Sharing Drinks, Anxiety About The Economy Is One Way To Cope

At happy hour at Olio, an upscale bar and restaurant in Groton, the economy is the topic of conversation among tipplers who have gathered for a post-work cocktail, but the economic doom and gloom isn't stopping them from enjoying themselves.

”I think people spend a lot more time talking and worrying about it then it actually affects them,” says Teresa White, who works near Olio. White and her friend and co-worker, Janet Collings, go out for drinks at least once a week.

”It's totally random,” says Lisa Villano, the restaurant's manager. “You have your slow days and you have your good days.”

Villano was reluctant to say that the latest economic woes have affected her customer base at all, noting she hasn't seen a clearly identifiable trend. Happy hour, she contends, is more a lifestyle choice.

Olio offers half-price house wine and beer and small plates Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.

Kevin Garcia and Andrew Ramsey, who both work for the Navy, are among the five people at the bar this afternoon. They say being federal employees insulates them a little from the worst of the economy's harm.

”The economy goes up and down and everything has its season,” Garcia says, in between pulls on a glass of Sam Adams.

In a tough economy, though, eating out is usually one of the first things people cut back on, and Connecticut restaurants lost jobs in August and September - the first time that's happened in almost 20 years.

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