Moving to a new city solo can be an intimidating experience. If you’re like me, you might be too impatient to wait for friendships to develop before venturing out to see all that the new city has to offer.
In light of that experience, I’ve realized that bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and other gathering places need another rating system. Whereas the traditional system gives one to five stars based on the quality of food, libations, atmosphere, and service, I propose a simpler method that judges a location’s accessibility to those who, like me, who are temporarily traveling solo.
Requirements for a book-friendly rating are simple:
1. Small tables, but not too small, with one or two chairs apiece. No solo (except perhaps Han) wants to take up a table for four, and while miniature bistro sets may be fashionable, they do not leave room for Shakespeare’s collected works.
2. Corners. Nobody puts Baby in a corner, but every introverted bookworm will thank you for providing a safe place from which to observe the scene.
3. Unobtrusive, clearly marked routes from door to bar to bathroom to door. Traveling solo with a book under your arm is intimidating enough without the entire establishment paying court as you ask for directions or accidentally enter the men’s room.
4. Crash bars on all external doors, particularly if you have patio seating. Having to choose between dropping To Kill a Mockingbird or a craft IPA is one of those “lady or the tiger” dilemmas that only psychology majors want to confront.
5. Finally—and most importantly—thoughtful servers, staff, and patrons who acknowledge by a lack of stares and snickers that not all humans travel in pairs and that, sometimes, in lieu of a human companion, a book will do just as well.
That’s really all we ask. 🙂
Certified book-friendly locations in the Triangle region of North Carolina include:
Open Eye Cafe, Carrboro
Steel String Brewing, Carrboro
Raleigh Brewing Co.