For years, Sacramento locals have gone to Elk Grove, CA restaurants at the end of a day’s work to de-stress and enjoy time with friends while sipping on drinks offered through a special dubbed “happy hour.” Where did the term really come from, though? Chances are good that you know what it means, but do you know what it refers to? If not, perhaps a little insight into how celebrating this particular time of day came to be a commonality will allow you to enjoy it even more. If nothing else, it will give you a nice conversation starter the next time you and your friends go out.
Happy Hour history
According to Wikipedia, the term “happy hour” has existed for centuries. One of its most notable and earliest uses was in William Shakespeare’s King Henry V, wherein the main character says “Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour that may give furtherance to our expedition . . . .” Regarding its history, the information website deduces that the phrase “happy hour” being used in the context by which we now know it probably originated in the 1920s in the United States Navy, when sailors scheduled a period of entertainment activities to vent off stress accumulated during long periods at sea.
In a Seattle Magazine article, cocktail experts present another take on how the term possibly came to be:
It was earlier, in the 1920s, thanks to the failed experiment called Prohibition, when brave citizens gathered for pre-dining hours specifically focused on consuming then-illegal cocktails at a speakeasy or home bar. Eventually, the ideas merged, and people began using the phrase frequently to refer to a jolly time had when drinking with friends during the late-afternoon and early-evening hours. But I believe the notion of ebullient tippling with pals and gals before dinner dates back even farther. For example, in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part II, enthusiastic imbiber Falstaff says, “Come, I will go drink with you, but I cannot tarry dinner.”
Reverse happy hour
The typical time period for happy hour is anywhere between 4pm and 7pm. However, in recent years, many food establishments have created a “reverse happy hour” designed to accommodate people whose after-work hours happen late in the night instead of the early evening.
Happy hour’s true meaning
Whatever time of day it may be held, be it reverse or not, the ‘happy hour’ that people know today only means one thing: Enjoying food and drinks at a discount! What’s more, popular Elk Grove restaurants like Mikuni Sushi offer both Happy Hour and Reverse Happy Hour, giving you even more reason to enjoy this special time of day that so many people have come to love and look forward to.
(Source: The True Meaning of “Happy Hour”, Seattle Magazine)