Food

Cheers to Me

drinking wine alone on a dock

Last week, I found myself in a familiar situation: I had a million things on my mind, a looming deadline and I was struggling to write a story. My laptop and I both needed a change of scene. So, I went to the counter bar at my neighborhood wine shop, ordered a crisp glass of rosé and got back to typing. It worked like a charm and reminded me that treating yourself to a drink is one of life’s sweetest pleasures…

I can’t recall exactly when I came to appreciate a solo glass of wine, but I do remember making a concerted effort never to do it. In my twenties, for years, it just seemed awkward — maybe even wrong — and I’ve always been a rule follower. Plus, I couldn’t help picturing Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones’s Diary, lip sync-wailing “All. By. My-self!”

But somewhere along the way, as I grew up, my attitude shifted from “I shouldn’t” to “Why wouldn’t I?” I’ve never been someone who craves Alone Time, but when I know it’ll be just me on the sofa for the evening, I’ll visit my go-to wine store and choose an old favorite or something totally new. Sometimes I’ll splurge a little since I know a nice bottle will last a few nights.

Having a glass alone is an opportunity to take a deep breath and unwind, literally and figuratively. Sipping on a Pinot Noir is, for me, the perfect complement to other not-so-guilty pleasures: staring at bad TV, ordering in dinner, taking a bubble bath or reading a good book. Hemingway, a legendary drinking enthusiast, described it this way in The Sun Also Rises: “It was pleasant to be drinking slowly and to be tasting the wine and to be drinking alone. A bottle of wine was good company.”

I’ve come to appreciate the mind-relaxing, restorative powers of my own glass of wine even more since having a baby. When my son was five weeks old, my husband took a business trip abroad and I toughed out the disorienting days with a newborn on my own. In the blur of endless bottles, diaper changes and some hand-wringing about whether or not I was doing it all right, pouring a little wine at night allowed me to remember that I’m a fully formed, adult human. While I didn’t have the brain capacity on those days to explore a single idea or interest other than new motherhood, I was flooded with relief to simply sit down for a minute, pause and be… myself.

While drinking alone in my apartment is more for quiet enjoyment, I’m equally happy having a glass at a restaurant or bar on my own. Not only do you experience all the spiritual benefits of a drink at home, but someone pours it for you, and the opportunity for conversation is there for the taking. I always ask the bartender a few questions about the wine list or chat with my seat neighbors. I also savor the chance to do some subtle eavesdropping or peacefully flip through a magazine.

When I go out alone, I usually order a sparkling wine, a personal tradition born of one of my favorite drinking experiences. Several years back, I decided to quit being a lawyer and give writing a try. At the end of my final day at my law firm, I was equal parts exhilarated and terrified. I stopped into a bar by myself and ordered a glass of Champagne. Exploding with nervous energy, I blurted out something about it being my last day as a lawyer and first day of trying something totally new. Right then, the bartender and all the patrons erupted in cheers.

While I can’t say I’ve been applauded over a drink since, there is always something a little celebratory about having a drink alone, whether you’re taking a second to raise your glass to your own milestone or just to having survived the day.

What about you? Do you relish having a glass of wine by yourself? Or do you prefer not to drink alone?

P.S. On living alone, traveling alone, and what do you do when you’re home alone?

Erin Geiger Smith lives in New York and writes a series for Cup of Jo on wine, beer and cocktails. She contributes to many publications, including the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

(Photo by Judith Marilyn)

  1. Rhonda says...

    I love a quiet evening at home alone, chilling with a glass of wine…or something stronger. Whether I’m sitting on the porch, laying on the couch or soaking in a hot bath tub, a drink can be a relaxing end to the day. Nothing wrong with treating yourself. especially if you are alone.

  2. Mia says...

    Who is making the rules? I might also ask: why do men get to have a drink sans company without condemnation, but god forbid if a female does it. I adore a drink alone. I open a great bottle of wine and have a glass, leaving some for later, or mix a fabuloso cocktail and enjoy such a simple pleasure all by myself. It’s actually better by yourself. Peaceful, contemplative, low key: I don’t want to party; I just want to relax. Lovely, lovely indeed. Life is short. Drink the wine, praise the God of all, let the world be the world.

  3. Sarah says...

    I too would never drink alone when I was in my twenties – now, I have no qualms, especially when I’m traveling for business with no co-workers to keep me company. I’ve had great conversations in an airport wine bar. I also used to have to go to Vegas for work often and my favorite think to do when I got in, which was usually in the evening, was find the nearest Fat Tuesdays, get a Pina Colada and extra shot and drink it while soaking in a bubble bath and watch bad TV on the bathroom TV!

  4. V says...

    Loved this article, so good to hear other women talk about needing/ wanting alone time. I treasure the chance to catch my breath with a glass of wine and my front porch.

  5. This is SO good to read, Jo!

    I’m the only one in my family/friend group who enjoys a glass of wine. I’m actually the one least likely to deliberately get drunk…instead, I just genuinely enjoy the taste and often look forward to a glass of wine as much as I would look forward to a nice meal!

    But I often find that I feel kind of guilty for pouring myself a glass when I’m the only one drinking, you know? And I make a big effort to not force it on anyone else, seeing as NOT drinking is as personal a decision as deciding to! So it’s really nice to read something non-judgmental about drinking in a way which is responsible and celebratory. It’s great ‘alone’ time and for me is just a different form of indulgence and relaxation to say, a chocolate bar, or a bowl of pop-corn.

