after popping into a sceney bar or a romantic couples lair. On my first night in the city, I made the mistake of heading to Marquee alone on a Tuesday night after I overheard some girls raving about it. I actually ended up having a great time, and I met a ton of people, but clubbing alone is just a tad unnerving. -Take on a Traveler’s Mentality: Hit up hotel bars, where the ambiance is usually forgiving and people are dying for conversation. Aim to learn about other people. -Give Yourself a Good Reason: Live bands, distracting performances, a great love for foodie fare or mixology—all sneaky props to take the focus off of your party of one. -Draw Attention to Your Confidence: You’re out alone! You’re an independent girl who loves the city and can enjoy it on her own. Celebrate that and strangers will, too.