Drinking Alone: What Bar?
I'll be meeting up with friends later on and wanted to grab a glass of wine by myself beforehand. I'm a late 20s girl and would like a place where it wouldn't be very awkward for me to sit alone at the bar. Ideally I would like a place where I could chat with someone (not just the bartender). I want a place with reasonable wine by the glass, downtown or on the UES and kinda has a cool vibe. This would be on a Friday night around 7-8.
A little out of the way perhaps but Terroir (Hearth owners' wine bar) on E12th off 1st Ave is a very nice choice. A little crowded but you're early enough. Another choice in that neighborhood is Redhead, on E13th betw 1-2nd Ave. Wines (small but decent choices) + nice cocktails. Inexpensive and upbeat.
V bar might be of interest. There isn't that much of a bar, per se, but there is a longer, communal bar table where I always seem to end up talking to people even when I was trying not to. (I used to go there to study or read during the day, when it functions more as a coffee shop.) It's not 'cool' as in .. uh... Sarah Jessica Parker cool (shows you how little I know about coolness), but it is extremely laid back with some decent wines by the glass.
I haven't been in a while, but I don't remember Agave having a real bar, but rather bar tables. and my impression was that people mostly keep to their own tables. correct me if i'm wrong, beanocook!
Hudson Bar and Books, excellent bar and atmosphere. I love it. However it is likely you won't they allow smoking there, one of a few bars in the city. There is also a location on Lex on the UES. Both are ideal for what you are looking for, comfortable and easy to talk to patrons and they are not going to give you attitude at all, but kindness. One location downtown, the other UES.
Another Ayza, w 31st, would give you a different vibe. Casual feel, but clean and upscale, comfortable. But this isn't Downtown.
For Downtown try Agave 140 W7th. Beautiful space. It is a restaurant with a great bar. Not loud, but there is an energy.