The ritual of going to happy hour after a long week (or day!) of work to relax with coworkers and friends is something that a lot of us look forward to. You’ve probably been to at least a few happy hours but do you know where the term came from?
There are two primary theories on the origin of the term happy hour. In the 1920’s, happy hour was Navy slang for a period of scheduled entertainment that included wrestling and boxing matches. This was meant as a time for sailors to blow off some steam. The other theory comes out of Prohibition times. People would often go to illegal speakeasies and host cocktail time or happy hours so that they could enjoy a few drinks before going to a restaurant where alcohol was not served.
It is believed that the term happy hour was made popular with the American public after a 1959 article in the Saturday Evening Post used it in regards to military life. It also may have been a 1961 article in the Providence Journal that referred to local policemen being “deprived of their happy hour at the cocktail bar.” But the term stuck and happy hours became very popular with Americans and synonymous with the food and drink specials that we still enjoy today.