One hundred and sixty-five

Bar hopping – solo

Single ladies in Toronto, I have a perfect plan for you to pick up men.  No more online dating or set-ups with your friends.  Just head to a bar alone.  Sit at the bar, at a table, on the floor – it doesn’t matter.  Look confident and calm.  A man will approach you within a few minutes!

Last night I decided to bar hop on the Ossington strip alone – head into a few bars, buy myself a drink and see what happens.  I’ve traveled a lot, so have dined out on my own, but have never really hit the bars solo.  Putting on makeup, choosing a cute outfit, choosing a bar, all seemed so odd without someone to meet up with.  Looking hot for myself.  And I was really looking forward to having some quality “me” time.  As always, things didn’t go exactly according to plan.  Here was my evening:

10:13 PM – Leave my house on my bike.  Cycle through Queen West trying to find a good starter bar.  End up at Ossington because of nerves and not knowing where to begin.

10:30 PM – Reposado.  Ordered a margarita from the bar and sat down at a two-person table because the bar area was full.  At first I felt the need to write or do something.  Eventually, though, I just settled in to just being there.  The live jazz music helped.

10:35 PM – I am loving this!  I can be anybody.  I don’t have to impress.  I can just enjoy my evening.  Why didn’t I just do 31 solo dates in May instead?

10:40 PM – I start to doubt myself.  Is it normal to be a girl alone at a bar?  Is everyone watching me and think I was stood up by a date or waiting for someone?  Or does anyone even notice me?  Do the ones that do notice just want me to leave so they can have my table?

10:45 PM – A man sits down across from me.  “Are you alone?  Because you’re too pretty to be alone.”  First pick-up line of the evening.  “Yep, I’m alone.”  Turns out there was a private party early in the evening with free tequila shots and Ernie (code name) was still there from that.  He writes reviews online and is a blogger.  Told him about my blog.  Damn!  Was supposed to stay anonymous, but was hard to turn down the publicity.  Enjoyed my chat with him about how much he loves Toronto.  Great hearing it, as I’m getting a little frustrated with my city these days.

11:10 PM – Excused myself from Ernie’s presence, explaining that I was hopping off to another bar.

11:15 PM – The Painted Lady.  It’s packed, but also had live music, so thought it would be fun.  Hard to get up to the bar to order my g and t.  Even harder to find somewhere to stand and not look extremely uncomfortable.  Walked around the tiny bar.  Looked at the photos on the wall.  Tried to lean on a table near the stairs to the washroom, but kept getting bumped around.  Drinking very fast.  So ready to leave.

11:18 PM – Guzzling my gin and tonic now.  Feeling really awkward and I’m sure it’s showing on my face.  So much for the confident and calm.  Dave (also a code name) approaches.  “Do you know where Dakota’s is?” Second pick-up line of the evening.  I explain where.  He starts a conversation about the area and how he’s visiting from BC (for a wedding).

11:20 PM – Dave is buying me a drink, despite my protests.  I’m really enjoying our conversation.  He’s from Vancouver, where I lived, and has worked in restaurants as long as I have.  We laugh a lot.

11:55 PM – I invite Dave to my last bar stop on my way home.  I know I’m supposed to be enjoying my evening by myself, but I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to be a tour guide.

12:00 AM – Sweaty Betty’s – Dave buys me another drink, despite me trying to pay for this round.  We run into a friend of mine from work and chat.  I need to work in the morning, so should be going home soon.

12:37 AM – Still at Sweaty Betty’s. Dave’s gone to the washroom.  I am slightly tipsy and having a great time.

1:37 AM – Time to say goodbye.  We exchange numbers so he can show me an evening out in Vancouver when I’m there in September.  I thank him for joining me.  I don’t tell him about the blog.

1:55 AM – In bed and loved my night out – both the solo portions and the socializing.  I will definitely be bar hopping solo again.  I felt like a tourist in my own city.