Today you wrote that you'd buy a writer a gin...which makes me wonder, who buys the lunch when you meet the writer? I had an awkward moment a couple of weeks ago when discussing some revisions with my agent in a trendy San Fran bistro, which I had suggested to her...
That's the general rule.
However, if you start suggesting trendy little bistros with waiters named Phrank who offer you scented hand towels to go with the teaspoon of rice and a bean sprout that cost more than my Con Ed bill...then you pay. Before we show up though I'm going to tell you if something you suggest is off my price range. I'm not just going to sit on my hands and look demure while we hope the check evaporates.
There are exceptions to this of course. I have several clients who are gentlemen of advanced years. They would no more let a lady pick up a check then they would strip naked and do karaoke in Times Square (not that Miss Snark hasn't offered the opportunity of course). These are gentlemen who are not quite used to women and particularly women young enough to be their daughters reaching for the check. I let them pay because to insist would make them feel uncomfortable.
If I take a client to an event that has a bar, I buy the first round of drinks and generally a second. Any more than that, they're on their own.