How Did Happy Hour Start?

Imagine this: It’s the end of a long workday, and you’re craving a place to unwind, relax, and savor some delicious bites and refreshing drinks. That’s when you remember the magic words: Happy Hour. But have you ever wondered how this tradition began and why it remains popular? Let’s look into the history of Happy Hour and uncover its origins.



In the early 20th century, during the era of Prohibition in the United States, speakeasies flourished as secret drinking establishments. To attract patrons they dedicated the few hours before dinner to secretly serve alcohol to their customers. These were dubbed “Happy Hours” by the patrons.

As the world emerged from  Prohibition, the concept of Happy Hour evolved into a special time dedicated to providing a break after a long day’s work. The idea gained popularity in the post-World War II era when returning soldiers sought outlets for camaraderie and stress relief. Restaurants and bars embraced the notion, offering discounted drinks and appetizers during a designated hour to attract patrons seeking a well-deserved break from their daily grind.



One of the reasons Happy Hour remains popular is its ability to foster social connections. In our fast-paced lives, where time is precious and schedules are packed, Happy Hour serves as a designated period for friends, colleagues, and even strangers to gather, share stories, and create new bonds. It provides an informal setting that encourages conversation, laughter, and the cultivation of relationships. The relaxed atmosphere and the shared experience of unwinding over drinks and bites creates lasting memories and a sense of belonging.

Affordability is another crucial factor contributing to the enduring popularity of Happy Hour. With specially priced drinks and appetizers, it presents an opportunity for people to indulge in high-quality offerings at a fraction of the regular cost. This accessibility allows a broader range of individuals to enjoy the pleasures of dining out and sampling an array of culinary delights without breaking the bank. It’s a win-win situation for both patrons and establishments, creating a mutually beneficial experience.


Queso Dip from City Works and Old Town Pour House - and yes, it's on the Happy Hour menu ;)


Happy Hour has evolved beyond its traditional boundaries, expanding to cater to diverse palates and preferences. Restaurants now offer inventive drink concoctions, including artisanal cocktails, mocktails, and craft beers. Culinary delights extend beyond simple appetizers to include small plates and gourmet twists on classic favorites.

Whether it’s a place to unwind after a busy day, celebrate milestones, or simply enjoy the company of loved ones, Happy Hour continues to captivate patrons with its enticing offerings. So, the next time you seek a haven of relaxation and deliciousness, remember to raise a glass to the incredible tradition of Happy Hour.


Beer flight

City Works and Old Town Pour House’s backyard flight which includes four local beers.


If you need a new spot to try out, tap into happy at a City Works or an Old Town Pour House location on weekdays between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Offerings vary per location but think, half-off appetizers, half-off select shareables, discounted local beers and more.  Cheers to the happiest of hours!