NEW YORK — Businesspeople used to know how to waste time. Instead of updating their Facebook wall and shopping on eBay, they ordered three martinis at lunch and headed back to the office four hours later.
“Nobody I know does that anymore,” says Joel Babbit, 57, a longtime advertising writer who recently started Mother Nature Network, an environmental website. Babbitt’s first day at advertising agency McCann Erickson in 1977 involved a lunch that began with his very first martini — and ended with his head in a toilet at 2 pm.
“There was a time when I had two Bloody Marys at lunch every day,” he remembers, “but I haven’t had anything to drink before 6 o’clock in 15 years. Even if I had the desire to do it, I can’t stay awake and I can’t get anything accomplished.”
That’s the common gripe against the drinking lunch: It prevents workers from actually doing their jobs. However, from midtown Manhattan restaurants to strip-mall McCormick & Schmick’s, professionals are making the drinking lunch work for them. While some hide behind a supposed culinary experience — and some just plain hide it — others, particularly old-timers, have a vested interest in reinstating the institution. To help with business, of course.
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