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Going Solo for the Games: 5 Quiet Bars Where You Can Watch All the Olympics Action In Peace

Screen shot 2012-08-03 at 4.59.51 PM.pngEarlier this week, I tried to convince a friend that watching the Olympics is a group sport. He completely disagreed saying, "I don't want to talk to anyone while I'm watching. I'm that guy who stands up at the bar alone throwing up his arms when something exciting happens." Maybe it's because I don't have a television so I don't quite understand the experience of sitting alone, silently cheering on Ryan Lochte's giant, churning shoulders or quietly damning China's tremendous medal count. Maybe it's because if I am watching the Olympics it's probably from an anonymous hotel room while on the road and wishing I had someone to discuss the Russians' horrific choice of gymnastic leotards. Either way, maybe you need a half-empty bar from which to watch judo, the long jump or fencing sans any distractions from rowdy bar patrons. Here are five of our somewhat-serene favorites in NYC (no promises on the weekend).

1. At Williamsburg's Iona, a big beer menu and bare bones barbecue options should get you through an evening of white-knuckle table tennis trials. And if you feel so inclined to spend the commercial breaks socializing, you can step into the back yard for your own gripping match of ping pong.

2. A pretty, warmly-lit respite off the Graham stop, Ba'sik is staffed with alums from The Breslin, Painkiller and Lani Kai, who are low-key enough to know when to leave you to your below-breath mutterings on boxing and badminton. A Wisconsin-style hotdog and bourbon-rocks should set you up for a couple of hours of solo-surveillance.

3. Perhaps not best on weekends, but during school nights, Bar Great Harry is a pretty great catch for fans seeking a dark corner from which to spy the games. Free popcorn and a rotating list of mostly American beers will keep you stationed on a bar stool waiting for the next balance beam routine.

4. Off one of the sleepier streets in Alphabet City, Dorian Gray is a promising option when it comes to matching your party-of-one with an ardent appetite. Basic, but solid, the curry chips, Irish grilled cheese and shepherd's pie are perfect for an evening of handball and trampolining.

5. Ideally, you would hit d.b.a. Brooklyn for a solitary afternoon of Tchoup Shop (that'd be the New Orleans-style pop-up restaurant inside the bar) gumbo, chilled Abitas, and grilled boudin alongside a session of diving and synchronized swimming, but the Louisiana band might drown out the Olympic commentators. And you might actually meet people. And who would want to ruin a lonesome afternoon of Cajun food with company?

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