The Origin of the Happy Hour


Costa Pacifica is thrilled to offer our customers happy hour specials in San Antonio. 

But while we all love our happy hour social, where does this phrase and idea come from? 

Bartender During Happy Hour

Happy Hour Originates with the Military

The phrase happy hour originally had nothing to do with cocktail hours or drink specials. It’s a phrase coined by the United States Navy to describe a dedicated period of entertainment. The long days spent aboard ships creates a lot of boredom and restlessness due to the monotony of the work and same-old sights.

However, other things were happening on American soil that would lead to the phrase being co-opted forever.

Prohibition and the Volstead Act

The Volstead Act, also known as the National Prohibition Act, was put into place in 1920 and prohibited the creation and sale of alcohol. It was an effort to create a dry America to reduce crime, domestic violence, and alcohol-induced illness. 

History states that the act did decrease drinking during this time, though it also allowed individuals to continue enjoying alcohol they already purchased prior to passing this new law. Nevertheless, those opposed to the act would continue to drink in secret. This period would give rise to bootlegging and speakeasies so that Americans could continue to produce and consume alcohol illegally. 

Americans would gather after work at speakeasies or in their homes to drink in privacy and secret. The term happy hour would soon be co-opted from the American Navy to describe their forbidden endeavors to relax and let loose. 

Even after prohibition was eventually repealed, many Americans in the food service industry would continue to spread the idea of happy hour. By the 1970’s, restaurant and bar-goers would enjoy the cocktail specials that we are accustomed to in our society today.

Happy Hour Today

You might be surprised to learn that many areas still practice Prohibition rules. There are eight states that ban happy hour and the ideas behind it altogether: Alaska, Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont. Further still, there are counties in various states that prohibit the sale of alcohol outright. 

Other areas like here in San Antonio encourage our ability to promote happy hour whenever you’d like. Responsibility ultimately lies on the server to cut off those who’ve had too much, and more importantly, on the individual to take advantage of happy hour deals responsibly. Restaurants get to attract more business and customers get to save money.

Happy Hour in San Antonio – Costa Pacifica

At Costa Pacifica, we celebrate happy hour to give you the chance to have excellent food and great drinks at an amazing price. We offer food specials starting at $5.99 and margaritas at only $2.99! Better yet, our happy hour specials are available all day Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday to Friday from 3pm to 6pm. Be sure to check out our menu!

Now that you’ve learned a bit about why our happy hour exists, why not stop by Costa Pacifica after a hard day’s work? We’re located at 434 N. Loop 1604 West. Ste. 2101 in San Antonio. 

We also offer catering for events! Book your next party or private dinner with us today!

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