New Brunswick — “Three martini lunches” may be a dying trend for New Brunswick’s handful of wage-earners, but lunchtime drinks and the culture surrounding them are on the rise for the province’s unemployed population.
“I have one, two Alpines every day with lunch,” said Terry Jardine, a Moncton-based E.I. collector. “It’s a good way to start my day, which usually begins around noon anyways. I make a sandwich, watch The Price is Right, and just take ‘er easy. Nothin’ wrong with that.”
The story is much the same in the capital city.
“I grab a beer with my buddies at Dooly’s most weekdays around lunchtime, sure,” said Fredericton resident Harold Nordstrom, who explained that although he and his closest friends have been searching for work for months, there are no available positions to be found. “It’s good to catch up, shoot some pool, talk about the job hunt. The only difference between me and my friends is that I usually wear office clothes just in case I get called in for an interview. Stranger things have happened, right?”
Saint John, a city that boasts an excellent selection of bars, pubs and restaurants, also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the province. Keltie McKay, a server at Saint John Ale House, said out-of-work adults make up the biggest portion of her daytime customer base.
“Oh yeah, you see them pour in here around 11 and they don’t leave until they’re falling-down drunk around 4 p.m.,” she explained, while topping up a pint of Picaroons. “They never order any food — they say they can’t afford it — but these people buy tons of beer every day. I’d worry about their sobriety or lack thereof, but I don’t think many of them own cars. They tend to walk around or sit out on the boardwalk until they sober up enough to walk home.”
McKay said most restaurants on the boardwalk even offer unemployment specials at lunchtime.
“We have a host of cocktails tailored to the discerning day-drinker. We’ve got the Vodka E.I.-tini, the Between Jobs Brandy, the Pogey Pomegranate Passion, the Fired Fizz, the Jobless Julep, the Long-Idle Iced Tea, the Laid-Off Lime Mohito, and a drink I personally crafted called ‘Out-of-Work on the Beach.’
“Most people just want Alpine, though — no surprise.”