While browsing through my emails I was surprised to find a message from a viewer on my YouTube channel who had a question about how to drink in a bar alone safely. Rather than just responding directly to the viewer, I thought I would publish my response here. Matthew DeCosta asks:
What have been your experiences when walking into a bar alone while travelling; have you had any issues, and how do you feel about this?
Firstly, thank you for taking the time to contact me, and it’s a great question.
Don’t leave your drink unattended
So far, I’ve not had a negative experience visiting a bar alone, but I do believe that there is a reason for this, and a lot of it comes down to common sense. Choose where you go drinking very carefully; I don’t visit any bars in the lively (or seedy) parts of where I’m visiting and in the evening I find a bar that is close to my accommodation, so, that it is a short walk home.
Make a mental note of the bars around where you’re based and check review sites like Yelp to find out more. This is my own personal preference, but I do not stay out until the early hours drinking, I have a few beers and I am usually home for 10pm. It’s also a good idea not to leave your drink unattended so that no one has the opportunity to slide in drugs into your alcohol. Be aware of the people around you but do not be afraid to start up a conversation with someone and smile. Personally, I visit bars that have sports on TV, because it is something that I enjoy watching and it’s a great topic to strike up a conversation.
Thieves try distraction tactics
While in Barcelona I was sat minding my own business watching football in one of the local bars, and sat in front of me were a group of ladies; I noticed underneath their chairs were a ton of shopping bags from designer stores, they were having a good time trying out different cocktails.
Out of no where appeared a local man who stood directly in front of me and started making conversation about the football – what he didn’t realise is out of the corner of my eye I saw his friend sneak behind the seats and start to remove the shopping bags.
Without thinking I stood up and put my hand on one of the ladies and informed her what was happening, the two men quickly vanished. Remember that you’re in a foreign country and people will try and take advantage that you’re a tourist.
When travelling alone, having a few drinks in a bar is a good way to socialise and meet new people, especially locals, but I want to be in control of my actions, and while you might like wild parties and clubbing, it isn’t for me, and I would rather have a quiet drink in good bar, than find at the end of the night that I’ve lost my wallet and bank cards. Keep safe.