15 Favorite Agency Watering Holes Around the Country
Here's Where Adland Goes to Blow Off Steam After Work
But what about where they congregate after hours in town? That all depends on where in the country they're based. As Courtney Beuchert, CEO of Eleven in San Francisco put it: "Maybe every agency since the Mad Men era has it's bar -- somewhere nearby that feels like home (if home had cool people, music, booze and the feeling that something crazy could happen if you stay too long)."
We asked execs around the country where they like to gather to blow off steam after a tough new business pitch or to celebrate the latest account win. Here's what they had to say.
Chicago: The Hubbard Inn
"The Hubbard Inn is a place ad folks like to gather to lick wounds, celebrate triumphs and ponder the fact that even though everything else in the business has changed, focus groups are still around." -- Jim Schmidt, Creative Director/Partner, Downtown Partners
Los Angeles: The Gaslight
"The Gaslight is a great dive in Santa Monica. Freakish folks doing karaoke in a dimly lit den full of worn down red booths. It's a good place to start out the night if you're old, or end if you're young." -- Jason Sperling, RPA
St. Louis: Three Sixty Rooftop Bar
"St. Louis colleagues enjoy going down the street to Three Sixty to enjoy a cold Kraftig and view a Cardinals baseball game from the rooftop bar." -- Susan Veidt, President-U.S. Central Region/General Manager, FleishmanHillard
"Boston is full of culture and stories, so as an agency redefining storytelling for the always-on world, we enjoy bars and restaurants that tell a story. For team building and after work drinks with co-workers, Clery's is our watering hole. For client lunches and meetings, our go-to spots are the Salty Pig in the Back Bay and Oak Long Bar + Kitchen (the new Oak room)." -- Chris Davey, Senior VP/Managing Director, SapientNitro (Boston office).
New York: Anotheroom
"Our favorite local bar is Anotheroom, especially in the summertime. There's a few picnic tables out front and you'll frequently find creative teams brainstorming over a beer or two in the early evenings, and inside it's dark and cozy, perfect for cold nights. The spendy runner-up is Brandy Library, the nicest bar in Tribeca." -- Benjamin Palmer, CEO and Co-founder, The Barbarian Group
Minneapolis: The Local
"Like most Irish pubs, The Local has got great beer. It's loud and relaxed. And it's the type of place you can stand around with a big glass of beer in your hand and bark about your day without feeling like you're disturbing anyone." -- Mike Fetrow, Executive Creative Director, Olson
Atlanta: Seven Lamps
"For the first couple of years after setting up shop, we didn't have special spot - so we went on a hunt to find one that had character and that fit our company culture. We now hold our informal Thirsty Thursday activities at Seven Lamps in Buckhead whenever we can: The bar has a fantastic patio where you can hear the life of neighborhood around you. It boasts a great mixologist, so the cocktails are always fresh and fun to try. And the off-menu burger – shhh!- is absolutely delicious. We also know two of their servers, John and Jonathan, through friends, and we like to support our friends by bringing these guys business." -- Ashley Grice, Managing Director, Iris(Atlanta)
San Francisco: The Irish Bank
"At Eleven, we're lucky to be attached to our bar -- The Irish Bank. It's off an alley next to our building, it feels like it's underground and it could easily be in Dublin rather than San Francisco. On hot days, the whole agency works from the outdoor tables, we jointly host music and all of our agency parties start there or end up there. Written in chalk on the wall in the men's room is a sign that declares themselves, "The safest bank in the world". No wonder I keep pouring all my money in there." -- Courtney Buechert, CEO, Eleven Inc.
Miami: The Broken Shaker
"The Broken Shaker in Miami Beach. A lot of CP+B'ers hang out there. It's a really cool, low key, outdoor bar in The Indian Hotel." -- Russell Dodson, Sr Copywriter, CP&B
Richmond: Sam Miller's
"Smack dab in the middle of historic Shockoe Slip in Richmond, VA is a place known for its oysters. But when we venture across the cobblestone street from The Martin Agency to Sam Miller's, it's certainly not for the bivalves, it's for the beer. Or mixed drinks. Or in the case of Wade Alger, our creative director on GEICO, a chilled glass of Chardonnay. At any given time, you will find a young creative with a dark drink in hand, two account managers reliving their latest client call and someone from the executive team ordering the next round of drinks. Three pints of Terrapin means the day has been successful, three glasses of merlot means it's been long. The bar makes good days better and bad ones manageable. And when Nate, our longtime bartender, pours our drinks before we've even entered the door? That doesn't hurt either." -- Katie Walsh, Account Supervisor, The Martin Agency
Washington DC: Off the Record
"Unlike most haunts in DC, the Off the Record [bar] at the Hay Adams is ideal for quiet conversation and deal making." -- Nick Ragone, Director, Ketchum (DC)
"After a long day at the office you do have to gear up a little for the almost-always crowded bar at Linger, but the good thing is - the wait is worth it. The crowd is mostly all young professionals - great for casual networking, checking out the latest styles and hearing local Denver gossip. Delicious (and interesting) cocktails, as well as a great local beer and wine selection are the perfect way to wrap up a day at the office. The bar food is street-food style tapas which is perfect for sharing with co-workers, friends or a date (is very popular for that too!), and the wait-staff are funky, cool and without any attitude (a wonderful change after "one of those days"). Valet parking is a plus as the area gets crowded, and the roof-top deck in summer offers some of the best views in Denver. Oh -- and the yummy spiced popcorn they hand out for free is another big plus!" -- Felicity Coye, Account Director, LRXD
Nashville: Patterson House
"The Patterson House, a speakeasy with eight different kinds of ice, is our go-to agency bar. It's a very good cultural fit for us -- they take their cocktail making seriously and we happen to be very serious about our cocktails." -- Kerry Graham, President, BOHAN Advertising
Indianpolis: Lockerbie Pub
"Lockerbie Pub is our favorite place to hang out after work. It's a cubbyhole that sits in Lockerbie Square, the oldest neighborhood in Indianapolis. We love it because they know our drink orders by heart and they serve the best fried pickles in town. Chances are, if you walk by the pub at night, you'll see at least one of us sitting at a window booth." -- Carolyn Hadlock, Principal/Executive Creative Director, Young & Laramore
"When we moved into our new offices almost two years ago, one of the benefits was Graze. Graze is a local bar/restaurant that is a mere five floors down, serves great local beer, good wine and some of the best fried cheese curds that Madison has to offer. The bar is comfortable, has lots windows for great light and a view of Wisconsin's Capitol building. In the winter, it's like sitting inside a snow globe. As one of our team members noted when we moved into our new space (dating herself), it's like our own Regal Beagle." -- Amy Rohn, VP/Director, Public Relations, Lindsay,Stone & Briggs
Contributing: Rupal Parekh, Alexandra Bruell, Maureen Morrison, E.J. Schultz. Photos and location data via FourSquare.