Stocks Down, Drink Up

Last week was a tumultuous one for Wachovia employees. They started the week thinking they'd be bought by Citigroup, but ended it under plans to merge with Wells Fargo. Who knows what this week will bring. Either way, the boys and girls in blue are going to need a drink or six. So we've listed the top five places for them to get some liquid comfort. Monday's not too early in the week to start, is it? 

Rustic Martini

This square-shaped bar actually looks like a bank building on the outside. It could remind the Wachovia brass of the good ol' days when they were gobbling up little banks. Plus, all of the dark wood and leather here is reminiscent of their executive lounges. The extensive martini list will put them at ease in no time.

616 N. Tryon St. 371-6874, 

Howl At The Moon

When they leave work, they can walk right up the street to the Epicentre to this dueling piano bar. Since you get to choose which songs you want the band to perform, the bankers can pick classics such as: "For the Love of Money," by the O'Jays; "She Works Hard for the Money," by Donna Summer; "Money," by the Beetles; and "All About the Benjamins," by Puff Daddy. Then they can drown their sorrows in the Howl At The Moon Buckets, which are eighty-six-ounce mixed drinks. They'll likely want the Adios Mo' Fo' Bucket (a blue version of Long Island Iced Tea).

210 E. Trade St. 704-936-HOWL, 

Loft 1523

You need to clear your head and where better to do that than at this classy, smoke-free bar. The Manhattan is good here, but don't let it get you down when you realize that your job could be heading there. And when you walk out onto the large balcony and get a great view of the uptown skyline, remind everyone that half of those buildings wouldn't be there if it weren't for the banks. 

1523 Elizabeth Ave. 704-333-5898,  

Ri Ra

If you're ready to drink, you'll feel very welcomed at this Irish Pub. Some pints of Guinness will be good for what "ales" you. And you can take your drinks out onto the patio and scream obscenities at the BofA employees who might be walking out of Hearst Tower.

208 N. Tryon St. 704-333-5554, 

Therapy Café

Since many of these bankers probably started therapy last week anyway…

401 N. Tryon St. 704-333-1353,