The Office Workers Who Escape Their Cubicles For A Lunch Break Rave

By Kim Janssen
Chicago Tribune.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) For women in business who just need to take a break and cut loose (without the hangover), we may have a solution! There is a trend going on right now of daytime clubbing.  Yes, groups of office workers are just letting loose and dancing before or even in the middle of the work day. New York-based Day breaker, has been hosting sober, early morning pre-work raves for two years in cities across the U.S. and is expanding to Europe, South America and Asia.

Chicago Tribune

Clutching briefcases and handbags on the sidewalk during Friday’s lunch hour, the line of khaki-and-blazer-clad office workers stretched 100 feet along Illinois Street.

If it wasn’t for the crowd’s unusually high energy level, a passerby might have guessed they were waiting to grab a sub sandwich from a hot new deli.

But then a bouncer — black suit, black shirt, black tie, earpiece — opened a door from the street to a basement, and the thud of bass from the bottom of the staircase hinted at something far stranger: A lunchtime rave for cubicle workers.

Around 150 workers from all over the Loop and River North ditched their desks to dance during their lunch break at The Underground nightclub at a promotional event sponsored by the sparkling water brand Perrier.

For workplace wallflowers who find office party small talk and birthday-cake-by-the-water-cooler unbearably awkward, the prospect of dancing with your boss before the afternoon sales meeting might sound like a fate worse than death. But proponents of the growing trend for sober, daytime clubbing say it leaves them energized and ready to work.

“It sounded like fun to get away from the office,” said Yolanda Golden, a student adviser at Loyola University who came to party for an hour with co-workers Blanca Byliner and Farrar Moore after learning about the event on social media. Golden said many of the priests at Loyola are “great dancers” and she and her pals didn’t need booze or nighttime to cut loose. “We are the party!” she said before grabbing a glow stick.

Likewise, 25-year-old Tim Hackle, who came with half a dozen co-workers from human resources startup High Ground, saw no shame in partying in the early afternoon before returning to work to make a few phone calls. “We’re here to sparkle it up,” he said. “We’re very energetic — I dance in the office all the time.”

While most of those attending said it was their first brush with daytime clubbing, another promoter, New York-based Day breaker, has been hosting sober, early morning pre-work raves for two years in cities across the U.S. and is expanding to Europe, South America and Asia.

Jordan Brown, a 27-year-old dispensary worker who’d been out until 4 a.m. the night before, said daytime partying was in some ways more fun. “There’s good vibes going on right now,” he said. “When you come in the middle of the day, it’s fun, it’s random, and people are more coherent. I wish more people did things like this — loosened up, especially on a Friday.”

Others needed more convincing.

“Usually when I walk in a club I’ve had a few drinks,” said Dominick Roach, 24, as his eyes adjusted to the darkness of the club and the booming hip-hop being played by DJ The Hood Internet. “But I’m just coming from my desk and it’s a little overwhelming.”

Roach and his co-workers at commercial real estate firm CBRE, Orlando Augite, 27, and Taylor Colter, 25, were tempted from their prosaic midday routines by a mixture of curiosity and the promise of a free bagged peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunch.

They admitted to being a little weirded-out by the concept and hollered “NO!” in unison when asked if they could be persuaded to dance alongside a crew of break dancers hired to start the party.

“I have to go back to my research spreadsheets,” explained Augite as Mark Morrison’s 1990s hit “Return of the Mack” blared away.
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While most of the crowd was younger, and, with an afternoon of work ahead of them, stuck to cans of Perrier, two more senior partygoers were among those enjoying complimentary cocktails.

Joanna Jets, 69, who works as a mystery shopper, said she and her friend, real estate agent Janell Barnet, who coyly described herself as 48, “are on the list to go to all of these free events together.”

Among the crowd of conservatively dressed office drones, Barnet’s huge fox-fur hat and Afghan-style coat — accessorized with a broken arm in a plaster cast — marked her as the afternoon’s most fabulous partyer.

Loud nightclubs aren’t necessarily their thing, said Jets, but “I love to drink, if I’m honest.”

The thrill of dancing, though, was enough for a trio of giggling young women who sneaked out of their office at to attend, but asked that they not be named because they didn’t want to get in trouble with their boss.

“We didn’t know what to expect but it was so much fun,” said one of the women as they emerged back into the bright, brisk winter afternoon to return to work.
“We Snapchatted with the office from the club,” said. “And they were like, ‘Where are you?!'”

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