I know people have had mixed experiences with Meetup.com, but I wanted to share 2 very positive experiences that I had recently. First, I went to a networking group event last week. There were over 50 people there, and a career coach gave a short lecture which was helpful. I met some genuinely nice people and potentially good contacts.
Then, I went to a more local social group tonight - the first meeting of this particular group. There were about 10 of us in a local bar. It was a nice group of professionals and the conversation flowed freely.
It's hard to say whether I will make any long term friends in either of these groups, but it was still nice to get out and be with friendly people for an evening! So perhaps even if you haven't had good luck in the past with meetups, this will give you hope.