    I laughed out loud at your last day being a lawyer…I studied law at university and decided to write instead of taking a job in law too! Writing definitely makes me happier. And so does stretching out one nice bottle of wine for a whole week, for that matter!

    Flora
    http://www.hardyandhay.com

    • *Erin. I’m so sorry! Oops!

  6. Kendra says...

    I have solo wine often at home.
    While i’m watching my favorite show, with dinner, or even in the shower. That’s my favorite
    I just put the glass on the bathroom counter, and reach around the curtain for it every few minutes.

  7. there is something calming about having a glass of wine by yourself whether it be at home or in a bar/restaurant.

  8. Alyssa says...

    I would absolutely love a post about Erin’s career path and the reasons behind the choices she made. The jump from lawyer to writer seems natural in a sense, but also terrifying and I’d love to know what caused the switch. Also, great post! Thanks, Erin!

    • I’m also interested as there are a lot of people with the same career path – Gretchen Rubin, Emily Giffin, John Grisham…

  9. I have never had a drink alone but now that you mention it, it sounds like a special little unplanned gift to self as a little act of pampering! In a way, like taking a long soak in a steamy bubble bath. It seems to be a wonderful way to just be alone to think without having the pressure to converse or make interesting conversation!! What cute serendipity: my pharmacist just told me yesterday that he recommends having two glasses of red wine every day with dinner…’might just take him up on it!!!! xo

    Kisses,

    (=’.’=)
    -Lauren
    adorn la femme

  10. elenor says...

    Love this post!! “They” also say you should drink wine with food, but my favorite glass is alone, with a magazine or book at home before or while making dinner. Kids are decompressing, husband on his way home and I can finally sit and relax.

  11. Absolutely! This has become crucial for me after having my first child and still working at home full-time. In the past, I was so accustomed to pouring a glass of wine and winding down for a quiet evening with my husband, but now, I jump from one full time job to another (literally walking from my jewelry studio to my sweet pea in just a few steps). At least once a week, I try to walk up to the neighborhood hang-out, pony up at the bar, and have a glass of wine. Even if I only have time to drink a half-glass, it gives me a second to catch my breath, take a look around, and gather my thoughts. This also gives me a bit of time to binge read the stack of magazines that have been piling up next to our door. And, you’re right, there is something special about having the glass poured for you and being out of your house!

  12. Julie says...

    This is one of my favorite posts I’ve ever read on Cup of Jo. I can just picture you blurting out your news at the bar and getting cheered by everyone there. Such a cute story!

  13. Now that I have two babies and zero time to myself I DREAM about enjoying a glass of wine by myself, no shame, it is the stuff of my day dreams.

  14. Melanie says...

    Hi Jo~
    Not sure if you’ll read this comment since the post was from a few days ago but I’ll post anyway.
    I am a huge fan of your blog and have been reading it for years. A few months ago (well, 6 really) I had my second child. My son Lofton was born in January and life has been crazy since. A blessing but crazy. I am now a stay-at-home mom and haven’t had time to just sit and enjoy your beautiful blog as I once did….everyday.
    This post is such a beautiful reminder. Time alone is so, so important. Whether reading a book with a cup of tea or enjoying a glass of wine quietly, I relish my ‘alone time’. Thank you for this beautiful and refreshing post. Your honesty and humor that is found in your writing is why I always come back to this blog.
    Thanks again and cheers to you.
    Melanie

    • Melanie-I completely agree! Out of the million of blogs out there, Cup of Jo has always been my favorite and I haven’t caught up on it in a while. After several months, I revisited the blog and it is just as beautiful, heart-warming, and entertaining as ever. Congrats on your kiddos – love the name lofton!

  15. This is fantastic. Part of the genetic code that makes us women is often linked to the fact of feeling guilty for taking time for oneself. This article is a superb rendition of how important it is to take that breather and take that space to have some alone time.

    I myself, being raised by a mother who never drank, often feel guilty going to a bar to sip a glass by myself or even at home when I’m alone. So thank you! Thank you for reminding me that a conscious moment and an act that brings joy is okay. And thanks for drowning own that pesky mom voice in my head today! Happy friday everyone.

  16. Amy G says...

    I love this! I work remotely most of the week, and rotate between my kitchen table, the library and coffee shops to work. It’s funny that it doesn’t seem at all strange to drink coffee and work by yourself, but if you change the drink to a glass of wine or cocktail, people think it’s super strange!

    I’ll be honest in saying I’ve not done it yet, but you’ve inspired me to take my laptop and visit a local wine bar on the occasional evening when I need inspiration or a change of scenery. Rose and sparkling wine are my favorite choices too, especially when your spirit needs something celebratory. Cheers!

  17. Faith says...

    Cheers! This post was the cherry on top of my day. I had to ask friends recently if wanting to have a glass of wine or cocktail every evening was a bad thing…..but came to realize quickly, its ok! I relish in the thought that at the end of a day when the baby is asleep and the house is picked up – I get ME time, adult time and dman it, I will drink a glass of wine to relax!

  18. Véro says...

    Erin, i would be very pleased if you could write a (or more) post(s) on your decision to change careers (why/how you took the decision, how you felt before/after, etc). I hope it is not too personal a request because i am currently considering such a move and i am pretty sure not to be the only one around… Would love to read about your experience. Many thanks

  19. Simone says...

    I’m an introvert and have long enjoyed a drink at home alone. But now I can say that I feel no discomfort arriving early to meet friends, to sit at a bar to enjoy a quiet drink on my own… The meal thing I’m still getting the hang of… I’m guessing at 45, I’m still a work in progress. Nice article.

