Happy Hour in New York

Those of you who are familiar with Happy Hour, you know why we call it ‘happy’.  For those of you from who aren’t familiar and like a good beer or drink and are on a budget, Happy Hour is a must-know activity in New York City.

Happy Hour is a time of day when many bars, pubs, lounges and even some restaurants offer drink specials such as reduced prices or ‘buy one drink, get the second one free’ (often listed as 2-for-1).

“Happy Hour” is almost always longer than one hour and usually starts in the late afternoon and ends in the early evenings. Most commonly, Happy Hours last from 4 pm to 7 pm but establishments vary in schedule and in which specials are offered.  New York is the city that never sleeps and you can find happy hours at all times of the day. You may find a Happy Hour with specials that starts at 12 pm and ends at 9 pm or a late night Happy Hour from 11 pm to 1 am.

There are hundreds of establishments offering Happy Hours throughout the city and to find the best deals with drinks you like and an atmosphere you enjoy, you need some guidance.  Here are the best websites and apps to help you make the most of this fun, money-saving opportunity.

The Drink Deal is very user-friendly and you can search for Happy Hours with additional features like live music, outdoor seating, and food specials like free appetizers such as Buffalo (chicken) wings, a popular American snack at bars and pubs.

Drink Owl is a website that allows you to search by neighborhood, day of the week and even the type of drink you’d like- be it wine, beer or mixed drinks.  If you’d like a quick and easy way to find a happy hour, Drink Owl has an easy to read calendar that list happy hours by the day.  For those on the go, they have an app for iOS and android.

If you are on the go and want a drink at that moment and nearby, the Village Voice Happy Hour mobile site is an up-to-date comprehensive way to locate the nearest places offering deals at the time you search.  Even better is their Village Voice Happy Hour app for iOS and Android.

And of course you are welcome to join us on our guided Pub Crawl which is a great way to save money and make new friends!

 

Why is happy hour called happy hour? 

In case you ever wondered where the expression “Happy Hour” came from, its historical roots are grounded in the 1920s when sailors on U.S. Navy ships were given a specific period time to enjoy themselves with different forms of entertainment such as wrestling or boxing matches, and yes, a bit of alcohol as well.  This break from regular duties was a happy time for the sailors and came to be known as “Happy Hour”.

Ironically, the use of this term spread to land at the same time “Prohibition” began. From 1920 to 1933, the production and sale of alcohol was made illegal in the United States.  You could drink it, only if you could get your hands on some!

Secret clubs called “speakeasies” that sold bootleg alcohol opened all over the country and it was in these illegal establishments, or in private homes, that people would gather for pre-dinner cocktails. These few hours before dinner used the sailor’s term “Happy Hour.”  ​When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the U.S. was drinking again, after work, before dinner ​and that period of time between 5 and 7 pm came to be known forever after as “Happy Hour”.

 

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