I’ve seen a dramatic change overcome me in the past year or two… When traveling to other cities, particularly with groups of people (such as when attending conferences for work) I find myself increasingly less inclined to go find a bar to kill a few hours time, opting instead for something much more routine.
I’m a big fan of the hotel bar, and I’ll tell you why.
First of all, there’s a certain convenience to being a two-minute stumble from bed when you’re up late drinking. This is probably one reason why I’m such a fan of having people over to my place for drinks instead of going out somewhere. (It’s also cheaper — for less than my individual bar tab, I can host a few friends over and we can all comfortably enjoy the evening with a few drinks each.)
Particularly when I have to be up early and presentable the next day, it’s nice to be able to call it a night when I have a moment of clarity and realize that I should be in bed.
Another plus to hotel bars when you’re meeting or traveling with people: it’s much more likely to be cozy, intimate, and nowhere near as crowded or loud. You’ve got a better chance of having meaningful, comfortable conversation that you do in a club somewhere. Of course, this is also why I enjoy going to loungy places when I DO go out to public drinking establishments — someplace with couches, some relatively quiet music, and table service is nearly guaranteed to make me smile.
You’re also much more likely to have the attention of your bartender or cocktail server, and in many cases can strike up a conversation and get to know them better. This has multiple benefits, from the increased likelihood of free and/or stronger drinks to the simple pleasures of enjoyable conversation with kind strangers, I usually have a better time when I walk out of a bar knowing the bartender/server’s name than I do if I’ve shouted a drink order over the heads of other patrons and carefully retrieved the drink in a desperate attempt not to spill on people.
But there’s more than that… Something about the hotel bar just feels GROWN UP to me. In the same way that renting a car, wearing a business suit on a plane, or ordering hotel room service after a long day of traveling, all make me feel grown up… It’s just one of those things that is a silly status symbol of sorts, that tells you that you’re an adult who travels around the country doing adult things.
Ultimately, I just enjoy a quieter scene, with a convenient location, and the likelihood of pleasant social interaction. I prefer feeling like a valued guest, not one of the teeming masses crammed into a loud bar full of sweaty people.
I never claimed a deep meaning to any of this, people. It’s the simple things in life that make me happy, if you haven’t noticed.