  20. Before I had my son I used to have wine and cheese for dinner when my husband was out of town. Sometimes I’d add cured meat. Add Netflix and it’s the perfect evening. Now that I have a kid I will limit myself to just one glass when my husband is gone.

  21. Linda says...

    My ex-husband and I used to belong to a wine club and I remember we would be very particular regarding who we would share our wine with – so silly in retrospect! When we divorced I drank very little for fear that I would fall victim to it in my loneliness. Then one night, without much thought, I opened up a lovely bottle of red, drew a warm bath and thoroughly enjoyed every sip. All by myself! I thought it was so adult like… crazy right? That moment brought the zest back into my life though. Oh yeah, I readily share my wine now!

  22. Sylv says...

    Cheers to that! My partner doesn’t drink so I end up skipping wine since I’ll usually be indulging alone (even though I do love wine). This encourages me to treat myself a little more and enjoy a glass solo. Agreed, it is a wonderful pleasure in life. Thanks!

  23. Jess says...

    I love it. I had similar hang ups about drinking solo in my twenties (it was a pact at a very stressful job that we would never let each other drink alone), but I’ve come into my own since then. Having a glass of wine or a cocktail with friends is always fun, but it’s different just by yourself. I love the freedom to relax and savor a few quiet moments. We have small children, and a glass of wine by myself reorients my senses as an adult after a long day. I’m SO thankful my husband gets it. If I pour a glass and head to the deck he’ll just let me settle in and enjoy the moment.

  24. I like sometimes having a drink on my own in the evening, especially after a long day it helps me to relax and to focus on writing.
    It just anyones me that people associate this with having a drinking problem when I say that don’t mind to have a drink by myself….
    https://restlesscat.wordpress.com

  25. Oh yes. A glass of wine all alone on a night in? Heavenly. I haven’t ever tried doing it out before. Maybe I will. :)

  26. Maureen says...

    Yes, I started having a glass of red and a hunk of Belgian chocolate every night right after my daughter was born. It was a way of patting myself on the back for getting through another day of diaper changing, breast feeding, etc. I dont do it every night now, but when I do, it is such a luxury and yes, totally ok! I have never gone out to drink alone though, not sure my introverted self would find that calming!

  27. Love this post – I’m admittedly not much of an ‘alone drinker’ (mostly because I’m not much of a ‘just one glass’ drinker so I like to be doing it socially – and I’m not embarrassed to say that!) but because I actually love eating by myself. It’s something that I guess has become a trait people know about me as well – whenever a friend braves a meal on her own, I usually get a text saying they thought of me while they did it. I actually remember reading an article in Seventeen magazine (when I was probably 14 myself back in the 90’s – funny how things stick with you) about ways to increase your own self esteem, and one of the suggestions was to go out and eat a meal by yourself. It is empowering and relaxing. But now I think I’ll start adding that single glass of wine the next time I’m out :-)

  28. Gretchen says...

    I adore this post so much. I might even give this a healthy try this evening. I foresee it taking a few sips before settling in and able to enjoy the moment.
    Thanks for writing…the world needs more writers.

  29. Yes yes yes to this. I love having a glass of wine solo. There’s a difference between having a drink along and getting drunk alone (something Hemingway probably would have done well to remember, haha.)

    I’d love to hear more about Erin’s career path. I really want to become a full-time writer too but don’t have the guts to just up and quit my corporate job. Perhaps an idea for a future post?

    • Anita says...

      I just wanted to second this – I love to hear stories about people who have changed careers later in life (perhaps because I am a frustrated lawyer myself)!

      This is a beautiful article Erin and the story of your spontaneous celebration in the bar is pure gold – really warmed my heart.

  30. Louisa says...

    Jo, you’re so cool! I have come to so love reading your blog and feel much better about my day and life when I see a new post! I love that you write about real things that many people may experience or question. I love your (and Caroline’s) writing styles and blog-post topics and the realness of what you write.

    Thank you for being a comfort to my day without even knowing it! :)

  31. Janna says...

    Great post. I enjoy sharing a beverage with others, but also have come to enjoy a drink on my own. That quiet time after my toddler finally goes to bed and my husband is either not home from work yet or just watching the game are my few stolen moments in which a drink relaxes me after a long day and lets me become lost in my own thoughts. I haven’t quite worked up the nerve to do it in public though. Perhaps if I lived in the city or somewhere other then car-dependent suburbia, I would.

  32. yael steren says...

    i also like having a drink on my own – though sometimes it’s Kahluah – yes, I still drink that at the age of 36! lol! xoxo yael

    http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog/

  33. JoAnna says...

    This was a wonderful post!

  34. This was a very quincidental post to read. I have just restarted my blog to give it another shot (blogging is what I want to do for a living). I just happened to put up a post on my solo travels. I don’t always want to do things alone, but I don’t mind and usually find it actually quite enjoyable. But people are usually scared of doing things alone. That’s why I shared my experiences and I’m so happy to read about someone who feels the same way! Thanks for sharing!!

  35. Katie says...

    I love to take myself on a date every now and again. I go to this place here in Boston, Drink, and always order something bubbly. They are certified mixologists so I love that I can describe how I’m feeling, and what I do and do not like, and they can make me something totally different each time I go. I’m not one to use my cell phone and I’m comfortable with just sitting back and doing nothing for a bit, so I love to just people watch while I’m there.

