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How often do you drink at lunch during the work week?

I'm just wondering if other posters on Chowhound like to take a drink at lunch.

The reason I'm asking is that among my co-workers, only myself and one other person I sometimes eat lunch with has a drink at lunch. For me, it's a beer or two. If I had more than that or had a couple of cocktails I'd have trouble doing my job well after lunch. My occasional lunch companion drinks beer or wine and he always drinks alcohol when we have lunch together -- I get the impression he has a drink at lunch every day. I drink at lunch sometimes, not all the time.

I'm wondering if it's just my circle of friends/co-workers, the city I live in (L.A.), or what?

So, to repeat the question:

Do you drink at lunch during the work week? If so, what and how much do you drink? Does it matter if your lunch companion is drinking or if you're alone?

I guess that's more than one question.

Interested in hearing the responses.

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  1. Never--- although I would love to. I find that drinking at lunch says vacation to me and I have trouble being productive the rest of the day. Also, my wine with dinner is my treat to myself for making it through the day and it just wouldn't have the same feeling if I had drinks at lunch.

    Vacation is an entirely different story!

    2 Replies
    1. re: baseballfan

      For me, a beer at lunch totally depends on where I eat.

      Like I said in the OP, I eat lunch in a couple of different bar and grills near my office and get a burger or a steak sandwich -- bar food. And something about a burger or steak sandwich just suggests draft beer, not soda pop or iced tea.

      Oddly, if I go for Japanese at lunch, I rarely order a Sapporo (only if I'm with my one friend who drinks at lunch) -- a pop or plain water seems to suffice.

      So, I guess for me it's not about the relaxing nature of having a drink, it's more the right beverage for certain types of food.

      1. re: baseballfan

        Never, not allowed. OTOH my husband who works in finance/banking does every day, sometimes a lot - apparently you have to please the clients... !!?

      2. Wow. If I am going back to work, never. I am always surprised when a lunch companion orders a drink.

        3 Replies
        1. re: akq

          I sometimes feel people are surprised when I order a beer at lunch, too. In fact, every once in a while I've had a companion order their soft drink then after I order a bottle of beer they switch to a beer. It's almost as if once I ordered beer it was okay for them (even though they were seemingly surprised when I did it) and they figured they'd have one, too.

          I'm not old enough to know if times have changed, but when I was a kid my dad was part of the two martini lunch crowd (he didn't drink -- still doesn't drink -- his co-workers did).

          1. re: PaulF

            Paul, What industry do you work in? I live in LA also and now work at a corporate office of a MFG firm, and nobody drinks here during lunch - ever. Prior to this job I worked in downtown at a couple of banks, and most people did drink during lunch, particularly the older employees. So I think it depends on the industry.

            1. re: stopurmakingmehungry

              I'm a lawyer based in LA and definitely saw people order drinks at lunch, although not all that regularly.

        2. Never in a million years did I or anyone I worked with have a beer or other alcohol at lunch, much less two.

          1. I never take a drink at lunch. Multiple drinks? Yes.

            It does not matter if I am alone. I like beer regardless.

            It does matter if my lunch companion is not drinking, especially if I work with said companion. This rarely comes up.

            Do whatever you want, and whatever your work allows. It's time for America to get over it's passive-aggressive self-aware neurosis re: alcohol. You are at the dawn of a new frontier, which is the same as the old frontier.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kevin47

              Well, my husband used to have a guy working for him that kept a bottle in his desk drawer and who once, sitting at the same table I was at an office party, drank five double whiskeys in about thirty minutes. To each his own.

            2. In my old job, a colleague of mine and I would often have a weizen or two with lunch, especially in the summer. But this was in Germany, where alcohol is less stigmatized/demonized than here, and it's nothing out of the ordinary.

              These days, I'm self-employed, start my day late & don't generally drink till the evening.

              1 Reply
              1. re: linguafood

                linguafood, I work at the US office of a British company. I know to never expect productivity from my London colleagues after noon GMT on Fridays.

                Emails often are met with the response "pub.....Friday....."

                As for me, if I drink at lunch I'm done for the day.

              2. I think your polling sample might be skewed.
                I rarely have a drink at lunch during the workweek - hell I pretty much make up for it the rest of the time. But I think in general, it might depend on your profession, position, and workplace. I've been around the construction industry (high steel) most of my life. For these guys, a better question might be "how often do you EAT at lunch during the work week?"

                1. Only if it is a celebratory lunch - however I work in health care so different.

                  1. When I worked and was able to drink alcohol, it was a definite no. When I'd see people drinking at lunch, I always figured that they had the day or at least the rest of the day off. I guess for me, it was just one of those things that was drummed into my head by my folks and company policy. I was a programmer at a health insurance company, so I worked in a cube farm, which may differ from other environments.

                    1. I think it is one of those things that has changed in the last two or three decades. I was born in the late 50's. Going past restaurants when I was young people inside were often smoking and drinking. The proverbial two or three martini lunch was a part of the business world for white collar people, and knocking back a couple over the lunch hour was common for a lot of blue collar guys (yeah... guys.) I'm not saying people got plastered, but they drank. These days, like several of the other posters have mentioned, I only drink if I am going to either have the afternoon off, or know that no one is going to expect me to get anything important done. The same for most of my friends. Water, tea, energy drinks, juice, sodas... thats what shows up at lunchtime. Rarely alcohol.

