7 Fun Facts about Happy Hour
The happy hour tradition we know and love has stood the test of time not only because it’s a brilliant marketing tactic, but also because American workers need to decompress after an 8-hour workday. This boozy buffer time started to gain traction during the Prohibition Era since liquor was much harder to come by and stopping by a speakeasy on the way home from work could be convenient and discreet. Happy hour culture came to a peak in the 1960s and started to calm down when cities and states started to pass stricter laws prohibiting day-drinking, but it lives on in most of the United States and all over the world.
This boozy buffer time started to gain traction during the Prohibition Era since liquor was much harder to come by and stopping by a speakeasy on the way home from work could be convenient and discreet.
We scoured the internet and gathered the most interesting happy hour trivia, which you can use as conversation starters next time you’re at the local watering hole:
1. Obscure Origins
Though we don’t know exactly who coined the term “happy hour,” the idea has roots in the U.S. armed forces. The Navy started the trend with social events called “smokers” organized by a “Happy Hour Club” on board the USS Arkansas in the 1880s, the term “happy hour” was popularized in its modern usage by an article in the Saturday Evening Post about the Air Force stationed in the Caribbean in 1959. (We Are The Mighty)
2. By the Numbers
The average happy hour check in the U.S. is $68.99 (after discounts), including food and drinks, which is $8 more than the average daytime check. U.S. bars and restaurants generate 60.5% of their average weekly sales during Happy Hour, and Wednesday (after Friday, of course) is the biggest weekday for Happy Hour sales. (Nielsen)
3. Best U.S. Cities for Happy Hour
Cities like Las Vegas and Miami are known for their night life, but where do you go for the best afternoon bar time? Judging by the most #happyhour hashtags used on Instagram by volume, New York City takes the top spot with California cities San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles in the top ten along with Washington D.C., Seattle, Austin, Miami and Chicago. Looking at the data per capita gives a slightly different picture, with Hollywood, West Hollywood, and Beverly Hills in the top spots. It seems California is U.S. happy hour destination! (Uproxx)
4. On Instagram
If you want more social media stats, #happyhour gets used most during the months of May and June, on Fridays, and interestingly, around 10 p.m. It’s often accompanied by hashtags #drinks #cocktails #beer #bar and #food. (Redfin)
5. The Afternoon Outlaw
Happy hour is completely illegal in both Ireland and Glasgow, Scotland; while not explicitly illegal in the UK, subjective wording in their National Mandatory Licensing Conditions effectively bans traditional happy hour promotions. As of July 2015, happy hour bans existed in Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont, and U.S. military base clubs.
6. In a Previous Life
Previous to the 19th Century, the phrase “happy hour” had popped up in other places: in Shakespeare’s King Henry V, written around 1599, King Henry proclaims, “Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour / That may give furtherance to our expedition.” (He is talking about invading
and conquering France.)
7. The Happiest Hours of the Year
National Happy Hour Day is celebrated on November 12, though no one really knows why. Who needs a reason when you’ve got cheap drinks and good company? Mark your calendar to seek out a local pub with something strong on special between 5 and 8 p.m. on November 12 and enjoy the happiest hours of the year. (National Today)