  36. I prefer to drink with someone else… maybe because I’ve never really felt “grown up” enough to purchase a bottle of wine just for myself :)

  37. Karen T. says...

    Erin, such a great post. Love your voice (is that a thing? it feels like a thing) and I’m so glad you’re a part of Team Jo. Cheers to you. :)

  38. annie g says...

    I prefer drinking with others but there is absolutely nothing to find fault with if you should be sitting perfectly happily in a restaurant, ordering your solo meal, cracking the spine of a new magazine and looking delightedly at the glass of prosecco that has just been handed to you. Or Negroni. I feel like giving three cheers, personally.

  39. I regular drink alone these days. That sounds a bit sad doesn’t it but actually I really enjoy it, it is really relaxing, me time. I am a newly single mum. In the evenings when my son is staying with me I sit at my table with a nice glass of chilled wine to write my blog. On the evenings when my son is not with me I either meet friends, or, if I have no drinking date I pop to the pub round the corner again with my mac book for a nice glass. I am not the only one. There is regularly at least half a dozen mac book wielding wine drinkers in my local. Maybe one day we’ll speak to each other but in the short term I suspect we’ll just keep our noses deep in twitter, insta and fb. Thanks for your post.

  40. Ceridwen says...

    Oh, I loved this post. Changing gears and having time alone is so important. Having a glass of wine or coffee or yes, going to the movies solo is a favourite of mine. Beautifully written.

  41. I love the idea that finishing a day can be a milestone in itself. Cheers!

  42. I love drinking by myself… in moderation lol. I’m lucky in that I love my job, and we have a wine bar in my office sooo it’s kind of perfect. :)

    I’m rather introverted though, so I do crave some alone time and sometimes that includes a nice wine or craft beer. I usually pair that with working on my laptop, whether for my blog or for my job, and have some crappy reality TV in the background. It’s a lovely way to spend an evening every once in awhile.

  43. I never even thought to drink alone before I saw my room mates doing it in grad school. They’d take a practice test, then sip on Merlot while going over the answers! I never did pick up on it, but these days I try to seize the chance to enjoy a cool cider, glass of wine or home made cocktail on my rare off days. It feels like a treat to have something fancy for no reason other than because you can :)

  44. Katherine says...

    I love this so much. Erin, this is so well written. I know your words resonate with the masses.

  45. AF says...

    This is interesting and very relevant for me. Years ago, I read a Drew Barrymore article where she was described as sitting alone at the restaurant, with a book and her meal. I remember thinking, “That’s the type of woman I want to become – the kind who can sit with a meal or a drink, alone in public, but also very content.” I’m almost 27 now and I do this thing often – and I love it. I try new restaurants, talk to the person next to me, and people watch. Then I walk home happy.

    And August. I just can’t turn on an oven in August. This habit aids the concept :)

  46. Whithey Kaye says...

    I don’t drink but this can be applied to many other small things that help me enjoy life. It was also beautifully written and provided a small moment in itself of making me feel adult and freed from the crazy day I just had. So, thank you.

  47. You just listed all of my favourite things! :)

  48. ariane says...

    definitely takes a while to get over the stigma of drinking by yourself, but once you do it’s worth it to enjoy that relaxing feeling of a nice glass of wine at the end of the day

  49. Heather says...

    Love having a glass of wine or bubbly alone- fully embrace this experience!

  50. rebecca sunde says...

    a lovely post.

  51. Capucine says...

    I’ll be the one voice.

    My best friend’s mother had a glass of wine every single evening of her childhood, and her husband a beer. Just the one. Never the less, all three daughters internalized that that one glass was not right, though nothing was ever said. Two of them never drink and the other they say ‘takes after mom’ and always has wine in the house.

    The post-bedtime quiet is a miracle. Unhooking from the day is important. Wine, food, reading, the internet (hi!)…yoga, meditation, painting. There are many ways to unhook, some more supportive of a life path than others.

    When Dr. Sears wrote ‘every age has its crutch’ (about not overthinking pacifiers) I feel like that remains true at 38 for me. I’m striving for healthy crutches.

    That’s how I feel every time a reference to that glass of wine flits by here, anyway. Our lives are harder than they look, no?

  52. marlene says...

    Sigh. I want to quit my shitty rat race of a job and indulge in a glass of champagne to celebrate the quiet victory of freedom. That was a good read.

    • Rachel says...

      Coudn’t have said it better myself

  53. I’ve never ordered a glass of wine at a restaurant alone (probably because I’m newly 21!) but I can totally see why it’s relaxing and therapeutic. No need to deprive yourself of a good time just because you’re alone!

    -Nicole
    Meet Me in Midtown

  54. Tyler says...

    having a glass of wine at a restaurant by myself is my most. favorite. thing. ever.

  55. i love this! this has become my new favorite thing in the past year. i’m 27, and up until now, i always felt uncomfortable sitting alone at a bar. now i’m excited when i have an hour to myself before a dinner reservation to grab a glass of wine after work, and read some articles i’ve been meaning to catch up on, or do some writing. it feels like the most wonderful treat to myself!

  56. Daniela says...

    I loved the part where the bar cheered, it’s so uncommon to find collective selfless demonstrations of joy!

