“Happy Hour” History

Did you ever wonder when the happy hour craze started? Well, we did.  At Tukee’s  we have two. Daily 3-7 and 9-close. Dedicating two windows of “happiness” merits a little bit of history.  Cheers!

Excerpt from by Blogger S. Hutchinson

There’s nothing better after a hard day’s work than kicking back with some friends and downing a few cocktails. For bars, pubs, and restaurants, the practice of happy hour specials—typically held between the hours of 4pm and 8pm—has become a commonplace way to boost sales on slow weekdays and to let their customers relax to make them “happy” before dinner. But the concept of the “Happy Hour” isn’t merely a marketing strategy, and the history of hitting the sauce at half price has a surprisingly strong—if not varied—connection to American history.

Happy hour these days is clearly linked to getting slightly intoxicated without making too big a dent in your wallet, but the term itself comes from American Naval slang in the 1920s following the First World War. A “Happy Hour” was an allotted period of time on a ship where sailors engaged in various forms of entertainment to relieve the monotonies of the seafaring life. Most of the time, this meant wrestling or boxing matches, but it still could include other athletic activities intending to boost morale.

At the same time, the U.S. was going through the darkest—not to mention driest—period in the history of getting hammered: Prohibition, the failed experiment given legal standing by the infamous Volstead Act. From 1920 to 1933, the manufacture, transport, and sale of certain intoxicating beverages was prohibited.

But instead of abiding by the newly enacted teetotal tenet, Americans became as alcoholic as ever, and would gather together in secret speakeasies or at home to consume some tantalizingly illegal cocktails to wet their whistle before dinner. “Happy Hour” as an expression was soon picked up, either directly or secondhand, from the Naval slang and merged to describe these outlawed gatherings…”