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With fewer bankers and more patrons from the tech world, the atmosphere has become more laid back, Shioya said. After business declined following the financial crisis, Heartland began showing sporting events on its big-screen display to draw customers. Couches where well-dressed men and mini-skirted women once paired up to lounge and drink cocktails were replaced with tables and stools. “The bankers were often drinking with ladies who came here to meet foreign businessmen, who were looking to marry a wealthy banker and go overseas,” Shioya said, adding that now the women who come tend to be office workers looking to practice English. [Bloomberg]

  • 23 Nov 2011 at 12:55 PM

Tell George Soros Something He Doesn’t Know

At their best, these [pre-Thanksgiving] reunions are a chance for old friends to catch up. At their worst, they are the source of the moniker “Blackout Wednesday” in some hard-partying bars. Either way, these gatherings have made the Wednesday before Thanksgiving one of the biggest party nights of the year. “That night is even bigger than New Year’s Eve,” says James Brown, owner of San Pedro Brewing Co., a neighborhood brew pub outside Los Angeles. It’s a see-and-be-seen kind of night,” he says. “In the suburbs, the night is absolutely the biggest night of the year,” says Drew Zuccarini, manager. “That Wednesday night has grown into the pinnacle event of the holiday weekend,” says Ken Henricks of Bottleneck Management Group, which owns four Chicago-area bars. “It used to be, ‘Oh, let’s get together Wednesday because it’s convenient.’ ” Now, he says, “for a certain demographic it has become an institution.” [WSJ]