                      1. I get a half hour for lunch (45 min if I skipped my morning snack break), and I'm not allowed to leave the campus.

                        Plus, I'm an ICU nurse.

                        Does anyone want me to have a beer or two at lunch? Anyone?

                        My mom never drank at lunch either, and her last major gig was in banking. For the record, I'd prefer that my accountant, hotel parking valet, insurance agent, clerk at supermarket, and my own doctor, not drink at lunch. I'm with baseballfan, it's a signal for vacation. Maybe I'm just too uptight for the German model. ;)

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: DuchessNukem

                          I wouldn't want my ICU nurse to drink at lunch either. But a regular desk zombie / office drone with not much responsibilities?

                          Prost!

                          1. re: DuchessNukem

                            I was about to reply in a similar manner. I doubt very much my patients would appreciate it if I had a glass of wine or two with my lunch. I don't drink on the nights before early shifts either - I went to work hungover once and learned my lesson. I doubt that there is any profession worse than nursing to rock up hungover for work. Bleh.

                          2. If I'm working, never. It just doesn't fit in to the day. If I'm not working and I'm at home, again never. But if I'm not working and having lunch out, I might accompany my meal with whatever adult bev. of choice suits it.

                            1. Rarely. Usually only if there is a work "thing" on and everyone else is (alcohol is often supplied at those things). I'll occasionally - like twice a year - have a glass of wine if we go to the campus bistro for afternoon tea, if it's been a tough day and I want to unwind a little - but only if my sweetie is driving me home.

                              I'm a librarian at a university.

                              1. That's one of those "let's show you to the door" offenses where I work.

                                5 Replies
                                  1. re: Isolda

                                    Me too! A lot of companies have policies that prohibit this.

                                  2. re: wattacetti

                                    Same here, and I have to say I agree. I work in a hospital also, and I like my alcohol, but the thought of drinking at lunch really grosses me out. I'm not a real high-energy person anyway, alcohol renders me pretty torpid.

                                    Besides, have you ever noticed how you can smell somebody who's been drinking any alcohol at all a mile away if you haven't been? I just don't want to give the impression that i can't wait until I get home in the evening to have a drink.

                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                      'Besides, have you ever noticed how you can smell somebody who's been drinking any alcohol at all a mile away if you haven't been? I just don't want to give the impression that i can't wait until I get home in the evening to have a drink'

                                      Yep, totally agree! Boss was in on Thursday and he stunk of alcohol. Not a good thing. Even when I was doing wine tastings I'd very rarely taste the wine I was pouring because I didn't want to smell of it. If I was pouring higher dollar stuff I'd occasionally have a taste since I wanted to make sure it wasn't bad, but other than that, no tasting for me until after the pouring was done.

                                    2. re: wattacetti

                                      wattacetti, Same where I work. "let's show you to the door" is followed by "your final paycheck will be mailed to you."

                                    3. I work for a public university, no alcohol sales on campus and no consumption except in residence hall rooms of students over age 21. I only get 30 minutes for lunch, and the nearest off campus restaurant is 10-15 minutes away, so I just don't have enough time to have a beer over lunch. If I had the time, I would probably partake on occasion, but not everyday, mostly for calorie/weight control purposes (caloric beverages don't fit into my daily diet plan). We do have a hotel with a very nice bar on campus and the alumni club. On special occasions (i.e. just submitted a grant proposal after months of work) we'll close up shop a few hours early and have a drink together.

                                      Sort of on topic - when I was in grad school (at the same university) a group of us went out for drinks after a particularly brutal midterm. The only hitch in our plan - the midterm ended at 10:30am. We wandered the main drag in town for an hour before we found a place open for lunch. Most of us enjoyed a beer + lunch. A few enjoyed too many and went to our afternoon class a bit tipsy.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: mpjmph

                                        I learned how to suture wounds after a few cocktails. In fact I still maintain that I sutured better under the influence than I do sober.

                                        Just to clarify I learned how to suture on a piece of pork...

                                          1. re: porker

                                            Ya, it's easy to make a cut in the skin so you can suture it up. No real-life patients required.

                                            1. re: TheHuntress

                                              Sorry, what I meant was Yummmmm, pork.

                                          2. re: TheHuntress

                                            Chickens were my best friend when I was learning how to suture. I'm an equine vet tech and our resident surgeon was impressed when I'd find chicken on sale. I think she was even more impressed when most of my practice would make it to the dinner table!!!

                                        1. Wow, I need to come work at your place...never drink at lunch, n e v e r. I feel it's completely unprofessional, a good way to attract negative attention from your peers and supervisors, and a good way to get fired. After hours, I agree with porker

                                          1. At a former job, we nearly always drank 1 or 2 beers at lunch. It was the culture and the boss would only go places that served booze. He also kept beer in the fridge at work for Friday afternoons. Problem maybe?

                                            Now, I do not drink at lunch. At 40-something, two beers would put me into nap mode.

