Uncorking “Happy Hour”


Uncorking “Happy Hour”

Uncorking Happy Hour
Happy Hour at Costa Pacifica

Nothing makes a working adult happier than hearing the words “happy hour.” No adult is more disappointed than when the clock strikes the end of happy hour. Where else can you go where you could find a $3 margarita and half-priced appetizers? Good luck with that one! We have managed to find time in our busy lives for this great event, so let’s take a step back to figure out how happy hour came to be.

We can thank the military for creating happy hour – specifically the U.S. Navy! In 1914, the first happy hour social was coordinated by a group of “home makers” on the U.S.S. Arkansas. Back then, happy hours were called “smokers,” and they were a little more innocent. These smokers lasted several hours for three nights out of the week and were created to entertain the crew. They had picture shows, singers, and boxing matches, rather than half priced drinks – but there was still plenty of alcohol. The Navy issued General Order 99 near the end of June of 1914, ending consumption of alcoholic beverages on or near any navy vessel or navy station. The happy hours continued, but they got a little less… happy.

The Prohibition era brought happy hours off the ships and into the city – except for the 13 years that everyone had to quit drinking because of the Volstead Act. Just kidding – that’s just absolutely ridiculous! Everyone would just drink at home before going out to dinner (today, we call this pre-gaming) or they would visit underground speakeasies. In fact, people would call the time drinking before dinner “happy hour.” So, maybe this wasn’t an official happy hour, but it most certainly led to it! In 1933, the 18th Amendment put an end to the Prohibition era, and people could enjoy their drinks out in public once again.

Between the 40’s and 50’s, bars began to offer discounted drinks – no doubt owing to some post WWII-revelry and the “normalization” of work-home life for newly re-settled Americans. Back in the day, people still took their discounts very seriously. One Valley tavern said they used to have a stampede of people at their happy hour between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

During the mid-60’s, we saw more and more bars begin to advertise happy hours. At this time, drinking had already become an after-work activity. A professor at Boston University School of Medicine found “people drank about a third more back in the ’50s and ’60s than they did in ’70s up to 2004.”

Before we go any further into the American happy hour, we should mention the French origins because some might argue that the French are responsible. In the late 19th century, France had a wine shortage, and the French began to turn to spirits – mostly absinthe. People would go drink in bistros and bars when they got off work around 5 o’clock. They would call this “l’heure verte” or the “green hour,” but they didn’t even offer drink discounts at that time. However, the idea of social drinking before dinner was still there.

Back to the states! Between the 70’s and 80’s, bars and restaurants around the nation began to offer “Happy Hour,” where people could come take advantage of drink specials. In 1984, Massachusetts was the first state to ban happy hour. They hoped this would help decrease drunk driving incidents, and more states quickly began to follow the movement.

Today, many people would consider happy hour a way of life. People are constantly searching for the best happy hour deals around town. In fact, reverse happy hours are growing popular because people can come back later to enjoy the discounted drinks! When some people get off work at 6 p.m., it can be hard to catch happy hour because most drink specials end at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. Even though happy hour was created because of the working class, most happy hours begin when we are still at work! This means we only have about 1 to 2 hours to relax and enjoy our drinks after work.

That might be true, unless you plan to visit Costa Pacifica! We have one of the best happy hours in San Antonio. If you think we’re being biased, just check our happy hour menu! We have all-day long happy hours on Mondays and Tuesdays. So, even if you’re working late, we’ll be saving a $3 margarita just for you.

If it’s one of those days where you really need a drink, come by Costa Pacifica, kick your feet up, and enjoy a cold one. We have a variety of food items for $5.99 and drinks start at just $2.99! Visit our website to view our food and drink specials.

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