“Make friends with the bartender,” Baxter advises. “Go maybe once or a couple times a week — the bartender gets to see who the characters are, they may know who’s single, who the alcoholics are. Who knows? They could even set you up.”

Go where the fun is

Look for bars with games like darts or pool tables for a low-stress way to chat up someone rather than staring into each other’s eyes and drinking your cocktails too fast. At more casual bars, “people tend to be a little bit more open and talkative to other people than the people they came with,” Baxter says. She also likes breweries and Mexican restaurants, which by the nature of their fun drinks and upbeat music tend to attract happy people.

 

 

If you’re looking for romance, going out with your bestie might not be how you’ll find it. Baxter’s wingwomen work with men and women to make that first connection a little bit smoother by honing clients’ technique, making introductions or just being a supportive plus-one. “It’s intimidating to go up to that hot person at the bar,” Baxter says. “Basically, a wingwoman will provide the confidence.”