Happy hour is when I wine down!
For many, 5 o’clock Happy Hour is the cornerstone of working life…the chance to welcome the week or weekend with a drink with workmates, family and friends.
Of course, there is the added advantage of cheap drink prices, along with complimentary food at some venues. No matter where you are around the globe, loosen your proverbial tie and head to the bar to grab a craft beer or cocktail and be happy!
Typically held between 4 pm and 8 pm, Happy Hours have become not only common ways to relax, but also for bars and restaurants to boost sales on what would typically be slower weekday shifts.
The historical roots of Happy Hour date all the way back to the early 20th Century – the term is derived from American Naval slang in the 1920s - after World War I, happy hours were periods of time when sailors could engage in relaxing activities to relieve themselves of the drudgery of life at sea.
At the same time, the United States was going through Prohibition – a largely failed experiment that prevented the sale and consumption of alcohol. Americans got around the problem by frequenting secret speakeasy bars to get their fix of beer and spirits before eating dinner.
‘Happy Hour’ became a phrase associated with these illegal gatherings and serving finger food emerged as part of the equation as bar owners didn’t want drunk customers drawing attention to themselves when leaving the establishments.
It stumbled into its unofficial ‘discount drinks’ meaning somewhere in the late 1940s or 1950s, owing its popularity to the end of World War II and many Americans returning to the normalisation of work and home life.
There is also a nod to 19th Century Paris in Happy Hour’s origins, as due to a wine shortage the aristocracy turned to spirits for their daily drink, most notably absinthe; Parisienne bars and bistros in the 1860s and 1870s referred to five o’clock in the afternoon as ‘l’heure verte’, or ‘the green hour’.
These days Happy Hour means cheap drinks, great snacks and time spent with friends chilling out and enjoying life!