What Are the Origins of Happy Hour?

[caption id="attachment_532" align="alignright" width="293"]Happy Hour Beer Photo Credit: Adam Bejan[/caption]
The term Happy hour is a marketing term that refers to a period of time in which a public venue, such as a restaurant, bar, bowling alley, saloon, stadium, or a neighborhood lounge offers discounts on alcoholic drinks, such as beer, wine, and other cocktails. This period usually takes place in the late afternoon on weekdays; Monday through Thursday, and usually takes place at some period between about 4 PM and perhaps 7 or 8 PM.
Since no one knows for sure, about the origin of the term, one possible explanation is that the term came from the United States Navy. In the 1920s, "Happy Hour" was slang for a scheduled time for entertainment on ships; this was an opportunity for sailors to blow off some steam and relieve stress from long periods at sea. Generally,  boxing and wrestling matches took place during this special allotted time. "Happy hour" creeped into civilian life around 1960, exacerbated by a Saturday Evening Post article about military life in 1959.
The culture of kicking back with a few drinks before dinnertime is rooted the U.S. Prohibition era. Once the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act were passed (laws that banned the consumption of alcohol) people would host "cocktail hours," also known as "happy hours," at an illegal drinking establishment. Drinkers would normally gather before they set out to eat dinner at restaurants where alcohol could not be served according to the new laws. Cocktail lounges continued the trend of drinking before dinner.
Ted Hawkins wrote an incredible ode to this special time for drinkers, called "Happy Hour." Play the video below and get ready to sing along! Maybe have a few beers to loosen up first.

The term is also commonly used to describe a gathering of work colleagues at a restaurant or bar after working hours, possibly outside the usual period of “happy hour,” and it can denote a “party” at someone’s home, where drinks and food will be served. When you carry some alcohol around with you, perhaps in a hip flask, you can have a “happy hour” almost anywhere, at almost any time!
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