                                            1. We have a liquor cabinet where I work and anyone can have a drink anytime they choose to. I've been there for 20 years and it was that way when I got there, which surprised me at first. Employees who drive during the workday are restricted to the end of the day when their outside duties are over. Some people took advantage and they were restricted to start at 3:00. During work related travel, there are never restrictions on bar tabs and meal expenses, and we always stay at posh resorts. Love those work trips but we haven't gone in a few years because of the economy. That being said, I rarely drink during work because I don't drink and drive and I do like to go home at the end of the day. If we go out to lunch I'll have a glass of wine but that's it.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: Floridagirl

                                                I was surprised when I went on a sales call to Bacardi Headquarters in Miami and they showed me their liquors on tap in the reception area... for guests. I always wondered if they had rules about employees partaking.

                                                1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                  I live a stones throw from the Montreal Labatt brewery (well, you'd need a strong arm anyway) and know a few people who did an occasional odd job there (carpentery or welding, etc). They were given the choice of being paid in cash or beer.

                                                  1. re: porker

                                                    That's amusing, and reminds me of fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, among the shrimpers who trawl by night and sleep by day. Industry custom is that any crew is fired for selling catch for cash, but boy could we get a lot of fresh shrimp in exchange for cold beer! We sometimes brought a spare cooler of beer just for that purpose.

                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                      I hear its now changed to gas: 12lbs of fresh shrimp for a quart of gasoline...

                                              2. I'll almost never tipple before dinner time. If others do, it always has the air of the forbidden to it, though really, what's the harm in a drink or two with your meal? So long as you're productive and not slurring your speech, no one will know. Unfortunately if you're me, your poker face turns red after a couple beers.

                                                1. Occasionally, mostly when traveling with work companions, and my husband does a lot more often. His work lunches often entails entertaining clients, some of whom are big drinkers. My husband's in the one and done crowd (as am I) ... I just drink a whole lot slower than him :-)

                                                  1. Oh, the glories of the 3-martini lunch.

                                                    1. Nope....never been my thing and as others said it would only work if I was going to nap after lunch.

                                                      Funny story.....my husband's first job out of college (1971) was at General Motors at their Manhattan office.

                                                      His first day of work he is taken to the Playboy Club for lunch, where several martinis or Scotches were par for the course. He got completely wasted and didn't remember the rest of the day...was simply trying to keep up with his bosses and stay awake.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                        When I waitressed in college, the tide about lunchtime drinking had turned to the extent that to my generation, it was a rarity, but to the previous generation it was normal and almost expected. (Y'all know the cliche about the businessman and the three-martini lunch.) So yep, I was suprised when three fellas who worked nearby came in and did exactly that; suprised enough that I remarked on it to the owner (who was certainly of the previous generation.) He not only let me know that I was suffering from a new way of thinking, but was almost affronted that I called the practice into question (that he was a lunchtime drinker also skewed his viewpoint, I think.) So, I served them and went about my business, but it did bother me, especially that they worked at the Ford plant on a heavy-machinery industrial line.

                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                          explains a few things...I think the team that came with the aztec had more than a few liquid lunches

                                                        2. At the first firm I worked for, there was an unwritten rule many associates subscribed to that permitted drinking at lunch when the senior most partner at the table drank. One never drank more than than s/he did. Needless to say, this made a few of the old school guys quite popular. Of course, one would not drink at all if the afternoon involved meeting with clients, appearing in court, etc.

                                                          The lunches with clients who drank (sometimes a lot) meant doing the same - regardless of what else you had planned on doing the rest of the day. In fact, I recall one "lunch meeting" in the Oak Room that involved no food. A liquid lunch like that meant having to make a phone call to have the schedule cleared and travel arrangements changed. Sometimes heavy drinking was as much a part of the culture as heavy thinking.

                                                          Now that I no longer have a boss, am older, and work in an entirely different world, a drink at lunch is completely up to me. It still seems improper to meet with clients with alcohol on my breath, so I don't. Moreover, I am inclined to simply postpone lunch for a couple hours, drink as much as I choose, and simply head home when I'm done. (I guess now that I'm always paying for it myself factors in as well.)

                                                          1. Never on a workday...ever. Not even to keep someone else from feeling uncomfortable. This is an inheritance from my father who,in the 1950's and 1960's, lived amongst the 3-martini-lunch boys in Mahattan and very much dis-approved. I think that deep in his secret archives he had examples of family and friends during Prohibition, both National and State, who went over-the-edge If he had wine with dinner he never had a cocktail. He had two drinks at the most.

                                                            I might have a noon martini if it is, say, Thanksgiving Day or some other holiday on which I am not working.

                                                            1. Very, very rarely. My company will have in-office celebratory/holiday lunches occasionally with beer/wine and I'll have one or two if my afternoon work schedule isn't pressing. That's about it.

                                                              1. I rarely have lunch away from the house since I am freelance, and I don't drink alcohol at home during the day. When I was working in advertising in the 80s back East, we used to often have a couple glasses of wine at lunch most days...but then the owner of the agency was usually sitting at the bar knocking back 3 Manhattans. I truly don't know how we got anything accomplished.

