Today, it is not uncommon for many bars and restaurants to have a Happy Hour. This popular term is used to denote a period of time:


  • That often ranges between 1-4 hours;
  • During which customers enjoy big discounts on select alcoholic drinks;
  • Which also includes discounted snacks in some cases;


While you may be perfectly aware what a Happy Hour is, you probably have little or no clue about how it all started out. Well, the story behind this interesting modern-day practice is quite interesting and it dates back to the early-20th century.


The happy sailors

The first Happy Hour events had little to do with marketing, bars and restaurants, bargain deals or even with alcohol. During the 1910s, the U.S. Navy embraced a practice called Happy Hours. Those were events that were organized every week on U.S. Navy ships. They included dancing, live music, boxing matches, film screenings and etc. The purpose of these events was simple – to make the boring life at sea a little more bearable for the American sailors of that time. And since those were all men who had the important job to serve their country, the original Happy Hours did not include alcohol.


What’s alcohol has to do with it?

The meaning of the term “Happy Hour” changed during the Prohibition which spanned between 1920 and 1933. As you probably know, the sale, production, transportation and importation of all sorts of alcoholic beverages was illegal during that period. Supporters of this idea believed that such a measure was necessary in order for the country’s society to be cured of things like corruption, violence and alcoholism. That, however, did not mean that Americans did not drink during those 13 years. Some had stashed away a few precious bottles of their favorite alcoholic beverage and they would invite friends over to secretly have a drink or two before they go out to have dinner. This was such a popular trend, that is soon gained a name of its own – Happy Hour.