  57. Okay, friends. One of my favorite things is to pour myself some Baileys and sit down to watch my favorite guilty pleasure show (Survivor, though the Bachelor/ette is also lovely for this), preferably while home alone. Ice cream doesn’t hurt either. (Ha — my story is so much less chic than the ladies drinking wine at a bar solo while reading a book. Props to you ladies!) At any rate, I’m 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant right now, and I’m reeeeeally looking forward to doing this again soon :)

  58. i love that last story! new york is the best sometimes

  59. Lara says...

    Oh, absolutely! It is a simple, yet luxurious pleasure.

  60. Referring to Hemingway as a “drinking enthusiast” seems a bit inappropriate. Several of the comments here address different issues people encounter with drinking. For no particular reason, I’ve never been much of a drinker, although I have enjoyed a glass of wine now and then. A couple of years ago I decided to donate a kidney to a friend who was struggling with kidney disease. Part of my new life with one kidney involves no more “adult beverages.” Totally worth it.

  61. Tamara says...

    I love this, so beautifully stated! I have always enjoyed occasionally doing “social” things on my own from time to time- going to a movie, having a meal or drink out, etc. My friends and family thought it was crazy when I was in high school and college, but I’ve always found myself better able to enjoy these pleasures on my own when there is no expecting looks or conversations. One of my friends used to look at me any time something important would happen during a movie, and it would pull me away from the moment. You never encounter that when having a drink/bite/experience alone- you are able to fully enjoy (or not) it yourself without anyone else’s experience effecting yours. Cheers!

  62. Angela says...

    Reading this while enjoying a solo beer at the bar of a busy restaurant – perfect :)

  63. Megan says...

    Not to be a Debbie downer, but I have never been able to have just one glass of wine. Hence, the past 19 years of splendid sobriety. I did chuckle when reading, “I have not been applauded over a drink since.” Myself, I often get a round of applause when sharing on not drinking wine….at my local 12 step meeting that is!

  64. Liz says...

    Hemingway was an alcoholic, so I am not sure if we should be celebrating that aspect of him too much. ;-)

    This is a great post, and I think a glass or 2 of wine (solo) is a-o-k. But I hope anyone who partakes in this on a regular basis is careful. I went from having a glass of wine a day to drinking a whole bottle of day (this process took about 7 years). As you can imagine, I don’t drink anymore. :-)

    This is worth reading: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323893504578555270434071876

    I know this article isn’t about that, and I know only a very small percentage of women will develop the problem that I did. It really is okay to be a solo drinker and have some wine here & there. But I definitely used articles like these to justify my behavior for a long time. “Hey, it’s only a couple glasses of wine,” I would say. “I have a full-time job, a normal life, no DUIs in sight. I deserve me-time, I deserve to relax.”

    I just want to put this out there & urge women (and men) to be careful & be mindful. Enjoy that glass of wine & be safe! Cheers.

    • Laura says...

      Wise words, Liz. Thanks.

    • Liz, thank you for your transparency and this wise reminder. Great WSJ article!

  65. Alison says...

    Wow what a great post! Love that story about your celebratory drink.

  66. I love getting to places earlier than my friends are going to meet me. I take that extra half an hour to have a glass of wine by myself and chat with the bartender, it’s a great release and pause.

  67. ruby says...

    I need a glass of wine today. I just got promoted and I’m sure I didn’t want it. I’m so scared of the change and new responsibilities. I have a 5 and 3 year old and I fear missing out.

    BTW I’m a criminal defense investigator… you could only image.

    • Ruby, I always remind myself, in 30 years will I regret missing out on career opportunities, or spending time with the littles. If it’s the career, that should help ease your worries, but if it’s not, is there a way to respectfully turn down the promotion?

    • positive thoughts and vibes going your way! hope you can pause for a minute and be proud of yourself :)

  68. Laura says...

    Yes! Knowing how to be alone (at home or in public) is important. Also, the anecdote about champagne/life change/spontaneous cheers immediately made me tear up :)

  69. Jennie says...

    I find that when the bubbles go down, the truly important things on your mind bubble up. It is a wonderful way to quiet the noise in your head and focus on what it is truly important – whether that is something to be solved or savored.

  70. Caitlin says...

    I love a solo drink, a solo walk around the neighborhood, and especially the solo movie. My husband and I tend to wait to see movies until they’re online, but sometimes you just want to catch a flick in the theater. Instead of dragging him to a movie he doesn’t want to see, I take the time to go alone and love it! It’s also really easy to find a seat.

    • Yes. I love watching movies alone. So much better than watching something you’re less excited about just to sit next to your friend/spouse/partner in the dark!

  71. I always enjoy the posts and comments on Cup of Jo but this one has to be my favorite. I feel like you guys just get me!

  72. KM says...

    As a mom of a three year-old and two year-old, the days of saddling up to a bar are long gone for my husband and me. This weekend my husband and I are meeting with my parents to gather their input on some big life changes on our horizon, and the kids will be with a sitter. When my mom suggested we meet at a coffee shop, I quickly re-directed us to a BAR – if we’re out without the kids, I want to sit at a bar with a fancy cocktail! Such a rare, coveted treat these days.

    • Caitlin says...

      This is a question asked out of total ignorance, but why can’t you bring your children to the bar with you? I see parents in my neighborhood bring kids to the bars all the time. Granted they’re going more around 5-6pm and not getting smashed, but maybe this sort of thing only happens in the city?

  73. Veronica says...

    On Sundays, I love to decompress by treating myself to Napolese – a local pizza place – sitting at the bar, drinking a glass or two of french rosé, and ordering the arugula pizza. There is something so empowering about it. It makes me feel sexy and mysterious.