                                                                1. Sometimes if I go out to a restaurant with a group, we'll have a drink. It used to be quite common, but not so much anymore due to our being acquired by a large corporation that has much stricter rules. I rarely ever go out to eat in the type of place that serves alcohol.

                                                                  Before the acquisition we had on-site parties in the afternoon where everyone would get smashed and go back to work afterwards.

                                                                  1. Never. I've only worked at places who have a zero tolerance alcohol policy and even if nobody would ever know, it's just not something I'm willing to risk.

                                                                    1. Never.

                                                                      But I work in one of the professions that you would never want me to.

                                                                      1. When I first began working in the mid-80s in Boston, it was not at all uncommon for groups of co-workers to go out to lunch together and order mixed drinks. No one batted an eye. Of course, as a young worker just out of college, I could rarely afford to join them, so usually stuck with a Coke. By the mid-90s, there was a huge cultural shift, and drinking alcohol at lunch was really frowned upon. I haven't seen it change all that much, but I guess it would depend on where you live and what you do.

                                                                        Even one drink can affect judgment, so I wouldn't want my lawyer, doctor or financial advisor drinking before advising or treating me. My husband did catch the guy who painted our kitchen smoking a joint behind the barn on his lunch break, but chose to ignore it because the paint still went on straight.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Isolda

                                                                          My husband works in finance and it's the advisors (who he sells to) that drink the most! Every lunch and happy hour as well - multiple drinks.

                                                                        2. I am really surprised at the number of posters who say that they have events in the office where alcohol is served. Aside from whatever message (good, bad, mixed) that might send to the employees, in most places I worked it would have been grounds to cancel the firm's liability insurance. Again, back in the 80's (was that really so long ago?) an end of the workday office party would often include alcohol. Now, it never does.

                                                                          1. Never unless it's a celebration lunch

                                                                            1. Two stories: while now retired, I used to work in health care, and one nurse's aide had behavior that seemed markedly changed after lunch. Upon questioning, she said she always drank 2 bottles of Bartles and James (do they still make that stuff?) and claimed not to know it was alcohol.

                                                                              Second: while on jury duty with a particularly boring case, I treated myself to a great lunch and 1 glass of great wine. When I reported that to my fellow jurors, you would have thought I'd taken meth at lunch.

                                                                              1. Almost never. I can think of maybe 5 times in the last 5 years that I've had a drink other than iced tea or water with lunch.

                                                                                1. In the early 90's, when I worked at large ad agencies in NYC, the creative teams always drank (or got high) at lunch. I was a suit and it was frowned upon. But occasionally we did, especially on Fridays so long as no clients were visitng. Now, I'd never imagine doing it. I can rarely even leave my office at lunch, let alone have a drink.

                                                                                  1. I'll answer for mr. gator as I'm not working right now. He will often have 1 beer at lunch as do the rest of his co-workers. Not offering an excuse, but he works outside of our city in a small town in Texas and they frequent barbeque joints for lunch. People just drink beer.

                                                                                    1. Bob and I have discussed the fact that in the 70s and 80s in SF (we didn't know each other then) it was a hard drinking town. It seemed like everyone drank at lunch - wine, beer, cocktails. And we all went back to work and functioned :) Now we're in our 60s and retired. If I have a glass of wine at lunch I know I'll be able to take a nap afterwards.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                        I lived in SF in the 70's and 80's. It was a hard drinking lunch crowd for some guys in some businesses. I wonder if it's still that way? Has no-smoking stopped a lot of the drinking?

                                                                                      2. I have one when I'm by myself and am having a particularly bad day, but it's not because I necessarily feel like I need a drink, but rather, on those occasions, I am treating myself to an unusually nice and expensive lunch, and the drink seems to go along with it in my mind. I do find that I try to go to places where I doubt anyone I know will be (and with the run out, grab a sandwich, return to desk and eat mode that most people are in these days, there's little danger of running into anyone at a table service place), but it's not because I feel like I'm in there getting hammered, I just don't want to get in trouble. I actually think if I were with several people and we were all drinking, that would look worse than if someone came upon me quietly enjoying my pasta with pork shoulder and tongue along with a glass of dry white. I mean, it's not like I'm sitting there downing shots and eating wings, and I really don't think anyone should object. I only do it when I know I don't have any meetings after lunch and I honestly haven't noticed any lack of productivity aftewards. If anything, I feel a little more relaxed and am less upset about the horrible day I'm having, and I feel like I can go back and tackle things a little better now that I have some great food and a good drink under my belt.

                                                                                        But it is rare. The big, fancy, sit down lunch with the drink is not only a calorie blowout but very expensive as well, so it's maybe a handful of times a year. I honestly wish people weren't so uptight about it and it wouldn't be a big deal.

                                                                                        I did have a beer when I went for mexican with a co-worker last week, and she was surprised I ordered a beer, but you know, I just don't think that kind of concern is warranted. I'm an office drone and it's not like I'm staggering back to work, it's just 1 drink with a meal.

                                                                                        1. I also work at a place where it's a big no-no to consume upon immediate return to work. That said, I recently had to run an errand at whole foods during my lunch break so I also ate there on the patio in the beautiful spring weather and picked up a glass of wine to go with. That was quite luxurious!

