young woman reading a book and enjoying a glass of wine.

Michaelpuche/Shutterstock (Licensed)

‘Like why does a bar always have to be a place to get wildly drunk. Can’t we just chill?’: TikToker reads at bar, sparking debate

'If I saw someone at a bar reading I would think, ‘damnit I should’ve brought my book.''


Braden Bjella

Internet Culture

Posted on Jun 21, 2022   Updated on Jun 21, 2022, 3:27 pm CDT

Several days ago, TikTok user ​​Lily (@ebcjpg) posted a seemingly innocuous video to her page.

“I feel like being around people but not talking to them, so I think I’m going to go to a bar and just read,” she says in her first video.

The video currently has over 419,000 views.


In my Hemingway era (drinking with a book)

♬ original sound – Ebc.jpg

While Lily may not have intended it, this small comment reignited a common debate: whether it’s OK to read at a bar.

The consensus in the comments section is that it is totally fine—and, in fact, common.

“I LOVE going to a bar and reading,” one commenter shared. “It’s one of my favorite ways to spend time by myself.”

“I love reading at bars,” another agreed. “‘Around people but not talking to them’ is such a mood.”

“If I saw someone at a bar reading I would think, ‘damnit I should’ve brought my book,’” a third added.

While most users fell into this camp, others remained firmly opposed.

One viewer under Lily’s first video wrote, “this is so incredibly try hard… if i ever saw someone reading at the bar i would cringe.” This is one of the top comments on the video, and it spurred a sarcastic response from Lily.

Lily posted a clip from her time reading at what appears to be a moderately empty bar with the text: “Everyone is cringing.”

“Oh no,” she added in the caption.

The video racked up over 490,000 views.

@ebcjpg Reply to @gilescorey1692 ♬ original sound – Ebc.jpg

In the comments under this video, users offered their own reasons for going to a bar unrelated to drinking with friends.

“I did my homework at a bar because coffee shops were closed and I was trying to push myself out my comfort zone,” one commenter recalled.

“I brought my 3DS to the bar one time and the bartender asked what I was playing and I said new leaf and then we became friends,” a second said.

“As someone who used to work at a bar i used to have a lady come in, read and drink an entire bottle of red & she was my fav regular,” another claimed.

Even more users flamed the original commenter for mocking Lily’s choice to read at a bar.

“How is someone minding their own business and doing something they enjoy a ‘try hard,’” a commenter asked.

“Like why does a bar always have to be a place to get wildly drunk. Can’t we just chill?” another questioned.

The Daily Dot reached out to Lily via email.

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*First Published: Jun 21, 2022, 1:48 pm CDT