Opinion & Blogs » Punch Drunk

Punch Drunk

Of Office Parties and Familytime Drinking


1 comment

The free hors d'oeuvres are out and the bottom-shelf liquor is on the company tab — gestures meant to placate the cubicle-weary masses for their underappreciated drudgery during the previous 364 days. Mild-mannered, pleated-khaki-rocking analysts who normally are to be avoided suddenly transform into normal, well-adjusted people in a bar — wearing jeans! And I might be drunk, but is that Leanne? Leanne — wearer of bob haircuts, owner of outdated pantsuits — Leanne?

She's not looking too bad — am I right?

Yes it's holiday office party season. And who doesn't love spending their free time outside of work with people they have to see every day at work?

With that in mind, here are a few tips for the office partier in you:

Saying that you're just going to unwind with one or two cocktails so as not to embarrass yourself is perfectly acceptable — to say. Actually following that mantra goes against the spirit of office holiday parties past. Plus, that's just lame. Drink up. The cornerstone of every great office-party performance is alcohol.

It's also a good chance to get in some face time with the boss to prove that you aren't the same jackass who turns in reports a week late and uses bullshit office jargon like "paradigm shift," "action item" and "reaching out." Tell the boss about the real you — like that time you spent in Syria teaching orphans how to email, or how you were a master-class heli-skier and ballroom dancer during your formative years. What I mean is, lie about the fake you. This tip can apply to all office and personal relationships.

Lastly, remember those thoughts and comments that you keep to yourself in the office — the ones that eventually lead FBI agents to send shirtless photos? Well, let's just say that if there ever was a time to hit on your office crush, the holiday office party is the paradigm shift you've been waiting for to reach out and seal the deal on that particular action item. Wink wink.

Now go forth, party hard and give the office something that they can use to make fun of you about for years to come!


Jack's Mailbag

Hi Jack,

My two daughters, ages 28 and 30, and their 40-year-old guy cousin, all single, will be in town for Thanksgiving. They want to go out for drinks on Wednesday. I got nuthin'. Can you suggest a place?

By the way, you don't look at all like what I had pictured (last week's Style). You look way too healthy, clean cut and young. … I was actually a little disappointed.

Thanks, Terri


Thanksgiving Eve undoubtedly is one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. Like any situation in which one must spend more than 30 minutes with extended family — such as Christmas, children's birthday parties, Easter Sunday, funerals, breakfast — Thanksgiving demands an unwinding period of solitude at a bar with no fewer than five cocktails. That's basic science.

Unfortunately, Wednesday night will offer the opportunity for all who escaped the clutches of Richmond to return to the city and venture out. The neighborhood bars on South Side and the West End will fill up with people that for the most part you've managed to successfully avoid since high school. It's an awful scene of remembrance with once-thin, now pudgy, crimson-scorched people in North Face jackets. I recommend that no sane person take part in this.

Your kids' best bet will be away from the 'burbs and somewhere in Richmond proper. Here are a few recommendations (in no particular order): New York Deli, Balliceaux, the Republic, Bellytimber Tavern, Bandito's and Lady N'awlins, where I tend a few times a week. While I can't in good conscience send your 28- and 30-year-old daughters and their 40-year-old cousin anywhere near downtown, I should mention the area as it will be a mass of drunken holiday-homecoming humanity — grossly unequal to anything the Fan has to offer. Europa, Cha Cha's and the Tobacco Company generally are safe bets. Off the Hookah if the "kids" are feeling especially adventurous.

Of course during actual Thanksgiving Thursday it's better to hit bars that are in close proximity to one's house because of the preponderance of tryptophan, red wine and Valium in your system. Also, road blocks multiply during this so-called happiest time of the year, and seeing a blurry, red-and-blue festival of lights on the horizon is the best way to ruin the ol' holiday cheer — for you and others.

In regards to your comment about my health and vitality, I'm sorry to have disappointed you. A strict regimen of napping, cold creams, Tostitos brand tortilla chips, drinking my gin with soda water (not tonic) and a recent switch to filtered cigarettes have kept me impervious to the rigors of aging. And while your daughters are far past the age range that I'd consider ideal, I will accept pictures or Facebook profiles before making my ultimate decision. Never let one's credos stand in the way of sound judgment.

Thanks for writing.


Have a question for Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback? Email bartender@styleweekly.com. Lauterback also serves as co-host of 103.7-FM's "River Mornings with Melissa and Jack," weekdays from 6-9 a.m. On Twitter @jackgoesforth.