                                                                                          I agree with baseballfan though, it did get me into vacation/weekend mode a little too early!

                                                                                          1. Never. Absolutely never.

                                                                                            1. I generally lunch alone so most often my lunch consists of me taking a stroll to a local eatery, grabbing something to-go, bringing it back and eating in my office. So I don't usually drink at lunch during the work week.

                                                                                              That said I occasionally feel like having a leisurely sit-down lunch, and when I do I will almost always eat at the bar and have a couple beers or scotches with my lunch.

                                                                                              Also, I do have a couple coworkers I sometimes go out with, and when we do "lunch" it is almost always a liquid lunch. Very rarely I will do solo liquid lunch, but those usually turn into half-days...

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                Don't drink with people I work with EVER....something about "loose lips (theirs or mine) sinks ships"..
                                                                                                When I drink I'm me -you may not like me, however, you will get to know me - this I dont' share in the workplace.
                                                                                                Plenty of fun to be had elsewhere..where I can be free and have others feel free also.

                                                                                              2. When I was working at a graphics shop in Silicon Valley in the early '70s, I'd have a beer at lunch almost every day. Then on Fridays we'd all go out somewhere, either pick up sandwiches, wine and beer and picnic in a park, or go to a restaurant or deli and get drinks or even jugs of wine. Then at 4 o'clock the boss would give one of us some money and we'd run to the store for a couple of six-packs. One Friday we were pushing hard to get a catalog done, so we had the briefest of lunches - just one beer each with the sandwiches - and didn't get any more until five o'clock. We continued working and drinking until about ten, when we wrapped it up … and then the boss took us out for pizza AND BEER. As a co-worker and I were driving home (!) we calculated we'd had about a gallon and a half each that day.

                                                                                                But I was in my early Thirties then. Now I can have a glass of wine or two, if it's an Occasion, but if I were to drink like I did in my Sunnyvale days it'd kill me.

                                                                                                1. i worked for almost 10 years for 8 attorneys, all male, and it was a holiday when we DIDN'T drink at lunch. Alright, not every day, but there were many, many days where lunch turned into happy hour turned into cabbing it home at midnight (since we were all in the same boat it was ok to show up hungover the next day, long as you showed up), and we had a shot glass collection that was pretty impressive. This was not in the 50s, this was 3 years ago. I miss those days, but i couldn't do it now, have become unaccustomed. that said, if i were out with co-workers and someone else ordered a glass, i'd have no problem ordering one or two also. That would be my limit for lunch these days. but, sadly, it never even comes up. bunch of busy bees all working through lunch!

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                    A lot of law firms are like that. I remember visiting a friend at his law office and picking up a coffee cup to get coffee for my self and it smelled like old tequila. Apparently, Friday afternoons were spent drinking in the office or offsite. I temped at law offices and there were always bottles of wine in the fridge. Whenever, my friend invited me to lunch he and his colleagues ordered more booze than I've seen ordered at dinner. Eventually, my friend ended up in rehab. As for me I am allowed to drink at lunch, but don't, too many bad memories for me.

                                                                                                    1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                                                      yeah, i've worked at probably 10 different firms in my lifetime, and that one took the cake. the one i work for now, the first day i opened the fridge and found it stocked with wine, and opened the cabinets and found them stuffed to the gills with quarts of booze i thought I'd come home again - but no, it was all leftover from their client holiday party. good thing, too, i probably couldn't take that lifestyle anymore. i still meet up with those guys 3-4 times a year (even tho everyone's gone their separate ways) and it's a ridiculous debauched fest of excess every time.

                                                                                                  2. Never. Zero tolerance. I too am surprised people work where it is allowed.

                                                                                                    1. In my experience, this was more common in the 1980s-'90s. We'd go out for lunch, people would order a glass of wine, and no one thought anything about it.

                                                                                                      These days, it's a semi-miracle if the people in my office actually leave their desk for lunch, let alone have a drink!

                                                                                                      1. When I was teaching at a (public) high school in France, the teachers' tables in the cafeteria were supplied with pitchers of red and white wine, plentifully refilled. We also got baskets of lovely fresh bread, bowls of good butter, and ever-changing selections of cheese, all just there on the table, whether you actually ordered lunch or not. It was faaaaantastic, and no one's work seemed to suffer.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: tracytrace

                                                                                                          That sounds like the happiest place on earth (except the teaching in a public high school part).

                                                                                                        2. PaulF,
                                                                                                          Once; went to a local sportsbar for lunch w/one of my employees. We each had 1 beer w/lunch. Unfortunately, my boss and cohorts flew in that day around lunchtime and chose the same place for lunch...BUSTED, but not fired. I learned quickly and never done it since.
                                                                                                          Hammy

                                                                                                          1. Back in the 80s and 90s alcohol in the workplace wasn't uncommon, but I can only remember a couple of times it made an impression. (I'm 52.) Once when I was in my late 20s and a very-much loved boss took two of us out to lunch to tell us she was leaving the start-up company we worked for. It was a very stressful work environment, the three of us split a bottle of wine and between being very upset and slighlty tipsy, I was pretty much useless the rest of the day. Years later a similarly great boss got forced out because of corporate re-org and I took the folks who worked for me out to tell them what was going on - and I had a glass of wine just to calm down.

