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Session #65: Drinking Alone is a Compromise

Tony Hancock capturing the feeling of drinking alone.

This is our contribution to Session #65: So Lonely hosted by Nathaniel Southwood.

We rarely find ourselves alone in the pub because, as a bare minimum, we’ve usually got each other.

When it does happen, it’s rarely by choice, and often as a result of an inconvenience — broken public transport, being stood up by mates or needing to shelter from the rain.

We associate it with being away from home on business and lonely meals in provincial pubs, polished off as quickly as possible, trying to read a magazine while being given the stink-eye by local barflies.

We think of that awful feeling of being in the way, taking up one seat on a table in a London pub as a party of six stands nearby issuing loud passive-aggressive warnings about how there would be somewhere to sit if people were LESS BLOODY SELFISH! (This is not relaxing.)

Boak’s had too many solitary drinks ruined by the circling of creepy blokes wanting to know if she’s got a boyfriend and what she’s reading and whether she fancies a kebab later.

Bailey doesn’t have the discipline to drink alone: without conversation to distract him, he’s three pints down in forty minutes, legless drunk and maudlin.

There are better places to read books than the pub and far better places to find peace and quiet.

Anticipating lots of session posts waxing lyrical about the magic of solitary drinking, we thought we’d let loose our misery-guts tendency. If you need cheering up after this, go to the pub with your mates.

13 replies on “Session #65: Drinking Alone is a Compromise”

One consequence I’ve found of drinking alone with a book is that I drink so much that the next day I’ve forgotten what I’ve read. It’s happened far too many times, I should just go straight home from the book shop.

We rarely find ourselves alone in the pub because, as a bare minimum, we’ve usually got each other.

Ah… you should have stopped there! Sweet.

Unlike you, I haven’t got a beer-loving other half, and unlike Phil (this could get confusing) I like drinking alone. Maybe I’ll blog on it.

we thought we’d let loose our misery-guts tendency. If you need cheering up after this, go to the pub with your mates

Mates. You think I’d go to the pub alone if I had mates to go with?

Fair play, I don’t bother with pubs unless I’m meeting friends or I’m with my (thankfully beer loving) other half. Given I used to live in a pub (and have stayed in many others) I have spent plenty of time very much alone in pubs though!

I like going to the pub on my own, I read, I write (it’s an office of sorts) and I watch people, oh and I drink, usually slower cause I’m not in a round — and I’m sitting in a pub on my own at the moment, perfectly content with the life that goes on me, not even having got halfway down my pint in the last 30 mins

“taking up one seat at a table”

Pah! Clearly you don’t subscribe to the Bar Philosophy of Hemingway: why sit at a table when you can stand at a bar

It doesn’t bother me – give me a decent newspaper and a tasty pint and I’m quite happy.
But then I like nothing better than being in an unfamiliar place and strolling round the next corner to see if there’s a good pub. It’s one of life’s great pleasures when you find one.
Why, only yesterday while staying at a hotel in the middle of nowhere just outside Belfast I decided to go for an evening stroll to see what turned up.
Three of the shittiest boozers I’ve ever encountered, to be honest, with not a single cask beer on offer ( but then Northern Ireland is truly the shittiest of shitholes when it comes to decent beer .)
But I did come across the fag-end of a funeral wake in one which made for interesting theatre, a friendly local in another who happily nattered away with me and a heavily-tattooed and ear-ringed barman in an empty third pub glad of my company.We chinwagged about the Troubles, agreed all politicians are dickheads and ended up attacking a bottle of Famous Grouse with gusto and vengeance.
The pubs were forgettable but I had an enjoyable evening and it was certainly better than pulling my wire to some tepid hotel soft porn back in the room.
Happy days.

I often find myself heading off to the pub alone, but usually hope to bump into someone I know. As a result of the failiure of this practice, I seem to know a lot of bar staff, although ost of them are good eggs.

In order to cover the shame of Billy no mates supping I have carefully attributed the euphemistic title of “research” to such practices. This at least makes me less aware of the sad emptiness of my pub visits from time to time.

Still, when I do bump into folks its always a nice surprise, and at least I can be honest with them. Meeting Mr Paul the DJ and his friends in the Red Deer he said “this is wee beefy, he’s a beer officianado”. “Don’t be daft” I said, “I’m just a lush”. How we laughed (etc)……

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