It’s on my Charlotte bucket list: Take self out for dinner, alone, and savor the solitude. The key is to find a place that’s not so crowded you feel like you’re left out of some party, and not so quiet you feel like you’re in complete isolation.
Sure you could hunker down in Five Guys and cram a greasy bag of fries into your face. But wouldn’t you rather take yourself somewhere nice?
My five picks for a solo dining experience:
At night, the adjacent Mayobird square-footage opens up to Summit Room customers. Steer toward that side of the building, away from the cocktail-drinking bustle in the main Summit Room space. The lights are lower, the chatter is quieter and flickering candlight washes over the more casual tables and reflects on the glass expanse of window overlooking the patio. Plenty to gaze at while you wait for your Mac and Cheese.
The booths here feel like little nooks made just for you. The snugger the better. I love this spot for its peaceful, dim lighting and the fact that I’ve never had to wait to be seated. This is a place where your biggest life decision is just: Stir-fry or sushi?
I once waited for a friend here at the bar for 30 minutes and it was pure magic. This is the place where you can lean your elbows on the counter as you lean into your glass of Malbec, write down some thoughts (if you’re into that kind of thing) and eavesdrop on all of the random conversations going on around you while still feeling a little classy. Pick two small plates (nudge nudge: the gnocchi and the falafel) and unwind.
This warm, homey spot is filled with spicy kitchen scents and such a melting pot of people — from families to couples to singletons — that you can’t possibly feel out of place. The best seat in the house is right in front of the cashier’s counter where customers flock to snatch up their take-out orders. Indulge in your prime people-watching perch while you clumsily dig your chopsticks into your curry.
This place is clustered with small high-topped tables that don’t make it seem like you should have a giant group coming to join you. Plus you get to pick your vantage point: facing a beer cooler, a wine wall, the bar or the door to the front patio. Full permission to call an artisan cheese plate and a glass of Rioja “dinner.”
Photos: Katie Toussaint