                                                                                                            One of my favorite drink/work memories: The first company I mentioned used to get a case of beer in most Friday afternoons around 5. (This was back around '86.) A bottle a person, there was no possibility of anyone getting wasted. One Friday I had a huge backlog of work and I took the beer back to my desk, drank about a quarter of it, and got back into the project - left about 8 that night.

                                                                                                            Next Monday, I'd just gotten in, found the stale beer on my desk. My office was right next to the front entrance. I was just walking out to go to the kitchen to get rid of it when the owner walked in with a hugely important client he was trying to pitch. Having an employee walk smack into her at 9 AM with a beer in her hand did NOT make a great impression.

                                                                                                            1. I have retired twice for about 8 years, in Mexico, Provo, and Florida, and a breakfast beer in my hammock was fairly common. Even little veggo (my avatar, with update to come) looked forward to a few licks.
                                                                                                              Alas, I have been lured back into the working world again, and mid-day tippling would be WAY, WAY unthinkably out of bounds.

                                                                                                              1. Thought this news piece interesting and relevant - Riot police in France are threatening to strike over a new government ban on drinking alcohol while on duty.
                                                                                                                http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europ...

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                                                                                                                1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                  Maybe inspector Clouseau wasn't a fool after all, just a clumsy drunk?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                    LOL - case solved Inspector Veggo!

                                                                                                                2. Being a mental health & addictions counselor at an inpatient treatment facility, no, I do not drink at lunch on a workday! I don't even ever go to the bar across the street after work either, lest my clients see me.

                                                                                                                  1. Yes i have. Depends on where I'm working at and what my schedule is like. I work in computer software and gaming (engineering). So rarely have meetings and never meet with the public. One job was very boring, so we had a group of people that would eat lunch out together and we'd always have a drink or two. Some jobs were to hectic to even have lunch.Some jobs were so frustrating we'd sneak out for a "coffee" break, or have a drink at lunch.

                                                                                                                    All of the places I've worked at have had a beer fridge for all. Usually the beers were drunk after 4-5 when you knew you'd be there for awhile working late and didn't want to feel like you had some sort of life.

                                                                                                                    But never when I have a busy schedule or meetings.

                                                                                                                    1. I work in sales, so pretty frequently. If a customer who is in town to tour our plant wants to have a cocktail, we have a cocktail. My workday is mostly finished by lunch anyway though, I handle european accounts and they are closed for business by the time I get back from lunch anyway.

                                                                                                                      1. Now, only very occasionally, one or at the absolute max 2 drinks (say, at a celebration) and then I'm mad at myself when I do because I always ALWAYS get a headache and feel cruddy for the rest of the day. It seems to hit way harder in the afternoon.
                                                                                                                        Back in the day (my first serious job was in SF in the mid-80s), every chance I got (and believe me, there were chances).
                                                                                                                        On weekends/vacation, almost always.

                                                                                                                        1. Never for me. I'm a 30-something marketing manager at a big company in Atlanta, and it's an immediate firing if you're caught. Just not worth it , as much as I'd love a glass of wine or a beer some days when I'm out for a good lunch. I've seen people walked out for lesser infractions, so it's not even worth consideration. And that's been the policy everywhere I've ever worked except for a small German company where there was beer in the breakroom fridge...however we never partook until "Feierabend" (happy hour), which commenced at 5:00 on the dot.

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                                                                                                                          1. re: jboeke

                                                                                                                            Not even applicable since I eat lunch at my desk. Sadly, I have so little tolerance for alcohol these days that if I have a drink at lunch on my day off I have to go take a nap.

                                                                                                                          2. I think because of this very topic, I was influenced to order a drink at lunch yesterday. It has probably been 15 years since I've had a Chivas and soda and it was deslish; I don't know why I ever stopped. Just the one drink wasn't enough to make me sleepy, and whatever buzz it gave me went away with the meal. In fact, I was surprised that I was even more productive in the afternoon.

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                                                                                                                            1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                              I'd heard anecdotally that Sir Winston Churchill 'dosed' himself and administered micro-increments of scotch throughout the day, for maximum efficiency. Taken like aspirin, when the world is one's headache :-). My apologies to our british friends, if I've erred in this retelling...

                                                                                                                              1. re: silence9

                                                                                                                                I would question the validity of "micro-increments" - hehe.

                                                                                                                              2. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                Graydon -- your post made me happy.

                                                                                                                                This thread was somewhat depressing to me until I saw your post.

                                                                                                                                Thank you. I'm truly happy you enjoyed your drink..

                                                                                                                                  1. Office celebrations only; like new business accounts, promotions, retirement parties, even new baby announcements and golden birthdays. Otherwise, no booze @ work.

                                                                                                                                    1. Never. Ever. I am an attorney with the federal government. I believe I would get written up for doing so. However, I could completely function if I had one beer or glass of wine at lunch, so I'm not defending the culture, but no, totally no.