    • Ariana says...

      That sounds so lovely!

  74. I really enjoyed this! I don’t drink too often myself, and when I do it’s mostly beer but I do remember the week or two we tried having wine before dinner. It was relaxing pouring a glass and sitting down to really enjoy the end of the day. Thanks for sharing!

  75. Lindsay says...

    I am a full-time graduate student and a mom to two young kids – occasionally studying at a wine bar or our neighborhood brew pub is a nice change of pace and has been a really lovely way to remind me to be grateful while writing a difficult paper… plus I don’t get a lot of down time so having a special drink or even setting up camp somewhere more scenic makes work feel more fun. I used to feel weird doing this by myself, but now I’m choosing to see it as good self-care.

  76. Jess says...

    I’ve come to enjoy a solo drink SO much more now that I’m a mother. It seems like such a simple luxury and gives you time to think and breath. (Same could be said for working out- but let’s be honest about what activity gets chosen more often) Whether it’s having a glass of wine in bed with a book after a long day juggling work and a toddler… or else enjoying a glass at the bar of that restaurant you never get to anymore cause it’s not so child friendly!

  77. I loved this post. I enjoy having a cup of a glass of something alone sometimes too. Sometimes tea, sometimes coffee, sometimes a glass of sauvignon blanc… depends on my mood and the time of day. :) There’s definitely something equal parts soothing, relaxing, and celebratory about it.

    Also, I love reading the comment section on Cup of Jo! I always read it and think, how fun would it be to meet these women over a cup of something, or maybe over a glass of something bubbly!

  78. Your description of letting go and starting anew, christened with a glass of bubbly, made me tear up. Life’s too short to not do what you love. Whether that is to write, to wine, to celebrate, or to relax. Alone. Or with Friends. No guilt. Only pleasure. It’s the best kind of life.

  79. This was a beautifully written post, and really struck a chord with me. Equal parts celebratory and comforting, a glass of wine on my own has always been a little bit of a nod to the choices I’ve made or self I’ve become.. even if it’s one in my pj’s in front of my computer.

  80. Bri says...

    This was beautifully written.

  81. I love this post. My husband calls this “basking”, which came from a conversation we had last New Year’s Eve, when he had toasted “Let’s take a moment to bask in our personal glory!” Just last night he was heading out to the gym and spied me pouring a glass of red as I began to prepare dinner. He patted my back and said “Nice basking!”

    • Erin Geiger Smith says...

      That’s a great toast, and I may just have to make use of that and “Nice basking!”

    • Kathleen says...

      I love this. So sweet!

    • I’m gonna have to use it. “Nice basking” – love it!!

  82. I LOVE having a glass of wine by myself (I’m not much of a beer or cocktail drinker). I was always wary of drinking alone at a busy bar as a single gal, but there’s something so thrilling about doing it. But I also love wine anytime, anywhere (I’m from Sonoma so it’s in our blood).

    This post reminded me of the last time I was in New York this winter- I had some time to kill one night and was wandering around midtown when I walked by Keen’s Steakhouse. An old family friend had taken me there for dinner when I first moved to the east coast and it seemed so fancy and classic “New York” at the time. So I thought “screw it”, walked in sat at the bar, and ordered a burger with a glass of red wine. They were not expecting a random twentysomething to be there by herself, so not only did I catch up on a book I was reading, I chatted up the bartender (who insisted on pouring me a port he thought would go well with my dessert), but a mysterious group of strangers sent over a drink, too. It was the best!

  83. Whatever helps. A glass of wine, a good cry, reading a book in silence. Whatever it takes to keep you sane, focused and happy :)

  84. jen says...

    when i was young, drinking was very much a social thing. i never really liked it but i did it to socialize and fit in. now that i am in my 40s, drinking is still social but i look forward to a glass of wine or a cocktail at the end of a stressful day or of the week as a treat or a reward to myself.

  85. What a wonderful story about the day you decided to try writing! I got chills thinking about everyone around you erupting in cheers. I, too, applaud your bravery and am grateful you chose to follow your heart and commemorate it with such a lovely ritual.

    • Cynthia says...

      Shannon, I think the patrons were cheering b/c it meant there was one less lawyer in NYC, haha.

  86. Kristin says...

    Uh…Ernest Hemingway wasn’t a “legendary drinking enthusiast” – he was an alcoholic.

  87. I had my first wine of solo wine in public just last week. It was at a wine bar at the airport (and I was not alone in the “drinking along” department!). I pulled out my laptop (it was a work trip after all) and sipped my wine while getting some work done. It was a great way to pass the time during my layover and I really savored it! It’s pretty rare for me to get any alone time these days, with two boys of my own at home! ;)

  88. Elizabeth says...

    I am drinking solo right now! After a horrible interview and then writing the thank you note to the strange interviewer, I am at home having a beer.

  89. Hayley says...

    I’m in my early twenties, and so I’ve definitely fallen into the camp of somehow thinking its sad or weird to have even just one drink by yourself. However, the last few times I’ve been to the supermarket I’ve kept wanting to buy a cider to drink with dinner at home, but I’ve never gone through with it. I think this post is going to change all that! It’s just the sign I needed that having one drink by yourself is totally fine.

