Thanks to new hybrid and full remote work situations, employees around the Big Apple are toting their laptops, headsets and chargers to restaurants, where they’re meeting up with friends and getting happy hour started — while still on the clock.
These days, it’s common to overhear lines like, “Wait, what do you mean they don’t have WiFi here?!” or “I have to go, my laptop battery is dying” as New York’s most dedicated wash down bougie brainfood with mimosas, espresso martinis and other relaxing cocktails.
“We see a lot of ‘three-hour meetings’ that tend to start at 11 a.m. on Mondays and Fridays especially, which I take are the big work-from-home days,” Michael Griffin, owner of local franchise the Crooked Knife bar and restaurant, which offers 90-minute bottomless mimosa brunches on weekdays, told The Post.
Those are the two days Danielle Bessette, a 31-year-old corporate retail worker who lives in the Financial District, gets to work remotely — occasionally cutting loose in the process.
“Friday is the day I most have to myself. When it’s nice out I’m almost never working in my apartment,” Bessette said while sipping a fruity cocktail, laptop in-hand, at newly opened restaurant Cobblefish in the Seaport.
Bessette, who just went a month sober and powered through an intense time at work, added that she feels having a drink on the clock isn’t a problem as long she’s on top of her job.
Other places near her, like brunch mainstay Hole in the Wall on Cliff Street are seeing tippling work-from-homers daily, according to general manager Liam Barillaro.
“They don’t seem to think it’s a big deal to be doing it and it seems like their bosses wouldn’t be too bugged by it either judging by [customers’] demeanor,” he said. “Sometimes we’ll be cheeky and help them out by moving mimosas out of frame or deliberately pour a glass of just orange juice while they’re on their Zoom calls.”
And it’s become such a fad because workers almost have to go out of their way to get caught, according to the egg-scape artists themselves.
“You can bring your computer to brunch . . . You want to stay on your phone to make sure it’s not blowing up, but my job is pretty low key,” FiDi resident Sara S. — who declined to give her last name, but said she works in an all-remote sales position at a tech startup — told The Post over an espresso martini-filled weekday brunch at Hole in the Wall.
She, along with her dining companion Ashton W., were both burning the midday oil last Thursday when Ashton got short notice about a meeting with her supervisor.
Ashton, 24 — who came prepared with a headset and laptop — started a frantic search for WiFi, before resorting to using her phone as a hot spot. She wasn’t sure how it would work out: “We’ll see,” she joked, “you might be here for me getting fired.”
But the duo and their accompanying friends were quick to admit that being on the young side — along with working junior positions — made them feel that nobody would even notice they were gone.
“I’m not too important yet,” Sara joked, adding that she could just dash to her nearby apartment in the event of a work emergency.
Sure enough, the next day another group of 20-somethings were crowded around the next table over, online but paying their jobs very little mind.
“It’s Friday. We’re allowed to live a little, plus we’re usually done with our work by noon anyway so we get left alone,” Hourani said, around the same time her pal, Spencer S., a consultant, had to scramble from their table because his laptop battery suddenly went kaput.
In the West Village, popular places like Jane on Houston Street also see an influx of weekday brunchers, such as NYU employees Christopher Griffin, 33, and Robert Taylor Jr., 26, who enjoyed a meal together, accompanied by a Champagne toast.
“It’s been a long week for us and we’re talking business, so it counts,” Griffin, who lives in Crown Heights, said with a laugh, adding that he’s particularly glad to have opportunities for “intimate gatherings” again with pandemic restrictions lifted.
Even those who aren’t sneaking out of the actual — or virtual — office are hopping on the weekday brunch bandwagon, like a group of former colleagues who worked together in Forest Hills.
“This is like the weekend for us because we’re all on different work schedules now,” said Lisa Rosado, 24, a receptionist from Sheepshead Bay at Carnegie Diner on Thursday morning.