Everyone needs to unwind now and then, and sometimes knocking back a few cold ones does the trick perfectly. After a hard day’s work, pointing tired feet in the direction of the neighborhood bar or restaurant can be a good idea. The cocktail hour is more than just drinking, however. It is a chance to relax and have a laugh with new and old friends.
The Origins of Happy Hour
The term, happy hour, actually goes back as far as the 1920s where it originated with sailors in the Navy. It referred to a period of entertainment for the men out at sea. From that point on the term evolved slightly as it made its way through the cultural psyche. One of the best happy hour examples is during the period of Prohibition when people would get together for drinks.
The use of the terms, cocktail hour or happy hour, now help bars to get patrons to come in and buy drinks. In most cases prices are cut to pull in the crowd. Happy hour usually starts late in the daytime and runs until around 7pm. However, the actual hours vary from bar to bar and is dependent on the operators ways of doing things.
Friends and Happy Hour
One of the main reasons proprietors look forward to the cocktail hour is that it attracts groups rather than one individual. Friends or co-workers often have the best happy hour experiences when they all go together. It is practically a tradition for some friends to visit special bars when they know the happy hour will be in full swing.
Not surprisingly, happy hour has attracted its share of controversy. In fact, the concept has been banned in some countries. It has also been banned in a few places in the USA. Some people feel it encourages irresponsible drinking, the implications of which can be quite serious.
Host Happy Hour at Home
Don’t let your neighborhood bar dictate the hours or cost of your relaxation. Plan to host happy hour at home for a few of your closest friends at least once a month. Include your favorite games, drinks, foods and music.
Stock your wet bar with the classics as well as your friends’ favorite drinks. Add to the fun and relaxation by decorating your porch, family room, game room or home bar using themes that your friends will find amusing.
A Safe and Responsible Happy Hour
Despite the naysayers, many people enjoy the cocktail hour and make it home without incident. In fact, most people don’t hit the bars to get drunk. They simply want to be around friends or in an atmosphere that is more relaxed than their work environments. Some pointers for keeping the happy hour safe for everyone include:
- If there is a car in the picture make sure there is a designated driver. This is often said, but it bears repeating. Or if everyone gets in on the action, call a taxi or someone else to come and drive everyone home.
- Determine beforehand how many rounds of drinks will be bought. After all, the idea is not to get completely drunk then go stumbling from the bar.
- Avoid binge drinking as this is a dangerous practice.
The best happy hour is one in which everyone can have a good time without worrying about bar fights and obnoxious drunks. The main ideas are kicking back with friends and maybe paying a bit less for drinks than would normally be the case. The addition of the popular karaoke has added another fun dimension to happy hour. Many happy hour events pass without incident so they will continue to attract patrons.