Sure, it’s great to grab a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant with a friend or loved ones, but sometimes it’s good to go solo. Dining out alone may seem uncomfortable or intimidating, but it can be quite exhilarating and fun.
Enjoying a meal alone can give you some much needed solitude and allow you time to be alone with your thoughts and ideas. Instead of focusing on small talk and entertaining a guest, you can focus on your meal and surroundings.
If the thought of dining solo in a restaurant or café frightens you, here are some tips on how to ease yourself into feeling comfortable dining alone.
Pick The Meal
If it is your first time dining out alone and you’re a bit wary, you may want to opt for lunch instead of dinner. That way there will be less of a crowd and likely less waiting time.
You may want to plan around a potential lunch rush, or even opt for brunch hours or the post-lunch/pre-dinner window.
If your nerves are really getting the best of you, scope out the restaurant crowd by ordering take out, and then commit to a sit down meal for your next visit.
Select The Restaurant
For solo dining, you may want to skip the crowded date-night hot spots and big, loud restaurants in the evening. Aim for a quieter, more relaxed spot like a laidback café or opt for a restaurant with a bar. You are less likely to feel rushed to give up your spot, and if you take a seat at the bar, you can chat with the bartender if you feel so inclined.
What To Wear
Wear what makes you feel good, whether it be your Sunday’s best or a casual outfit (but be mindful of possible restaurant dress codes). If you’re nervous about dining out alone, feeling comfortable and confident may help.
Where to Sit
When the hostess knows it’s a party of one, they will likely guide you to a suitable table, but some places allow you to choose.
If you’ve found a café or restaurant with a bar, pull up a stool – it’ll be less conspicuous that you’ve ventured out alone. You may even be able to strike up a conversation with other lone diners or the bartender if you’d like.
If you like to meet new people, community tables can be another great way to get a conversation going. These are not always single diners, but being able to sit face to face with others may be better to facilitate small talk.
What To Bring
If you’re striking out at striking a conversation, and people-watching gets old, you may want to have a backup plan. Reading is a great way to pass time. A paperback, Kindle, iPad or even your phone are great companions for a solo dinner.
Placing Your Order
Since you are essentially taking yourself on a date, go ahead and treat yourself. Order something you wouldn’t normally splurge on, or try a few items that caught your eye. Without the normal distractions, you can practice mindful eating, paying careful attention to each bite and really savoring your meal.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet meal alone or want to enjoy the company of friends, you can do so at the Brick! We’ve got plenty of seats in our dining area as well as on our pet-friendly patio. Visit us weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm.