Last night I joined some coworkers at a non-Jewish fast food restaurant/bar/lounge where I had a couple drinks (vodka, etc.). I’ve always done this over the years to be able to get to know people better outside the office and develop a better rapport with them, understand them, etc. There was no pritzus involved, just spending time outside of work with people I deal with every day.One of my frum coworkers here told me this is against Halacha. I need a trusted source to support my position – and I know there must be one because so many people do what I do. Do you know of any?
In Shulchan Aruch Y:D 114:1 we find that [based on the Gemara in Avoda Zara] there is a prohibition to join in a drinking party / meal with non Jews. This is due to a concern it will lead to intermarriage. The details of this prohibition are brought there in Shulchan Aruch and there is a difference of opinion between the Shulchan Aruch and Rama. The Rama limits this prohibition to a certain type of date beer, Shulchan Aruch seems to indicate that if done on a rare occasion and very little is drunk this prohibition would not apply.
Nevertheless one must be honest with themselves to determine if this is really a necessary business step, as certainly this is not the most “kosher atmosphere” to be found in, and is fraught with spiritual danger. Aside from the above prohibition, there is also an issue of Maaris Ayin to be seen in a non Kosher establishment. At times there is room for leniency when it is common in such a setting to have a business meeting and no suspicion would be aroused. Even if one finds it necessary to be present, it would seem alcohol should be avoided to stay clear of the above prohibition and other potential dangers.