Need to make it clear to onlookers that you’re drinking alone not because you have a repugnant personality and no friends but because you’re a brooding nonconformist who needs some alone time? Easy: head to Nola, the upstairs dive bar that’ll bestow the vibes of a sullen, bourbon-slamming US detective upon you. The Drawing Room at Benugo, hidden behind a bookshelf in the Southbank, is a good one for loners of the bookish persuasion. Then there’s Hackney’s Chesham Arms, where pulling up beside the fire with a paper and jug of ale simply says “I am in the driving seat of life.”
Perhaps your interest in French new-wave cinema is lost on Berserk Alan and the guys from five-a-side. Maybe your fiance has referred to your love of transgressive Asian horror as “a sickening deal breaker”. Either way it’s time to start going to the cinema by yourself. Firstly, there is no better London setting than Kensington’s Cine Lumiere for spending 120 minutes pretending to be Jean Paul Belmondo. Also for your consideration: Bermondsey’s 52-seater Shortwave Cinema, where you’ll feel like a billionaire businessman in his private screening room.
Even though coffee shops are already socially acceptable haunts for the solo flyer, you’re never more than three-feet from a blogger serving his 142 YouTube fans over the free internet, reminding you of that big wide world crammed, positively bursting, with vile, vile humans. Not the case at Wild & Wood – a tiny wood-panelled nook with church pew seating and 1950s music that has absolutely no WiFi, thus encouraging everyone to keep their iDevices pocketed.
Things men in Japan do openly and without shame: read comics; sing karaoke; ride the subway while dressed as babies, suckling at the rubber dugs of mechanical RobotMothers; and finally go to restaurants and eat alone. So why not follow their example and order a trio of yakitori skewers at the bar in Jidori on Kingsland High Street, or go nuts with the tuna fire rolls at Ealing Common’s comfortingly unfussy Kiraku. Perhaps sumo-size yourself on Japanese tapas without burning through your credit card at Kirazu in Soho, or take us up on our offer, as a Mr Hyde reader, and chop 50% off your bill at belly-pleasing Murakami until April 21.
Eugh, museums. You can’t go five minutes without some uniformed busy-body asking you to “make a donation”, “buy a programme” or “remove yourself from the top of the exhibit”. You know where you’ll never be interrupted from your own thoughts? Holborn’s Cartoon Museum. Then there’s The Crypt Gallery, under King’s Cross, which is, as you’d expect, deathly quiet. Or try Old Operating Theatre at London Bridge, the macabre den of future serial killers.
An international festival of light
Dinner in a decommissioned 1967 underground carriage
Half-price brunch and a HUGE fried chicken burger