Drinking in Good Company 003: The Stranger at the Bar

These days, it’s hard to find someone in a social beer drinking setting who does NOT have their face stuffed in not only their beer, but their cell phone. Selfie this, check-in that, and scroll, scroll, scroll. I am guilty, too. The very definition of “social”, as it relates to being a part of society, is the interaction of an individual with a group. Seems like these days, we’re all simply individuals, trying to stay as far away from one another as possible. A little extreme? Maybe; but with the instant gratification of instant connection via technology, I wonder if sitting down and having a conversation with the stranger at the bar has, or will become, a thing of the past?


So, in this installment of Drinking in Good Company, I challenge you to strike up a conversation with the person closest to you the next time you’re at the bar, or beer garden, or tap room, or the next big “wait in line for it” release. What is the harm, really, in lifting your eyes from your phone, and saying hello to someone? 


We give ourselves so few opportunities these days, to get to know someone in the (now) more traditional sense of having a conversation! Today, we even troll (you know you do it!) someone’s Facebook page, or other social media page when we’re trying to get some advance idea of who, or how, someone is. Today, our devices let us avoid human contact all together if we want. 


Grab a beer, find a comfortable place to sit, and put your phone away! Surely in a bar room full of people, there must be someone you could strike up a conversation with. For introverts like me, this isn’t going to be easy. But, go on! Get out there! Talk! (Gasp!) 


It can be done. You’re going to drink that awesome craft beer, sit in that damn comfy chair, and talk to someone. Who knows who you might meet? Your next beer trading buddy? A fellow Red Sox lover? The Chef of your favorite restaurant, unwinding after pushing out a couple hundred covers? A firefighter? A museum curator? The next greatest inventor, CEO, or politician? Ok, maybe we should keep politics out of it!


My point is, craft beer and the venues where it is made, and served, are built around community; craft beer is social. Craft beer is about being involved in your social circle of humans that live and work around their “local” bar or restaurant / pub. Every day we walk past someone with our faces shoved in our phones, we lose an opportunity to interact. We don’t get that moment back, and though we might not ever know what we are missing, isn’t it more fun to just jump in and be a part of something, instead of letting our devices disallow it?


Cheers, Strangers!

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