By Ross McCammon
Because this isn't really about cocktails. It's about business.
I work at Esquire, and we drink on occasion. We drink when things need to be celebrated, contemplated, figured out--but languidly, casually, without a clear goal in mind. We drink for defined periods of time and not all that often, but we drink. We drink with each other or with people we're getting to know. We drink in the conference room. We drink at bars. We drink to build relationships, to learn things. We're not looking for an escape but the opposite of escape. We don't want to lose something but gain something--an idea or a partnership or a new way of looking at our existing ideas and partnerships. Serious stuff, if you think about it. We think drinking is good for business when done the right way. So there are rules that we've worked out from drinking, from sharing knowledge about drinking in the magazine, from being around people who know more about what we drink than we do. And the rules are like this...
You called the meeting, you get to the bar early. Even if you didn't call the meeting, you get there early. Because if you get there early, you begin defining relationships. Not only between you and the people you're meeting with, but between you and the bar itself: the cocktail waitresses, the bartenders, the guy sitting next to you. You have come to this bar for relationships. You might as well begin making them.
You can sit at the bar. But standing's better. When you stand, you are able to receive. You are on the level of those who will approach you. You're not in a position of weakness. You're in a position of authority. Or at least parity. Anyway, you got there first. So you stand and wait. With a drink.