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Don’t Worry; Be Happy The History of Happy Hour in America

Posted on by Paymon's Las Vegas in

Whether you’re a cocktail connoisseur or you just can’t pass up half-price appetizers, in America, we love a good Happy Hour! It’s hard to beat the feeling of kicking back with some friends and enjoying a few cocktails after a hard day’s work. For bars, pubs, and restaurants, the practice of happy hour specials has become a commonplace way to boost sales on slow weekdays and to let their customers relax and make them “happy” before dinner. But have you ever wondered when the tradition of cheap libations after work began?


The history of drinking at half price has a surprisingly strong connection to the history of America. Ironically, you can thank Prohibition for the boozy practice as we know it and the U.S. Navy for the upbeat name. The term “Happy Hour” comes from American Naval slang in the early 20th century. Happy Hour was an allotted period of time on a ship where sailors engaged in various forms of entertainment meant to relieve the monotonies of the seafaring life. Most of the time, this meant wrestling or boxing matches, or other athletic activities intending to boost morale. News articles dating back to 1914 described the events as having live music, dancing, movie showings, or boxing matches.


At the same time, the U.S. was going through the darkest—not to mention driest—period in the history of alcohol consumption: Prohibition. From 1920 to 1933, the manufacture, transport, and sale of certain intoxicating beverages was prohibited. But instead of abiding by the newly enacted tenet, Americans became as alcoholic as ever and would gather together in secret speakeasies or at home to consume illegal cocktails. For those law-breaking Americans who wanted to imbibe in secrecy, a kind of a 20th-century pre-game emerged. Friends would meet before going out for dinner, thus creating the cocktail hour. Eventually, civilians adopted “happy hour” as a euphemism for that secret and festive hour.


By the end of Prohibition, the concept of a happy hour had caught on. Restaurants and bars, however, wanted to introduce the practice out in public and began holding regular happy hours in the 1960s with discounted cocktails and food as enticement.


Happy Hour at Paymon’s Lounge is a popular stop for locals and visitors in the Vegas area. Our Happy Hour goes from 4pm-7pm daily at our Eastern and Sahara locations, and on Tuesdays, Happy Hour lasts from 4 pm until midnight! Mostly everything is half off, which makes Paymon’s one of the best in Las Vegas for Happy Hour! Join us to try our amazing cocktails and food at bargain prices while catching up with friends in the perfect atmosphere.