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: Raids

                                                                                                                                        Hi raids, not that I'm doubting your firm no on this subject (and I respect it) but during the course of my work week I see an awful lot of attorney's fed & otherwise drinking at lunch. The courthouse crowd is always at the watering hole a few days a week. Some of the DEA guys I know def. drink during the work week.

                                                                                                                                        I know the stigma associated with drinking during the work week have changed considerably in the last decade (for all sorts of reasons) but I think the type of work we do can play a part. While I'm not a big drinker, if I turned down a celebratory drink with clients, I'd be looked upon as the odd gal out for sure.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                          It's really funny - my office is full of raging lushes at happy hour, and that's no problem, but truly hardly anybody drinks anything at lunch. I've seen it once, when it was the person's birthday. Again, it's not a policy I really agree with, but it's definitely there.

                                                                                                                                          And I get you - no way could my sister, in sales, turn down drinks with her clients either.

                                                                                                                                      2. Never ever. A firing offense.

                                                                                                                                        Times change from when my father advised Dubonnet on the rocks as a good option for getting through a business lunch.

                                                                                                                                        . I work in an industry where wining and dining clients to close deals is now prohibited, so the people who used to partake as part of their work milieu no longer do so.

                                                                                                                                        . It's a part of daily life to hear about companies being held liable for their employees' behavior. Alcohol is not permitted at our company-sponsored events, not even celebratory dinners out, partly in response to that liability.

                                                                                                                                        There are still places that break out the beer for all at 3:00pm on a Friday, but my company went with a fitness center, mini-clinic, bank, coffee shop & day care facility on site instead. I don't miss the suds.

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: KTFoley

                                                                                                                                          Most of the high pressure commission sales people I know generally fall into two cats: totally off the booze now or still nursing their drink at the last call of the evening. I agree about recent company liability and new policy/new position but in some professions what is said on paper and what is happening week wide can be diff.

                                                                                                                                        2. I decided to update this post from three years ago.

                                                                                                                                          I haven't changed jobs, but there has been quite a bit of turnover in my office, there really isn't anyone left other than me and a couple of others from when I started this topic.

                                                                                                                                          Also, an upscale chain restaurant that serves beer and wine has opened up in our complex, though not in our building.

                                                                                                                                          As a result, I'd say I now work with 8-10 people who might order a drink at lunch, including people higher on the org chart than I am. So, the vibe has changed and I'm wondering if it's just become more common to take a drink at lunch.

                                                                                                                                          In my case, it's definitely not a once a day thing or even a once a week thing. It's a beer at lunch once or twice a month at most thing. In fact, some of my newer co-workers are more frequent imbibers than I am at lunch, who also occasionally have more than one beer at lunch. It just doesn't seem to be a big deal.

                                                                                                                                          Indulged on a bourbon and soda today and got to wondering about this thread. And -- I must say -- it tasted really good.

                                                                                                                                          (Now, lunch break is over and I've got to get back to the grind. I'm feeling really productive as a matter of fact.)

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                                                                                                                                          1. re: PaulF

                                                                                                                                            I just read this thread for the first time. I can only remember having a beer at lunch only a few times.

                                                                                                                                            Paul, I am curious as to what sort of business or insustry it is that you work?

                                                                                                                                            (I have watched Mad Men and I firmly believe the drinking on the show is a huge exaggeration.)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: PaulF

                                                                                                                                              I work in tech in the bay area, mostly in start ups. Drinking at lunch happens a lot. It's always been this way. Unless it's crunch time and you eat lunch at your desk.

                                                                                                                                            2. When I used to work at university with academics, it was very common to have a couple bottles (white and red) at lunch off campus. Working private sector in NYS not so much (read never.)

                                                                                                                                              1. If I drank at lunch I would just want to go home after the first beer.I save drinking for after work. I drink everyday.

                                                                                                                                                1. Once in a blue moon either with my boss or when he's on vacation.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I am a high school teacher, and between that and my twenty-minute lunch period, you can probably imagine that no drinking happens during my lunch period. I'm lucky to chew everything! However, even on professional development days when there are no students present and I have the opportunity to go out to eat with my colleagues for a true lunch hour, I don't enjoy a drink. Perhaps it's just my part of the country (the Midwest), but I would feel out of place and frowned upon. On the other hand, I have never seen a group of people bring so much alcohol or drink so freely on work trips. Oh, the stories that would lend themselves to blackmail were I not also suspect! As you can probably tell, and as others have said of themselves, I make up for it once my work duties are done for the day and/or week.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Never. Odds are my "lunch break" was a quick walk to the good coffee shop and back.

                                                                                                                                                      Now, half days when we get out at 1pm there is often a group of us who will get lunch and drinks but no one goes back to the office.

                                                                                                                                                      I'm a cheap date so i don't drink much, maybe twice a week a glass or two of wine in the evening. Once in a while a bloody mary at brunch which usually means i'm heading home for a nap afterwards.

                                                                                                                                                      I work in a creative field and what stories i have heard about other companies include drugs more often than alchohol.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I have a question of my own--what's the big deal? If you want a drink of liquor at lunch, have a drink. If doing so puts you in fear for your job, then don't. Simple as that.

