Dining Out Alone?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 30, 2011 3:59 AM GMT
    I live in the 'burbs. No one I know lives close enough to me to just pop out and get a bite to eat. If I'm going to dine out alone, I usually just get carryout and eat at home, but the food is worse that way. I occasionally go to a restaurant by myself, but I always feel strange sitting at a table by myself. I don't sit at the bar because I don't drink.

    Does anyone else feel this way? Or is this something that I just need to get over?
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    Oct 30, 2011 4:12 AM GMT
    It's different for different people. I can eat alone and I can go to the movies by myself. No hang-ups or insecurities. So yeah, get over it. icon_wink.gif
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    Oct 30, 2011 4:27 AM GMT
    I bring my iPhone and headphones. Prop it up on the table, load up a movie or TV series, and eat my food.

    I usually eat at restaurants that don't have hosts to seat you.
    .

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    Oct 30, 2011 4:42 AM GMT
    xrichx saidIt's different for different people. I can eat alone and I can go to the movies by myself. No hang-ups or insecurities. So yeah, get over it. icon_wink.gif


    The irony is that, with everything else in life, I'm fine being by myself. I'm almost a lone-wolf type. This is the one hang-up that I have.

    RobertF64 saidI bring my iPhone and headphones. Prop it up on the table, load up a movie or TV series, and eat my food.

    I usually eat at restaurants that don't have hosts to seat you.
    .



    Now that I have an iPhone, that's exactly what I plan to do. I listened to music the other day. I also bought an iPad partially for this purpose. I figured it would give me something to do, but it also might be a conversation starter. I'm not good about striking up a conversation with strangers. Being seated by a hostess is definitely the worst. There's something very depressing about how they say "just one?"
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    Oct 30, 2011 4:51 AM GMT
    I don't really dine out at a restaurant by myself.

    I will order from somewhere and go home and eat alone.

    In fact, I ordered from Outback tonight. Took it home, ate it ALONE.

    BUT I have gone to see a movie by myself plenty of times and DIDN'T feel bad about it.
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    Oct 30, 2011 5:00 AM GMT
    iRUNtheWORLD saidI don't really dine out at a restaurant by myself.

    I will order from somewhere and go home and eat alone.

    In fact, I ordered from Outback tonight. Took it home, ate it ALONE.

    BUT I have gone to see a movie by myself plenty of times and DIDN'T feel bad about it.


    I ordered from Outback last night, but that was more because I wasn't feeling 100% and didn't want to stay out. The food is much better at the restaurant. The fries get soggy. I got Bonefish carryout a few weeks ago, and the fish was totally undercooked. I couldn't do anything about it. I used to go to that restaurant alone, but they put me with the same waitress several times in a row. It became embarrassing (and she wasn't very good).
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    Oct 30, 2011 6:04 AM GMT
    dining alone can be a culinary adventure . . . for example, a seat at the counter (not bar) at Boulevard in San Francisco is a front row seat to the creative process . . .

    . . . .just find a place that feels right to you . . .
  • NHLFAN

    Posts: 370

    Oct 30, 2011 4:10 PM GMT
    Go out and enjoy yourself and have a good meal. Does it really matter that you are by yourself? There are many reasons why people eat alone, one being they are on a business trip and are traveling by themselves. Just because people "assume" doesn't mean you shouldn't live your life and enjoy.

    I'm with a previous poster I can dine alone or go to the movies and have no insecurities at all.
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    Oct 30, 2011 4:13 PM GMT
    I'm a big foody and love to try new places alone so I can really enjoy the food and abeyance. Don't have to worry about condo or time. Same goes for movies, I go alone all the time, sit wherever I want and stay thru the credits!
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    Oct 30, 2011 4:14 PM GMT
    I eat alone all the time. I travel for work and often am alone when I eat so I got use to it. I just bring my phone with me so I have something to read.
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    Oct 30, 2011 4:15 PM GMT
    I do a lot of things alone: eat, sleep, have sex icon_eek.gif
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Oct 30, 2011 4:27 PM GMT
    i'm used to it from my days back when i was a food critic. i will say when i'm dining alone the conversation is way more intelligent than on some of my more recent dates.
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    Oct 30, 2011 4:36 PM GMT
    I'm with you; not a big fan of it. I had to do so for work and would either read (this was in pre-smartphone days) or look for the kind of place that had a bar or counter which at least leaves open the possibility that someone will talk to you. I agree that take-out food is never as good as food eaten right away.

    We have a recently-reopened bar that I can walk to from my house. I work from home most days and if my BF is at the office I will sometimes walk up there to eat lunch. I am there enough that the staff know me (I am the "mayor" on Foursquare, so the owner is always giving me stuff and making jokes about it, even though I'm not even sure he knows what it is) and so there is always conversation even if not with other patrons. I get a kick out of listening to the stories of what goes on at the bar at night!

