Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hanging in a hotel bar

Have you ever been on a business trip alone? What do you do with yourself at night? Hide in your room where it's safe and order room service. All guilty raise your hands. Hey it's OK, mine is raised too. I hate eating alone. I always feel like a total loser. If I do it I usually dine in the hotel restaurant where I feel less conspicuous among the other single diners. Once in a while to push the envelope, I go to the hotel bar to people watch. I usually bring a book or my laptop to pretend that I do not care that I am alone at night in a strange city. The wait staff always is very attentive if pitying.

On this business trip, I was sitting tucked into a corner of the cave-like lobby bar sipping my Mojito and munching on super-chic whole-wheat tortillas with fancy homemade salsa that at home with would have come from a jar labeled Tostito. I looked up as the bubble of conversation burst at the bar. There was a flurry of activity with a curly haired young man and his apparent girlfriend. Another couple walked over and started talking, pictures were being taken then the curly-haired man and his girl left and the other couple sat back down at the bar. Curious, I surreptitiously watched them. An older couple at a table close to the bar engaged the barflies. Eavesdropping, I heard them query what was going on. Well, surprise, surprise, it was a Spanish celebrity. And, apparently, there had been a basketball star in earlier. I am so utterly hopeless with celebrity recognition. I worked in Manhattan for 11 years for heaven's sake and only saw a celebrity once. I am sure they walked past me regularly but I am unusually oblivious.

Most other people in the bar were completely in the dark literally and figuratively; leaning close caught up in each other, intent on their smart phones texting their friends or pretending to read their messages, chatting in the jewel-toned glow of the lights from the back bar or systematically from getting plastered.

I really need to hang out in bars more often; it is better than TV.


Anonymous said...

I've done that too, but in general, I like room service even less than I like eating alone in a restaurant.

I've found in general that bars are more hospitable to single diners than restaurants and are great for people watching. Sometimes they even have free wireless.

T and S said...

Nice post and we seem to think very similar. I too hate to eat and drink in the hotel room, I prefer to do it at the restaurant/ bar. And yes we finally end up people watching and its amazing to see the variety of people behavior in the bar...Thomas