                                                                                                                                                        1. If I had all the money I've spent on drink...

                                                                                                                                                          ....I'd spend it on drink.

                                                                                                                                                          But seriously, I am a free-lance translator and would never consider having a drink at lunch unless it was a lunch meeting with a client who was having a drink.

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                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AdamD

                                                                                                                                                                  See, I'd rather have a beer or two with my noon meal than at the end of the day when it's time to go home. My drink of choice during weeknights is usually water, maybe a glass of wine occasionally with a nice steak.

                                                                                                                                                                  Most of the responses on this thread seem to be on the order of "i won't have a drink at lunch because people will think I'm an alcoholic and I'll be fired". I find that sad. People in this country should be allowed a little more joy in their day-to-day lives. That is one of the hallmarks of a civilized society. Clearly, the corporate ant farm model is winning the day.

                                                                                                                                                            1. I would never drink at lunch simply because of the perception.

                                                                                                                                                              I would never want someone to see me drinking during the workday or with alcohol on my breath. Even if I am always drinking responsibly, someone could see you and think otherwise

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                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                                                    Those who work in the Human Resources department care.

                                                                                                                                                                1. EVERY DAY! I'm retired for almost 16 years. I drink a glass of V8 juice with a few drops of homemade hot sauce. The hot sauce is made from home grown ripe ghost pepper chiles (bhut jolokia), vinegar and salt. Just a few drops of my hot sauce could start a charcoal grill fire.

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                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                    So where does the booze add in to this drink?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                      At 5 p.m. I like Irish Whiskey on the rocks. Of course, I'm at home.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                        Thus my confusion.... you're having your booze neither at work nor at lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                          Nor related to being retired. I was thinking there'd be some vodka or something w/ the v8 drink.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. I'm English and lived in New Orleans for 25 years so OF COURSE I drink at lunch! I do think though that if I was drinking with my boss a lunch I might limit it to one drink to look very disciplined.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. By day, I'm a part time freelance IT guy, but rented space as a tenant within an ad agency for several years. If I took lunch with some of the creative guys from the agency, we'd all have a drink or two or three. If I have to be in my office for something (but am not actually working), then I'll often have a drink in the office while watching television or reading. Some of the creative guys at the agency have mini fridges of beer in their office and one guy even has a mini bar in his area. Downstairs, there is a kegerator, all sorts of liquor, and a fridge full of champagne, mixers, wine, etc. Oh yeah, there was a cocktail bar next door that we'd sometimes have impromptu "meetings" at too. That being said, people there work hard and you weren't wandering around drunk. The booze usually didn't get flowing unless it was later in the afternoon and usually towards the end of the week.
                                                                                                                                                                      If I'm at a client site then no, I generally don't drink because I don't know what their alcohol policies are.

                                                                                                                                                                      At night, I bar back part-time and the booze definitely flows there.

                                                                                                                                                                      Brain surgeons, elementary school teachers, limo drivers, and the like - I get the no alcohol thing. But I feel for people who work office jobs and want to enjoy a glass of wine with their lunch but can't due to company policy. More than a few times, I've received the "Man, I wish I was allowed to have a beer right now" comment from the table next to me when I was out to lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. If I drink at lunch I'll fall asleep by 3pm, so i usually abstain, or make lunch last the rest of the afternoon and keep drinking. That's rare though, maybe once a year.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I generally don't in my current job. Solo atty. I work thru lunch. When I have lunch with friends and acquaintances a few times a month, typically not because I have to get back to work and be productive. However, it's acceptable in these circles to drink and the personal injury lawyers always do. (Because why not I guess, they work all the time but it's a fluid sort of schedule). In a business setting, corporate people don't and generally cannot. I live in KC, and it's pretty puritanical around here.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. I think it comes down to issues of age and metabolism.

                                                                                                                                                                            Lunch back then.....
                                                                                                                                                                            First job out of grad school in 1975, we'd all pile into the car, load up a couple of bowls, smoke all the way up to The Wagon Wheel, have a Scotch or bourbon while awaiting our cheese steaks and fries with a couple of beers, get back in the car, pass around another couple of bowls on the way back, arrive in the parking lot, pass around the Visine and Binaca and go back to work.

                                                                                                                                                                            Lunch today.... I haven't smoked pot since the 90's, fruit and cottage cheese are preferred and one beer will have me asleep in six minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                            Ahhhh....the good old days.

                                                                                                                                                                            CP

                                                                                                                                                                            P.S. And I kept that job for 12 years.

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                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chefpaulo

                                                                                                                                                                              < I think it comes down to issues of age and metabolism.>
                                                                                                                                                                              Yep. By 27/28 I was done with drinks at lunch because it made both me, and the day, drag on.

                                                                                                                                                                              Way back when, a few weeks into my first full-time job out of college, I went with work friends to a small bar/restaurant for our usual Thursday/ Friday drinking lunch. We sat at the bar next to a few people in scrubs, presumably from the nearby hospital, who were laughing uproariously while looking at an x-ray. When they left the bartender gave the x-ray to us…a broken penis. My male co-workers sobered up fast that day.