This was me the first Wednesday in the UK. (before I knew the Nerdist meetup had been moved) I sat at the bar for a while sipping my beer, looking for somebody who looked friendly enough to approach and start talking to. I actually thought about going up to some people at a table and saying "Hi I just moved here and know nobody, will you be my friends?" Luckily it didn't come to that. After I had finished half my beer, a couple came and sat at the bar next to me. The girl had very blue hair which I loved! I told her so and started talking to the two of them. They had never heard of Nerdist and were there for some video game tournament Meltdown holds every Wednesday night. I ended up hanging out with them for the rest of the evening and learned a lot about Hearthstone (the game they were playing.) I found out they attend the London Comic-con so we exchanged info so I can meet up with them again.
The next evening I did pretty much the same exact thing. Went to the bar, got myself a beer and looked around for somebody who looked like they were by themselves or nice enough to talk to. The guy sitting next to me was wearing Star Wars print sneakers so I told him I liked them (apparently my in with strangers is to just compliment them) and found he was there for the Nerdist meetup as well. By the end of the night we amassed quite a group.
Nerds are so wonderful. It's why I love comic con so much. You automatically have something in common and can just strike up a conversation about movies, tv, video games, books, etc. Two of the guys also go to the London Comic-con and dress up every year so we had fun showing each other pictures of past costumes.
The third night, Friday, I went to the Oktoberfest at Kilburn Grange Park. I got myself a liter of cider and sat down at one of the long tables. I sat by myself for probably 1.5 hours looking around for an approachable group while I danced to the hilarious German band. I wanted to just go up to somebody and start talking, but the music was so loud and people were either dancing crazily or yelling conversations at each other. After a little while, the 2 men sitting across from me started chatting with me. Both were probably in their 50s or 60s and looked a little... lets just say, haggard. When they found out I was from the states they both told me that they weren't allowed there because of their criminal records. I didn't even know what to say to that. One of the men went on to tell me that his "criminal record" was from selling marijuana. I was like "Oh! That isn't so bad" and he replied, "No, like, a lot of marijuana. I think you would call it smuggling." They seriously reminded me of Horace and Jasper from 101 Dalmations. And instead of dealing in puppies, this guy dealt in Mary Jane.
A couple of their friends joined them after a while and one had a face tattoo. While the men were all perfectly nice, I just thought to myself, you can't have a winner every evening ha. Maybe meeting really cool fun people 3 nights in a row was asking too much. I told the men that I was going to the bathroom and then heading home. I figured I'd just give the dance floor a pass through to check out the band a little closer before calling it a night. While I was walking by, I saw a group of guys taking a selfie and offered to take the picture for them. INSTANT FRIENDS. Turns out they are all teachers at a nearby school and were having a "lad's night out." They were all much closer to my age and no criminal records (at least that I know of). I ended up dancing with them for the rest of the evening to the sweet jams of 90's and early 00's that the German DJ was spinning. He played all the best songs - the Macarena, Spice Girls, Back Street Boys, and of course Robbie Williams because, hellooooo - England.
I felt so Australian my first week here. (In my few travels abroad in the past, I was always meeting Aussies traveling by themselves and just up for whatever friends were thrown their way for the evening) Luckily it ended up working out really well for me. I haven't gone out by myself since, but at least I know that I have a 90% chance of meeting fun people and having a decent time.