Last night I stopped by a couple of Wall Street bars to see how the other half drowns their sorrows. There were more people out than usual, despite it being a Monday and the start of Rosh Hashanah.
I went by Delmonico‘s, where two guys, one in a button-down, one dressed more casually, were drinking beer. I asked them if they planned to eat and drink differently now. (They didn’t want to give their names.)
Me: So what are you drinking?
Trader #1: Bud
Me: Is that what you always drink?
T#1: Yes. I’m not ready to do the Wall Street swam dive quite yet. He [motions to friend] got out three months ago.
T#2: [Grins] Last night I went to Momofuku Ko. Next month I’m going to French Laundry and on Wednesday, I’m going to Blue Hill.
Me: So I guess getting out of the business three months ago was a good thing to do. What do you do now?
T#2: I’m enjoying myself.
Me: Oh. So. Is this situation as bad as it seems?
T#1: This is a shitshow. This is Great Depression stuff.
Ahhh, good! Moving on. I went over to Harry’s, where the cheapest steak is $45, and where the bar was packed. There, I found another couple of guys in suits, these ones were drinking scotch.
Me: So what are you hearing? Do people want to go out drinking? Are they thinking about cutting back on food or drink?
Trader #3: Well, we trade in volatilities, so things are actually not so bad for us. Although I probably shouldn’t say that too loud in here.
Me: So do people want to go out and celebrate?
T#3: Well, no, it’s hard to be glad because this is bad for America.
T#4: All I want to do is go have a drink! And a nice dinner too, but first go out for a couple beers. I don’t want to sit at home.
Me: Yeah, and watch CNN.