National Happy Hour Day

National Happy Hour Day - Sunday, November 12, 2023

Special Interest Activities

What is National Happy Hour Day?

If you’re sitting at your favorite watering hole with a group of buddies chowing down on free or reduced price buffalo wings, chips and salsa, fries and maybe some coconut shrimp with cocktails or beer between 5-7pm on November 12, then you’re right on time for National Happy Hour Day! Life would be dull without it, so, enjoy!

National Happy Hour Day History

Surprisingly, something that most of us associate with fun after work in mostly urban settings, actually got its start with the U.S. Navy as far back as 1914.  (However, in 1900 “Happy Hour” social clubs did exist.)

Happy Hours, as we know them today, got started during the early days of the Mexican-American war. During the occupation of Veracruz Harbor,  American sailors aboard the U.S.S. Arkansas were the subject of desperate reporters looking to fill out mundane stories after earlier fighting had used up all the exciting copy. Notices,  as in this lead in the “Washington Times” of May 1, 1914, “ ‘The Happy Hour’ Aboard Ship Makes U.S. Tars (short for “tar heels”, a slang for sailors from North Carolina) Contented.” were common. After a busy day, happy hours boosted morale with boxing matches, dancing and drinking. (Although liquor was expressly banned from naval vessels starting in 1899, sailors may have sneaked booze onboard.) 

By the end of WWII, happy hours were a “thing.” The relaxing practice had spread throughout U.S. naval fleets. But on April 25, 1959, a “Saturday Evening Post” article popularized, “happy hour” for everybody outside the Navy.  According to “Bustle,” an article entitled, “The Men Who Chase Missiles” described the hazards for people who “ lived and worked on remote island outposts tracking Cape Canaveral’s missile launches… “Except for those who spend too much during “happy hour” at the bar — and there are few of these — the money mounts up fast.” 

As much as we love National Happy Hour Day (and we really do!), the day itself remains uncredited. This may be one of those internet-generated days that makes life so much fun. So, at the end of this day, let’s meet at the bar after work, say, around 6?

National Happy Hour Day timeline


The “Saturday Evening Post” popularizes “Happy Hour”

In the April 25 edition of the “Saturday Evening Post,” an article called, “The Men Who Chase Missiles” makes the term, ‘happy hour’ a popular term for the American masses and a new way to relax after hours is born.

1940s - 1950s

"Happy Hour" specials lure customers to restaurants and bars

With the economy booming after WWII, businesses are anxious to capitalize on the population's newfound wealth. Drink discounts attract customers into restaurants. which leads to higher bills at the end of the night!


"Happy Hour" meets the matinee

With alcohol outlawed, folks opt to conduct their drinking before dinner rather than after, when the effects of having a cocktail were less conspicuous.


"Happy Hour" Is born

The US Navy begins celebrating "Happy Hour," an evening celebration filled with alcohol, dancing (with and without ladies) and onboard boxing.

National Happy Hour Day FAQs

When is Happy Hour?

Dates and times change, depending on the establishment. As a general rule, happy hour is between 4 and 7pm, with half-price or reduced cost drinks and appetizers.

Can you order Happy Hour to go?

Not generally-speaking because the whole idea of Happy Hour is to keep you eating and drinking on the premises.

When is National Happy Hour Day?

National Happy Hour Day makes us thirsty for half-price cocktails and appetizers every November 12.

National Happy Hour Day Activities

  1. Invite your friends over for drinks

    Technically, you can't reap the benefits of half-off drinks if you're throwing your own shindig but it's cheaper to drink at home, so you still win. Plus, you don't have to worry about how you're getting home. Granted, the atmosphere might not be as "cool" as your favorite watering hole but you can spice things up by trying out new recipes and making your go-to exactly how you like it.

  2. Go grubbin’

    Happy hour isn’t just about drinking. Many bars and restaurants offer specials on food, too. If you're the designated driver (or if you just enjoy food more than alcohol,) Happy Hour really is a sweet deal!

  3. Go drinking where everybody knows your name

    Don’t expect the patrons to uniformly call out your name when you enter your favorite bar just as they did for Norm in “Cheers,” but on National Happy Hour Day, there might be extra special discounts for bar or restaurant “regulars.” You can’t deny a sense of camaraderie when you throw darts or play bar games with folks who know you. But don’t limit yourself to the old standby, either. Be adventurous and venture out to a spot you've been itching to try or make a mini pub crawl out of the evening.

Why We Love National Happy Hour Day

  1. We get to hang with our coworkers

    We're not saying we need booze to get along with our coworkers, but it doesn't hurt, either. After a hard day at the office, let your hair down with the people who helped you get through it. We might all have responsibilities outside the office, but, sometimes, all you really need is one good Happy Hour to keep you sane (and friendly!)

  2. We get to try out a new place — at a discount

    We like adventure as much as the next person but some prospects are riskier than others. You know how a friend recommends a place you have to check out? Well, if it's the friend who likes everything (and we all have one), you could be in trouble. Fortunately, happy hour gives us a chance to check out a new spot, but at a discount, which makes the snacks delicious and the cocktails even better!

  3. We don't feel guilty paying for a ride home

    Reliable public transportation isn't a perk that everyone gets to enjoy and calling a cab isn’t always budget-friendly. But, with all the money you save by not paying full price at happy hour, there’s lots of wiggle room for all your cab needs. It’s the one time you don’t have to feel guilty about spending extra on the ride home.

Also on Sun Nov 12, 2023...

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