Today’s ad industry is very different from the old one. In this new world, paper and ink have given way to screens and software. Our predecessors used to speak in terms of universal selling propositions and mass markets, but now we use jargon like pay-per-click, engagement, and brand content.
But our need to socialize, gossip and blow off steam after dealing with clients and data all day has remained relatively unchanged. Perhaps this is why New York “Mad Men”-era favorites like Keen’s Steak House (72 W. 36th St.) and P.J. Clarkes (915 3rd Ave.) are still open after more than a century in business.
The new advertising companies have established their own hangouts, however. Digital media agency Morpheus Media is drawn to dive bars like The Black Door (127 W. 26th St.) and The Hog Pit (37 W. 26th St.) near its Chelsea offices. “The Black Door is right below our office and is the closest place you can go to get a drink,” says Morpheus’ Marketing and PR coordinator, Paige Ferrante.
The Digitas team prefers Desmond’s Tavern (433 Park Ave. South). “This is an old school joint that still feels a little bit dirty, and the bartender has both a wonderful brogue and a heavy arm,” says Ryan Griffin, Vice President/Group Director of Media. Conor Hogan, a copywriter, concurs. “If you want a PBR tallboy or a hefty pour of whiskey after work, Desmond’s Tavern is your place.”
Another favorite is the bar at Primehouse (381 Park Ave. South), located just a block and a half from Digitas. “You can people watch through the smoked glass on Park Avenue South while you hang out, and extra points if you spot Matt D’Ercole, our Executive Director of Creative who once described Primehouse as his ‘office,’” reports Noah Mallin, VP/Group Director of Social Media.
Wade Rifkin, VP/Media Director for Digitas, prefer Idle Hands (25 Avenue B) and TheChurchill (45 E 28th St.). “Churchill is a new spot right by the office with great ambience and a laid-back after work crowd. It’s actually a homage to Churchill himself, with his actual speeches broadcast in various nooks around the bar,” says Wade.
Digitas’ Amie Green likes nearby Taproom (3 W.18th St.) as well as Pipa (38 E. 19th St.). “Pipa has great wine, the décor is so rich and cozy and it is far enough away from the office to freely gossip,” Amie says. Maurice Jennings reports that a lot of the staff has been hanging out at Mason Jar (43 E. 30th St.) lately. “The happy hour is great, it doesn’t get too crowded, and it’s removed from the fratty Murray Hill bars,” says Maurice.
The digital ad company Undertone prefers Park Avenue Tavern (99 Park Ave.). As Lindsay Swanson, Public Relations Manager for Undertone, points out, “We love it here because we know the staff and the tables downstairs have self-serve taps!” Ben Kartzman, CEO of Spongecell, concurs. “Park Avenue Tavern is close to our office and we often see folks from other media companies there.”
Adam Eldridge, Director of East Coast Sales at MediaBrix, prefers Lower East Side Chinese restaurant Congee Village (100 Allen St.). “It’s off the radar but my clients friggin’ love that place,” he says. Melissa Beck, also a Director of East Coast Sales for MediaBrix, prefers Naked Lunch (17 Thompson St.) and adds “It’s always a hit and close to Horizon Media and MediaStorm.”
CEO Jonah Goodhart and his team at Moat favor Lillie’s (13 E. 17th St.) and Rye Bar (11 W. 17th St.). Moat (126 5th Ave.) itself has a lounge with a fully stocked bar and welcomes anyone that wants to stop by for a drink.
Alan Pearlstein, CEO of Cross Pixel Media, says that his team usually finds themselves at Rudy’s Bar and Grill (627 9th Ave.) near their Madison Square Garden location. “They have cheap drinks and free Hebrew National hot dogs. How can you resist a free hot dog?” Alan asks.
On the other hand, the women of Glam Media (OK, there’s a few men on the team, too) can be found at places like The Standard (848 Washington St.). And after too many nights out they like to get in shape together at Soul Cycle (12 E. 18th St.) and Fly Wheel (39 W. 21st St.).
Mobile Theory’s CEO Scott Swanson notes that his team has a number of favorites around the city, including the Joseph Leonard (170 Waverly Place), Lartusi (228 W.10th St.), ApothekeBar (9 Doyers St.), and BeautyandEssex (146 Essex St.).
Verifone Media’s Jason Gross has a special fondness for Norwood (241 W. 14th St.). “A group of serial entrepreneurs I know routinely host events at this private club in Chelsea. If not for these parties, I would literally not be where I am today.”
James Smith, Chief Revenue Officer at Flixster, says that he and his fellow Warner ad sales pros prefer midtown spots like FacesandNames (159 W. 54th St.), TheLondon (151 W. 54th St.) and, during warmer weather, the terrace at TheDreamHotel (210 W. 55th St.). All of these bars are close to media agencies like MEC and Mediavest.
For smaller groups of two or three people, Smith reports that Knave (118 W. 57th St.), located inside Le Parker Meridian hotel, is a good spot, although “it’s a bit dark and you might end up sharing a love seat with a colleague -- so not a good choice for a meeting with your boss.”
And if you want to find colleagues from MediaMath, Peer39, Admeld, TagMan and Demdex all rolling together, check out #manninodrinks on Twitter. The group meets monthly at Swift’s Hibernian Lounge (34 E. 4th St.) in the East Village. “We all work in midtown or Flatiron and we wanted a different neighborhood,” says MediaMath’s RVP of Sales East Mark Mannino.
Every ad company, it seems, has its own special place. Where does your team like to hang out?