Kevin Roose, author of "Young Money," trailed several young college graduates in finance for three years. Credit: Kevin Roose
Kevin Roose, author of "Young Money" and writer for New York Magazine, spent three years following eight first- and second-year bankers at companies like Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. During that time, Roose gained access to the world of Wall Street, and even crashed a top secret Wall Street fraternity's induction ceremony.
Roose talked to Metro about where young bankers in New York like to party, and shared some insider info on the "Young Money" social scene.
Where are the young Wall Streeters partying these days?
They don’t have a lot of time and they have money, but they’re not buying bottles at 1 Oak, so they mostly stick close to where their apartments are and where their work is – most people are in Midtown, except for Goldman Sachs and a couple of other banks. The Midtown folks are the ones who go to Joshua Tree, Brother Jimmy’s, Tonic, 230 Fifth, Keats and the downtown guys are Stone Street regulars – they go to Ulysses. A lot of Goldman guys and women go to 77 Warren, which is one of the closer places to where they work. On the weekends, they might go out to Tonic or the Canal Room. Some of the adventurous ones go to Brooklyn, but those are only a few explorers.
But I’d say the hottest party scene most nights for young bankers are in buildings like 2 Gold Street. That’s in the Financial District where basically it’s all bankers and some of the buildings in Murray Hill like Windsor Court. These buildings have roof decks and they set up beer pong tables and everyone’s 22 and working at the same i-banks. It’s sort of like being back in college.
Some of these bars you mention certainly have a college feel. Is that the general vibe?
Totally. They want to be amongst their kind, so they frequent these places that are convenient and also filled with other young bankers. It really is about optimizing your time. These guys can get called into work at any time, so if it’s 1 a.m. and they’re on their seventh drink, they can still get the email that says we need you back in the office and they have to be there. It’s a bit of a risk every time you go out – you’re placing a bet that you won’t get called back into the office.
What about when they really want to be high rollers for a weekend? Or when they’re out with older analysts?
They might go to Avenue or Greenhouse or Southside.
It seems like things really don’t change.
This is basically received wisdom. The older bankers tell the younger bankers where to go, so it’s sort of an echo. Another bar they like on their own is Brass Monkey – it’s a little more exotic because it’s in the Meatpacking District. The Patriot’s Saloon is a big one. They just call it the Patriot. That’s down in Tribeca. It’s like a country music kind of place.
How’s their game?
It’s a little bit of a social liability – at least it was in 2011, 2012 – to say you’re a banker. It can shut down your game if the person you’re talking to supported the Occupy movement – an instant conversation killer. I talked to one guy at Goldman who said he was a consultant because he found it worked better. There’s a certain cachet in certain orders. You’re better off saying you’re a lawyer.
It sounds like the young banker world is very insular. Are most people hooking up with each other, then?
There are a lot of analyst hookups. Generally, if you go out with your colleagues, that happens a lot. I think, probably, it’s a time situation. Am I really going to other neighborhoods and calling my college friends? At least the people you work with understand your schedule so they’re more sympathetic if you get called away in the middle of the night. Some of them still hang out with their college friends, but it gets more insular as you work your way up the ladder.
You talked to one guy who slept with a model. Last I checked, Brother Jimmy’s wasn’t exactly a hotspot for models.
They do know where to go if they want to meet non-bankers. So, I think that was probably a Meatpacking District score, which is not to say these guys are all about scoring because sometimes they’re too tired to even think about bringing someone home, which is why Tinder has been such a hit among the Wall Street crowd. It’s very time efficient – “meet me here in five minutes” – and you don’t have to plan to do well on it.
Do you think Tinder is the fastest growing dating site/app for Wall Streeters?
Totally. They are obsessed. It’s like flipping through page after page – it reduces dating to a transaction. It’s very much like their work. They’re making snap judgments. And again, it’s very immediate. These guys can’t plan a date a week in advance. It has to be right now.
What’s the drug scene like?
I was expecting a lot of coke and stuff like that, but most of these guys are either taking drugs so they can stay awake and work harder, like modafinil or Adderall or even caffeine pills, or they’re taking Xanax or something to deal with depression. I know a bunch of them who smoke weed to calm down at the end of the day. I think that’s probably more common among the young crowd than coke. I actually never saw anyone do coke. It must be just for the older crowd.