    It is definitely less awkward in the daytime than at night, and at a more casual place than at a more formal one. Nobody would think anything of a person eating alone at a diner or fast food place. We have a new chain the Muscle Maker Grill (anybody else been to one of these? started in NJ but is spreading to other states) which is usually full of meat candy and I have no qualms about sitting there alone and eating, a lot of guys do.
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    Oct 30, 2011 4:37 PM GMT
    Sit at the bar and eat dinner even if you're not drinking. I bartended at an Outback for several years and some of our best regulars at the bar ate dinner and drank iced tea. I agree that sitting at a table by yourself can be kinda uncomfortable.
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    Oct 30, 2011 4:45 PM GMT
    You can still eat at the bar without drinking anything stronger than water or soda. icon_smile.gif Unless there's only table service that's what I always do when I'm dining solo. It seems more conspicuous to be the only person at a table. Plus, I've had plenty of great conversations - and even built an entirely new circle of friends - from having a meal at a restaurant's bar. About the only take-out I ever do is fast food. And that's rare, since the taste is only about as good as the nutritional content. Of course I cook at home on occasion, too, LOL...but I'd rather be out among people if not always with people.
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    Oct 30, 2011 4:47 PM GMT
    RobertF64 saidI bring my iPhone and headphones. Prop it up on the table, load up a movie or TV series, and eat my food
    I currently have a 30 something temp who has been helping out for several weeks. I felt bad that I had not taken him out for lunch and decided to sit with him one day in the cafeteria while he was spotted alone. The entire time he watched video on his iPhone, even after being asked if it were OK to join him. There was no face time what so ever. Whoa!

    I traveled for 22 years and did a lot of alone time in restaurants. This is really a non-issue for me. It doesn't bother me when alone on vacation these days. I did enjoy restaurants where there was a community style serving of sitting with strangers. Some incredible people were met, as well as some really strange ones.
  • justinlee86

    Posts: 501

    Oct 30, 2011 4:49 PM GMT
    I personally do not mind whatsoever to go to a restaurant or bar by myself!

    A lot of my friends do say they do not like to go to restaurants by themselves though. So, I think you should not worry about what other people think, bring a magazine and enjoy your food!
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    Oct 30, 2011 4:51 PM GMT
    Unless I'm traveling for business, I really never dine out alone. If I feel like going out to eat I see it as a good occasion to spend time with a friend (or friends).
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19138

    Oct 30, 2011 4:52 PM GMT
    I enjoy eating breakfast out alone only because I like reading the newspaper. I rarely eat dinner out alone, but occasionally I go to a favorite local restaurant if I am hungry for their prime rib and just sit at the bar and chat it up with the bartender. It's usually an impromptu thing last minute, and I have no problem eating alone
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    Oct 30, 2011 4:54 PM GMT
    nabob7729 said
    RobertF64 saidI bring my iPhone and headphones. Prop it up on the table, load up a movie or TV series, and eat my food
    I currently have a 30 something temp who has been helping out for several weeks. I felt bad that I had not taken him out for lunch and decided to sit with him one day in the cafeteria while he was spotted alone. The entire time he watched video on his iPhone, even after being asked if it were OK to join him. There was no face time what so ever. Whoa!

    I traveled for 22 years and did a lot of alone time in restaurants. This is really a non-issue for me. It doesn't bother me when alone on vacation these days. I did enjoy restaurants where there was a community style serving of sitting with strangers. Some incredible people were met, as well as some really strange ones.


    Regarding your temp, there are definitely some new norms about what is considered polite among the iGeneration. My younger friends do not take offense at all to sharing each other's attention with their gadgets. My older ones hate it. However it is apparently contagious. My mom, who used to bitch about us doing it, now has a Blackberry and is just as guilty as the rest of us.

    Regarding your second comment, we had a restaurant for a few years in town which had one long table where a single person or couple could request to sit (but not reserve in advance) with others. It had a special tasting menu and the idea was to foster conversation with new people. We never tried it. I enjoy such things but my introverted BF would be very uncomfortable. Same thing on cruises: he always prefers a two-top table (although we were paired with the only other under-fifties on one British cruise and they ended up being our pals throughout the voyage).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 30, 2011 6:15 PM GMT
    You should absolutely sit at the bar. There isn't an expectation that you are going to drink just because you're sitting there. And it gives you the opportunity to meet other people who might live closer to you, not that you're obligated to talk to people at the bar when you're sitting there.

    I sit at the bar all the time, especially during lunch. You might even get better service there, depending on what time of day and the location. The one disadvantage may be is that it is often the designated smoking area.
  • KissTheSky

    Posts: 1981

    Oct 30, 2011 9:31 PM GMT
    I worked at a bunch of restaurants in college, and I can tell you that the restaurant staff don't care if you come in by yourself. They've all got their own problems. icon_lol.gif
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    Oct 30, 2011 9:38 PM GMT
    Doesnt bother me to sit at a restaurant alone. The day of the smart phone has arrived... also, its fun people watching. I like sitting alone and just... relaxing. Another easy way is to sit at the bar. Seems less "taboo" that way!

  • LaxJock16

    Posts: 784

    Oct 30, 2011 9:39 PM GMT
    I do most everything in life alone, I go to movies alone, eat alone and shop alone... I feel this post... I enjoy doing things alone but it would be nice to do the aforementioned with someone or people. I totally feel this cos I live a majority singular/ solitary life...
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    Oct 30, 2011 10:25 PM GMT
    DudeInNOVA saidDoes anyone else feel this way? Or is this something that I just need to get over?

    Half and half for me. I can thoroughly enjoy myself alone, but if I have a choice it will be with someone. I certainly won't stay at home or in a hotel room merely because I don't have a dinner companion.

    I guess part of that has to do with my traveling so much on official business years ago, typically alone. But then *I* knew I was traveling by myself, and if others in the restaurant didn't know, too bad. I was there for me, not for them.

    The trick, I think, if you're really concerned with appearances, is to look happy & content while alone, as friendly and outgoing to the serving staff as you can. I certainly do, because I am. If you look like you just lost your last friend in the world, well, I guess people will draw their conclusions.

    Give me a gin martini and a prime rib or other steak and I'm as happy as can be. Happier with a companion, but never unhappy alone, either. I guess just the way I am. icon_biggrin.gif