Pubs are most often talked about as places to socialise. And yes, they are of course great for that. But pubs are also a great place to sneak off to on your own every once in a while.
Sitting on your own with a pint, and perhaps something to read, is most definitely one of life’s pleasures. If it’s partway through a weekday afternoon, while the rest of the world is still chained to a desk, so much the better.
And yet I wonder how many people won’t do it because they worry about looking like a Billy No-mates. It’s far better, surely, to be someone who’s secure with their own company. But I recognise that if you’re the anxious type this may be easier said than done.
That’s what the quiet, contemplative pint is for. It’ll help ground you, and relax you, as you sit there trying to look like someone with inner depths — and who’s not afraid to take a moment to explore them every now and then. A pint and a book provide excellent props for a spot of introspection.
The trick is to fake it until you make it: this sort of self-reliance can be cultivated even if it doesn’t come naturally to you. And soon you too will relish the thought of nipping down to the local for a bit of peace and quiet.
The best spot for this activity is, I think, a good corner table. As a solo punter I often worry that I’m getting in the way of others. I don’t know why. It’s not something I’m as concerned with when I’m with friends, but alone I feel like I somehow mustn’t take up space that could be used for more people. Weird, but there you go.
If the place is empty then this isn’t a problem. But empty places can become full over the course of time. If I have a good corner spot I feel like I can watch the comings and goings and not have to fret about getting in people’s way.
Then it’s just a case of appreciating the beer and slowly unwinding from the stresses of the workaday world. You could call it me-time, I suppose, or self-care perhaps. But it’s certainly another thing that pubs are very good for indeed.