The Happiest of Hours – A History

The Happiest of Hours - A History


And now for a lesson on that hallowed of traditions: Happy Hour. 

We’ve all partaken. We’ve all over indulged. We’re all a little guilty of getting super excited at the thought of cheap drinks. It almost feels like you’re getting something for free. You swipe your card at the bar, Cheshire cat grin making your face all awkward and overjoyed as you return to your friends, craft beers in hand. You are winning! You are the Lord of Terrigal bars – if only for an hour. 

Yep, we all know it. But where oh where did this little slice of goodness come from? Who shall we cheers as we drain anothery? 

In the Navy… (cue Village People)

Back in 1913, the USS Arkansas harboured a little group of sailors who labelled themselves the ‘Happy Hour Social’ and met a few times a week for ‘smoker’ (a sailor soiree of sorts). While alcohol was quite possibly involved, the time was generally focused on watching a film or boxing match to break the monotony of daily navy life. A cracker of an idea they thought! And pretty soon many ships contained a ‘happy hour’ where sailors let their hair out after a hard day’s work. 

Not- So- Happy

Enter into history the dark, devilish times of Prohibition. The US Navy banned grog and so the hours became a little less happy. But for landlubbers back home, thirsty folk got crafty and opened secret underground drinking establishments. Unlike the best Terrigal bars today, these watering holes didn’t draw late night crowds but instead catered to folks wanting to down a few drinks before dining at a restaurant where alcohol was illegal. What! A dining experience without a killer wine list? No craft beers? No after dinner mango bellini! Oi Vey!

Buut…The idea of people choofing off to dingy basement to neck a couple of beers before meeting the family is kinda comical. 

The Marketing Potential

And the notion of an hour of rapid intoxication after work was born. But what about the attractive discounted drinks so well sort after? At what stage did pre dinner drinks and the value for money meet in such a merry marriage? Well much like your last Happy Hour jaunt, the details are a little hazy and probably not as funny as you want to remember it. More than likely a couple of sailors walked into a prohibition bar, ordered a rum and lime, proceeded to have a very good time and chin wagged about old Happy Hour Social memories to whoever would listen. Some business savvy bootlegger probably got hold of the idea and their mind exploded with the marketing and money making potential of such a glorious and raucous hour. 

The Pitch

Now our good old friend happy hour has spread all over the globe (some might suggest that the concept of a cheap drink for the plebs after work is not such a unique idea and probably has a variation the world over – L’aperitif anyone?) But why travel so far when Terrigal restaurants near you offer the bestest and happiest hours around. The Joker and Thief offer Happy Hour speshes between 3pm to 5pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Get outta town!) And hopefully, since we are being so transparent about the marketing potential of such a magnificent hour, you will stay on long enough for some fish carpaccio or a JT cheeseburger in honour of US sailor pals and their oh so happy hour.