If you live or work in any US city then you know how important happy hour can be (sorry Boston). In New York City, happy hour is a sacred time to get a stiff and cheap(er) drink after having your eyes glued to a computer screen. From living and working in a city where driving is not an option, there is no reason not to participate in after work drinks or call it an early night because you have to drive home.
I have learned that just because the happy hour deals have ended doesn’t mean the drinking stops. My co-workers and I are notorious for having weekday outings where I won’t get home until 9, 10, or sometimes later. This almost always leads to a Friday morning hangover where I resort to hiding from the world (my boss) in my cubicle.
If the week has been especially busy and everyone needs to blow off a little steam, the best way to enter into a fun weekend is with a few happy hour drinks with work friends. Not only do you get to unwind and talk like real human beings outside of the office, but you also get a nice buzz after a few discounted cocktails. It’s an A1 way to get your weekend started while ballin on a budget. However, trying to seamlessly transition from happy hour to going out for a night on the town is a little trickier than one might expect.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
A good typical weekday happy hour usually lasts from 6-9, and you end up back in your apartment around 10 with a solid buzz. You make some tipsy mac and cheese, shower, and get into your pj’s ready to watch some Netflix and go to bed, all before midnight. These types of happy hours may even be considered going out on a work night.
However, a Friday happy hour is a different story. What starts out as a few innocent drinks can quickly lead into a night full of drinking that may not end until 3 a.m. But when you start drinking at 5 pm on the dot, it can be hard to pace yourself through dinner, a pregame, and a whole night of going out. It’s easy to take advantage of the cheap liquor early in the evening, but you have to be careful about not blacking out at 10 p.m. before the night really gets started. Remember, you still have 7 hours of drinking before it even turns into tomorrow. It’s nearly an art to master this type of drinking because if you get too lit early in the evening then you may get tired while everyone else is pounding their vodka sodas getting ready for the bars. Also, drinking for that long can be tiring, leave you bloated, or make your tummy upset.
Transitioning from Work to a Night Out
Let’s start with the lewk. Living and working in the same city makes it so easy to go from day to night all without ever having to go home to change. For me personally, I would not be caught dead wearing my work clothes out to the bar, especially on a Friday night. My firm requires us to wear professional clothing and my button down and trousers is not the weekend vibe I’m looking for. For those of you lucky enough to not have this dress code there are plenty of ways to make an easy day to night transition. We all know that every fashion news source loves to publish these types of articles as seen here, here, and here.
To start your day off right, choose a fashionable, but work appropriate outfit that you can accessorize or glam up for the night. I recommend packing a smaller purse, jewelry, makeup, and maybe a hair accessory in your work bag to utilize later. If you want a cuter top or different shoes for later you can also throw that in too. At the end of the day, take out all of the things you need to amp up your look for the night and for the rest of the weekend. Leave your work bag at your desk as it will be waiting for you on Monday. Just don’t forget your work badge!
Carb Up Or Throw Up
The ultimate key to a successful night is food, obviously. Say you’re having a great time with your coworkers and it starts getting later and later but closer to the time you have to meet up with friends. You still have to go home, change, do your hair, and put your face on. The last thing you’re thinking about is eating, and you convince yourself that you may not be hungry, but in reality you haven’t eaten since noon. Your alcohol-filled, empty stomach needs food if you plan on making it the rest of the night and not vomiting straight liquid.
What I’m saying is, for the love of all that is holy, eat anything, even a piece of toast. It will sustain you for the rest of the night and 3 hours from now you will thank less drunk you whole-heartedly. I myself have fallen victim to convincing myself (many times) that I’ll be fine if I don’t eat and just continue drinking into the evening. Let me just tell you that it never ends well for me. I’m still working on it.
Regardless of who is attending the happy hour and your relationship with them, it is best to keep the drink count to a maximum of 2-3 drinks. You don’t want to accidentally say something you didn’t mean to, divulge information sober you isn’t comfortable with sharing, or get too drunk and be known as “that girl”. It is always better to play it on the safe side, especially when you never know what may happen later in the evening.
Liquor of Choice
Another important factor for withstanding a night of drinking is your alcohol of choice. If you planned a night out with friends, but want to have a few drinks to celebrate the end of another miserable five day work week, choose your alcohol wisely. Don’t start pounding hard liquor as soon as you break free from your cubicle. Stick to something lighter like beer, cider, or wine and pace yourself. No need to have more than 3 drinks when you know that stronger alcohol will be flowing through your system in no time.
It’s not a sprint to the finish, it’s a long distance run. Even if you think you can handle it, try to stray away from mixing alcohol at a happy hour because that will only inch you closer to blackout stage. It is not cute to be wasted in front of your coworkers, I repeat, not cute.
From personal experience, the occasions where I’ve mixed different alcohols without eating have led to me PTFO-ing so hard. Like I am talking still wearing work clothes with all of my lights on, planking my bed type of PTFO. I have woken up at 4 a.m. very confused and almost always have some sort of random leg bruising that is unaccounted for. I have yet to learn the lessons of my ways…oops.
Drinking and New York City go hand in hand. When you’re not eating here, you’re probably drinking here. Since the bars here never close, nightlife is not for the faint of heart and if you don’t map out your night properly then you could be in deep trouble. I certainly have been too ambitious with my alcohol consumption to sustain a full night out and have had to call it quits early on.
If you have any tips or tricks that you use to keep the party going from 5pm on let me know in the comments!