Do you want a bar in your workplace?

Taking the question of how much does your workplace affect creativity in a new direction, the folks at Janelia Farm, a biomedical research lab, have a pub in their office. Complete with ping pong, beer and coffee.

You can watch a short interview about the pub and some of the employees opinions about it:

The ideal situation is an office on a street with a few pubs and restaurants close by. Then you get the best of both worlds, as the people running the pubs will do what they do best. Trying to create a pub atmosphere inside the bureaucracy and limitations of a large organization is a tough road. Of course many offices are in remote locations, miles from their nearest pub. They have no choice but to try and create a space for workers to socialize themselves.

Seattle’s own Substantial has a fully stocked bar in their office. And a fair number of rising start-ups in the SF bay area do as well.

Would you want a pub in your office? Why or why not?

6 Responses to “Do you want a bar in your workplace?”

  1. A. Nony Mouse

    Those of us who don’t drink find the idea of a bar at work very stressful.

    1. Scott

      But wouldn’t you have a big advantage in divisive meetings if they were drunk and you were sober?

  2. Norm Fletcher

    I used to own a small agency in Minneapolis. Our six-story building tenants were comprised of a varied mix, include several photographers and artists. We beer via a (free) vending machine, a pool table, dart board and 8-Ball Deluxe pinball machine. The team could chill anytime they felt so inclined and we had many “open bar” Fridays (at 3 p.m) for the entire building. I think it certainly helped creativity and comradery.

  3. Mike Nitabach

    I am a visiting scientist at Janelia Farm and spend about three or four days per month there. The way Bob’s Pub was described by those three scientists who were interviewed in the video is exactly my experience as well.

    Two other things that contribute to it being an effective social center of Janelia Farm that weren’t mentioned: The staff who work in Bob’s are really friendly and get to know people’s names. The food is very good.

    Frequently when I arrive for a visit, it is late in the evening, and so I show up and go immediately to Bob’s for a drink and something to eat. There are always people around to talk to and so after travel (sometimes cross-country), getting to Bob’s for food, drink, and conversation feels like coming home.

  4. Jason

    I like the fact that it makes it harder for a policy change to dry up the office without warning, but unfortunately it will discriminate against folks with the alcoholism gene in their family tree.

    I am a big proponent of teasing people for not occasionally knocking one back (there’s some amazing booze out there, you are missing out!), but I gotta respect someone for being responsible enough not to end up like their Uncle Frank/Aunt Jenny.

    Once again I’m glad I’m not in HR.

  5. Christian Ward

    Have to agree with Jason. As one whose fiance has an alcoholic ex-husband, I can see the damage the alcoholic gene can do, even in a seasoned pro with an mba who has been a functioning drinker for more than a decade. I like the idea of a looser corporate culture but also defend those who do not like to drink.

    By the way, you might want to look up the use of affect/effect used in your first sentence.


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