The Washington Post
Best bars for flying solo photo
(J Carrier)

Best bars for flying solo

Fritz Hahn  |  Updated 01/26/2011

Most of the bars we recommend for solo patrons have a few things in common: bartenders who make small talk and introductions; they offer both tables and barstools where you can relax; and, though this is subjective, they're not sketchy places with reputations as singles bars.


American Ice Company

Washington, DC

One of the hippest bars in town is also a neighborhood bar at heart, so you're likely to meet lots of people and you'll never feel like they are judging you. Settle in at a stool or high table with a beer (served in a Mason jar) and enjoy a plate of barbecue.


Birch & Barley and ChurchKey

Washington, DC

The popularity of this beer bar means it's often easier to find a seat and settle in when you're by yourself than with a group. And since the menu includes 50 draft beers, 500 in bottles and five English-style casks, beer lovers will never get bored. If you visit on a slower weeknight or weekend afternoon, neighbors at the bar are usually happy to chat about what's in their glass.


Busboys and Poets

Washington, DC

The restaurant-bookstore-performance space is a great option when you want to catch up on some light (or not-so-light) reading.


Dodge City

Washington, DC

The music and beer selections are good, the bartenders are easy to talk to, and unlike many spots on the U Street strip, Dodge City has a low-key neighborhood feel.


Galaxy Hut

Arlington, VA

A fine place to grab a table, order a beer and a grilled cheese and settle in with a good book. Feeling social? The bartenders are friendly and the regulars will strike up conversations.


Jimmy's Old Town Tavern

Herndon, VA

Be warned: It's almost impossible not to meet someone new when you take a seat at Jimmy's bar. The bartenders are quick and talkative, and they'll draw you into conversations while pouring a beer.


Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe

Washington, DC

Grab some reading material from the city's best independent bookstore, then head for a stool or table at the small bar, where you can sip a craft beer or glass of wine while getting lost in a good book.


Quarry House Tavern

Silver Spring, MD

The waitresses at this warm, 70-year-old neighborhood tavern don't blink if you take up a table by yourself and play classic country and soul on the jukebox.


The Red Derby

Washington, DC

Friendly bartenders, neighborhood regulars, good tunes, cheap beer, plenty of seating. What's not to love?


The Saloon

Washington, DC

The Saloon won't install a TV, keeps the music low and every table is communal. It's all designed to help foster communication between patrons, whether they know each other or not.


Stoney's Bar & Grill

Washington, DC

Low-key yet lively, Stoney's is a friendly spot with two bars (one on each floor) and great people-watching.


Tabard Inn

Washington, DC

There are two ways to enjoy the Tabard: Curl up in an armchair in front of the lounge's fireplace, or find a space at the intimate little bar counter, where you're bound to find some other solo travelers.


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