  90. one time i arrived a restaurant for dinner with the girls and i got the time wrong, i was there an hour early. so i went to the bar and ordered a glass of wine. i’m not good at small talk so i sipped my glass and read a book. by the time my friends arrived i was relaxed and even more excited about chatting. until the waiter, while taking our drink orders at the table, said something glib to me about having already started and that maybe i should hold off this round. i was so embarrassed for some reason. i haven’t been back to that place.

    thankfully it hasn’t deterred me enough that i won’t have a drink by myself at a bar while waiting, but for the sake of having a drink alone, i haven’t had that inclination…

  91. Morgan says...

    This is so timely! I just had a conversation with my family defending how much I enjoyed having a drink on my own. My favorite thing to do is to arrive at a happy hour or dinner date a few minutes early and order a drink at the bar. Sometimes I bring a magazine that I haven’t had time to read or just sit in peace for a bit before the rest of the party arrives. I still have a great time with my company but have time to myself to prepare for the evening. I love it!

  92. Alex says...

    Your story is a true story of a wine-lover. So happy to find out that there are people like me haha. Unfortunately I m`t not an wine-expert and I don`t really feel the difference between types of wine but I`m on my way! My favorite is Dolcetto barbera from Piedmont, and yours? Or maybe it depends?
    Oh and I even have a wine glass tattoo on my ribs :)

  93. Lindsey says...

    Ha! Today’s my birthday, but because it’s a Wednesday I didn’t make any celebratory plans with friends for tonight. I did however put a bottle of prosecco in my fridge this morning which I plan to enjoy (solo) this evening whilst binging on something on Netflix. ;)

    • happy birthday! enjoy your evening, it sounds LOVERLY!

    • Erin Geiger Smith says...

      Happy birthday! I will raise a glass to you…

    • Talia says...

      Happy Birthday! Celebrate YOU!

  94. Alex says...

    There are few things I love as much as a crisp glass of hard cider after a long day. I just love to sit and let the stresses of the day go over my head while I sip. (: great post!!

  95. Stories about leaving the comfort zone will always appeal to me, but what has particularly captured me in this entry is how would one be able to quit working as a lawyer after all the hard work she’s experienced whilst studying? You nonetheless showed courage while she finds her true calling. Great post as always! You deserve that damned glass of rosé !

  96. anie says...

    this is an interesting one for me, as I often have a glass of wine while the kids are hangry, husband is getting home, dog needs a walk, etc. sometimes the kids notice and/or comment on the drink I’m having, so then I get feeling a little awkward.
    just the other day, however, I thought about stopping off for a drink, on my own, free of any noise or commentary. yay me! and though I haven’t done it yet, I’m sure the enjoyment will surpass that drink at home among the chaos.

  97. ashley says...

    i’m all about solo drinking! i mean, the first step in each of my recipes is open bottle, pour self glass of wine. i don’t NEED it to cook, but it makes it that much better!

  98. Talia says...

    I find myself drinking alone quite a bit! I enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail while making dinner. I prefer to have a drink prior to dinner vs with dinner!

    • Annie says...

      You have to be careful here, though, because I have made the mistake of combining sub-par knife skills with hands relaxed by a drink or two! Tread lightly or keep the band-aids handy! :)

    • Georgina says...

      Me too! Even if I’m not cooking, I like to sit down with a glass of wine before eating rather than having it with the meal. It just feels more of an occasion. And having a glass of wine whilst cooking stops it from feeling like a chore and turns it into something relaxed and enjoyable.

  99. I crave alone time, and I actually need it in frequent, reliable bouts to function better around other people. It helps me recharge so I can be “on” and social. (Introvert alert!) Drinking alone is a natural extension of that need, but I wish there was less of a stigma around it! In the States, people tend to think you’re an alcoholic if you admit you like to drink alone. I also love going to dinner and to the movies alone, and for some reason people think those things are “brave” to do solo, but mention you like to drink by yourself and it’s met with, “Are you depressed??”

    • Anne says...

      I’m with you, there’s something so luxurious about dining out alone! I do like going out with friends, but reading a good book while being served delicious food that’s miles better than anything I could cook – it feels so indulgent :)

      I’ve been feeling a little worn down lately, and now I’m noticing that it’s been ages since I’ve treated myself to a solo trip to a coffee shop or restaurant. Maybe it’s time!

  100. Feeling a little guilty about drinking alone was something I experienced in my 20’s. Now in my 30’s, I relish in a glass or two of red wine when my fiance works nights. I usually put on a movie that he would never want to watch. Recipe for a perfect evening!

  101. Jess. says...

    The story of your champagne celebration with strangers is so sweet. Sometimes humans get it right! xox

  102. I never had any issues with having a glass of something by myself. But since giving up over 3 years ago (age 39), I enjoy not feeling tied to my nightly glass and being guaranteeed free of hangovers of any degree . I realise I might be alone here in becoming a midlife teetotaller, but I am very happy with the decision I made.

