Get Out & Explore! How to Find the Place Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Apartment Therapy's Guide to the Perfect Summer

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You know what one of the most overlooked elements to loving the city where you live is? Finding "your place." That bar or lounge that feels super comfortable, is where you can take out-of-town guests, a new date or old friends. The place that serves the drinks you love, the music that makes you move and has the kind of seats you sink into.

Maybe you don't realize you don't have a favorite bar in your city yet. Some signs that you're frequenting all the wrong places:

  • You come home exhausted — Too many people or not your style of hanging out drain your energy
  • Your hearing is a little fuzzy from the loud music playing and you find yourself trying to remember what someone said because you only heard every other word.
  • Your head and your wallet are hurting from imbibing pricey drinks you don't particularly love

So how do you find your home away from home in the city you live in and love? You've got to know yourself first.

Sounds kind of corny to make a list of things you "value" in a bar or lounge, but trust me when I tell you that knowing what it is that you love about going out and hanging with friends is how you narrow down your choices. Ask yourself questions like whether you like to be surrounded by lots of people are a few. Whether you like conversation or listening to music. Whether you like a perfectly crafted cocktail or the largest amount of cheap beers on tap you can find. Whether you want to drive or take transportation.

Then do a little research.
Depending on the size of your city, you might be able to find article round-ups of the best "happy hours" or "craft cocktails" or "bars for people who hate bars" in your city. You could survey your friends that are similar to you in preference and personality to ask where they go. Create a list that might help you

Next, the legwork.
Friday and Saturday nights are the perfect time to road test finding a new place. This is the important step: you want to visit your new potential "your place" at least three times, once with old friends, once with new friends and once solo (the last trip). If it passes muster each trip, you may have finally found the place where (with enough dedication and a big enough bar tab) the folks might eventually know your name.

Share your favorite place to grab a drink in your city and tell us what you love about it!

Visit the Guide to the Perfect Summer main page for links to all of the posts published so far or sign up to have them delivered directly to you each weekend.

(Image credits: Creating a Home Away from Home: Cicero Restaurant, Rome; Janel Laban)

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Main, Entertaining

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