It seems my idea for dining solo is not limited to San Francisco as Amsterdam has a new pop-up place with tables specifically for individuals. Though leave it to the Japanese to make dining alone kind of creepy and weird and with stuffed animals! I'm sorry but adding a cartoon stuffed animal to your table as a seat mate really makes it worse than if your are just updating your status on your mobile phone. But were are not there, we are here and for this weeks blog I'm going to make this stupidly simple for everyone and suggest eating solo at bars. Now I don't mean those skeevy dive bars where a fat hairy guy in a stained tank top and greasy apron shovels outs deep fried brown things from some tiny back room, unless of course nothing else is open and you are too drunk to walk anywhere then I guess it will suffice. The bars I'm talking about are a new breed of place that is popping up with regularity here in town where the menu is as well thought out as their perfectly coiffed cocktails and micro brews

Inside the new Victory Hall serving up selected grub and more from Little Skillet
With the upscale in pricing comes the upscale of your neighborhood bar and since you will more than likely be meeting friends at one of these places later, why not just hop on over before hand and get yourself a bite to soak up all that future alcohol. Dining solo in bars is deceptively simple. It's a place that precludes itself to folks hanging alone, whether they are just looking for some time alone to drown sorrows or celebrate success or "wait for friends" you can also see single people hanging out at these places. This will help you feel less conspicuous and can be an easy answer to not going out at all. 

Some things to keep in mind, remember you are really here just to get some food so don't skip out on some fine dining to just drink and become the sloppy drunk alone person. Grab a seat at the bar or better yet take one of the two-toppers (small tables) and own the fact your are there. Also don't be the person who feels so self conscious you need to immediately engage anyone sitting near you with desperate eye contact as it will probably reek of you being afraid to be by yourself. You may also end up chatting with someone against your better judgment--like the homeless guy who just came in for the bathroom and air conditioning, the out of towner who really wants to share photos of his family's vacation, the lonely almost drunk who just broke up with their other and wants to share their pain or a Scientologist. I mean you never know. I'm not suggesting you totally forgo human interaction, I'm just saying to look for the social clues that may show if the person next to you wants to engage, if so then chat away, otherwise, don't force yourself into someones space. 

Mostly it's best to stick with the usual things--surf your phone, update your social media, take photos of the food, read a magazine, break out your iPad and play a game, read one of the paper weeklies, kindle, or best of all--watch the television some of them have over the bar which is a great distraction. While not all bars have them many do these days, even some of the upscale ones. San Francisco is rich with pretty good sports teams and folks want to see them, thus the influx of TVs. And if nothing else it will make you feel some camaraderie with those around you pulling for the same team. Though don't break out the laptop, I think for a bar setting that is just a step too far even for this tech heavy town.  

The list of places you can go for good eats and solo seats covers most every hood so here a just a few:

Jamber Wine Pub--plus they have a great patio.

Victory Hall--what could be better with beer than chicken and a waffle!
The Alembic--come on they have bone marrow.
Dear Mom--good food with the divey ambiance.
Broken Record--food changes constantly to keep things interesting.
Pete's Tavern--sports bar yes, but really good burgers, curly fries and much more.
Hi Tops--yes it's for the GLTB crowd but the fried chicken sandwich--amazeballs.
Trick Dog--food made to pair with their booze.
Tee Off Bar and Grill--forgive them for being on that Guy Fieri show, food is good.
Mars Bar--another with eats and outdoor patio for sunny days.

Well that should be enough to get one started, but trust me these are just a drop in the bucket for what this city has to offer. And by all means feel free to list any bar food favorites in the comments section.

I know I make it sound so simple to just throw on some clothes and get out of the house to dine, and in this particular case it really is. Some of the food being dished up at local watering holes these days is on a par with well liked restaurants in the city. Plus a number of bars are even on the cutting edge of new foodie finds as they host weekly pop-ups of chefs and cooks trying out new food like:

Tango & Stache with their cocktail inspired food.
Bespoke Donuts and their off-beat choices.
Trilogi SF and their Asian inspired food.
And of course Kronner Burger and WesBurger which pop-up all over town too.

So don't be afraid to get out and eat out even though I know this is only step two along the way but with the unlimited choices for food in San Francisco and in particular at bars why not give one a try. If nothing else it will get you out of the house, get you some good food in a relaxed and casual setting and who knows--you may actually meet someone who's solo dining too.