As an introvert I am pretty comfortable with my own company. Of course there is no better way to enjoy drinking beer than with friends, which is something I crave for at moment, but in more normal circumstances I have no issue with taking myself off to the pub and using that time to catch up with some blogging or social media.
I remember an occasion last year when I decided to nip to my local micro pub by myself. I had already been there an hour before a regular stopped to ask me if I was on my own and where my partner was. I explained that he would be joining me later but that I had decided to come down early for a couple of beers by myself. The regular was very surprised and commended me on having the confidence to come out on my own. Coming from someone who I would consider to be an independent and confident woman I was taken aback that she said she would never have thought about drinking in the pub on her own when she was younger. To be honest it had never occurred to me that it would be unusual for a young woman to go to the pub by herself, particularly as I have been doing it for some time now.
* * *
A little while ago I was involved in a Twitter thread where a fellow beer writer had asked a question about how people felt visiting a pub or bar on their own. The responses were varied and mostly from a male perspective. I joined the thread explaining that it doesn’t bother me and that I am quite happy to be on my own. I received a reply from the beer writer who hadn’t really thought about it from a female perspective, perhaps assuming that it isn’t something women tend to do. I also received replies from other women who shared their stories of harassment or feelings of uncomfortableness when they have been on their own in a pub or bar environment. These comments saddened me, especially as I have not experienced problems like these whilst I’ve been by myself. We have just had International Women’s Day on 8th March, a day to celebrate the great achievements of women as well as continue to raise awareness, but we still read stories of women who feel unable to do very basic things on their own. In this day and age, if men are able to go out to a pub or bar on their own then why would it be different for women?
The answer is sadly to do with the safety of women, an issue that has recently been highlighted after the tragic news of Sarah Everard. At some point in every woman’s life we have probably felt vulnerable when we have been in situations on our own. I am fortunate that I live in a small town, in an area where crime is relatively low but this doesn’t make me any more complacent. Although I am confident to go to a bar, taproom or pub on my own I have realised that I consider my own safety without really thinking about it. Mentally I have already prepared a risk assessment before I leave home, almost as if it is instinctive. I only go to places that I am familiar with, I know the surrounding area and I know the best ways to get there, whether that be on foot or by taxi. Many of the pubs and taprooms I visit I am familiar with the staff so I know if I had any trouble I could seek help. The beer community, micro pubs and tap rooms are very inclusive and strive to create a safe and fun environment for everyone which is something to be proud of. I have never had feelings of being uncomfortable or unwelcome in any of the bars or taprooms I have visited and I have always felt secure as well as relaxed to be by myself, which is something that I think should be commended.
Whilst I am very much looking forward to being able to meet in pubs again with my friends and family, as I have really missed having that social interaction, a part of me is also ready to go back out to the bars and taprooms on my own again. I hope that the recent boost of awareness following the Sarah Everard case will encourage people to continue to look out for one another so that everyone can make it home safely.