  103. What a sweet post. I think I shared your trepidation about drinking alone for many years—not wanting to seem unhealthy or all Bridget Jones spiral-y, haha. But there’s real therapy in it, too. I often pour a glass and take it up to soak in my bathtub with a good book. The presence of wine makes me remember to enjoy that soak and relax instead of basically just doing work on my iPad in the tub. :)

    When I was younger, I used to feel so uncomfortable at the idea of dining alone—now, I’m happy to get a drink solo or a bite to eat solo wherever I’m at. I think it came with being more comfortable in my own skin, but I know it also came with the peace of having found my life partner—so much of my earlier adulthood was tangled up in the stresses and insecurities of wanting to attract a mate. Once I had the mate thing locked down, I couldn’t give two sh*ts about who thinks what of me sipping a prosecco solo. :)

  104. You nailed it! In my earlier twenties, I always felt “wrong” having a glass of wine alone, too. Now I think it’s such a lovely treat to relax and drink in (wink, wink) my own thoughts over some vino. I fully support solo spirits #winenot

  105. I love a glass of smooth red wine in the bathtub haha. So cliche but nothing soothes me more than wine and bubbles.

    I used to be the biggest scaredy-cat of Alone Time. I actually just wrote a post about doing things alone on my blog. Check it out for a good ideas for dates with yourself :)

    http://sustenanceandstyle.com/2015/07/22/2016/

  106. Thank you for featuring my photo – I’m glad it could be put to good use on such an incredible post. :)

    • Erin Geiger Smith says...

      I love that photograph! So beautiful.

    • Talia says...

      A lovely photo!

  107. Lauren E. says...

    I’m not sure why this made me tear up, but I really loved it. Beautifully written.

    Not that it stops me from going, but I always wonder what people are thinking about me when I’m alone at a bar. One time I went to a bar by myself and had a nice glass of wine. Turns out the girl next to me was doing the same. After awhile she got up and left and the bartender said, “So you two girls aren’t together then. I wondered why you sat in silence for 45 minutes.”

  108. This is great! I’m all about that solo drink. Another time I really enjoy a glass of wine is when I take my lunch break and go to a restaurant for lunch on a Friday (rare). It’s a good way to end the work week on a high note. But I don’t recommend this if you have a lot of work to do when you get back to the office (speaking from experience =P).

  109. Julianna says...

    LOVE THIS! Your description of this milestone is so so perfect, I remember that exact moment in my own new mommy process, and I even got teary eyed w/ relief when it happened for me, also over my first glass of wine post birth.

    “In the blur of endless bottles, diaper changes and some hand-wringing about whether or not I was doing it all right, pouring a little wine at night allowed me to remember that I’m a fully formed, adult human. While I didn’t have the brain capacity on those days to explore a single idea or interest other than new motherhood, I was flooded with relief to simply sit down for a minute, pause and be… myself.”

  110. Couldn’t agree with you more! From time to time, after a long studying day, I really appreciate a good glass of wine! It helps me to relax, stop worrying too much about upcoming exams and just have a good alone moment. Plus, it’s true that we often buy wine as a gift or to drink with friends so I love to have the occasion of buying my favourite wine, without having to worry about whether others will like it or not.

    • Erin Geiger Smith says...

      That is another benefit — if you’re the only one drinking the wine, you’re the only one who has to like it!

  111. Ahh I love this so much. The Sun Also Rises quote is perfect and I love that you quit lawyering (my current job) to write. Cheers!

  112. Blair M says...

    One of my favorite memories is from a trip I took with some friends to Rome – somehow we all got split up, and I killed some time in a piazza drinking a glass of wine and eating chips by myself and just soaking it all in. LOVED IT. I still love a good glass of wine by myself…and then maybe another when my husband gets home ;)

  113. Melissa says...

    I usually drink alone. I get home from work and fix myself a tasty cocktail or crisp glass of prosecco and sort through the mail, make dinner, or sit outside for a little. It’s a beautiful ritual.

    Occasionally I’ll go to a dark bar and slowly sip something on my own. Sometimes I’ll bring a book, but sometimes I just enjoy spacing out. The roar of a loud bar can sometimes be soothing white noise. If someone tries to talk with me, I politely lie and tell them I’m waiting for my husband (who doesn’t drink, BTW).

  114. One of my favorite pleasures. I take myself out for a glass of wine I’d I’ve had a hard day or just want to feel pampered. The bar near my house has a sparkling rose that never fails to make me feel happy, and I’ve gotten to know the bartender enough to feel quite welcome. Another wine bar nearby has great happy hour glasses, too. All I need is one glass and I’m all reset.

  115. I love a solo glass of wine. After my two little ones go to bed, I pour a glass and sit on my porch and watch the sunset (and in the winter, I’ll sit by the fire). It’s very relaxing and feels like a pat on the back like, “good job today!”

  116. oh yes. oh yes. best thing in the evening. after a day full of work. I’m just having one right now ;)
    (it’s past 9 pm in Austria/Europe ;))

  117. L8Blmr says...

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE having a glass of wine out by myself. Especially sitting at the bar of a good restaurant and having a small appetizer or snack. It is such a wonderful indulgence and I force myself not to look to even look at my phone, but just be in the present moment and observe. People watching is one of my favorite past times and I so rarely get to just sit on my own and do it that it’s a fabulous treat.

  118. Caitlin says...

    I was recently studying for an exam (my first test since graduating college so I was so nervous!) and the night before the exam, I decided to go to a restaurant by myself to study. I had a leisurely beer (could have easily been wine) and studied away for an hour or so, until I got hungry and then ordered myself a solo dinner. I thought it would be weird walking into the restaurant, but it worked like a charm! The restaurant was just noisy enough that I couldn’t easily eavesdrop, and could focus on my reading. I felt accomplished walking out of the restaurant to go home to continue studying, not having to worry about cleaning up any dirty dishes.

    The next morning I went to the exam and aced it. I’m now a licensed real estate agent! Drinking solo really must be the trick. ;)

    • Congrats on passing! Seems like the best way to celebrate would be with a solo wine/dinner outing too haha.