Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Happy Hour Talk

Mural at the Toluca Lake Trader Joe's

Everyone needs a break now and then. Because there is a time and place for everything, this post will not stand in judgement but will merely observe the need in all of us for a bit of fun and relaxation.

A relatively recent invention dating back to the 20's and attributable to the US Navy, the term Happy Hour was slang for scheduled entertainment.  The "entertainment" had nothing to do with alcohol but with relieving a little stress with boxing and wrestling for sailors who had long periods at sea.

"Happy Hour!"  What a great term to use for other purposes.  During the Prohibition era, the idea of drinking before dinner began.  Since alcohol was banned in public establishments, citizens would host "cocktail hours," also known as "happy hours" at Speakeasies before going out to dinner since alcohol couldn't be served.

Inside the Green Mill, Chicago

If getting near a speakeasy is on your bucket list, you must make a pilgrimage to The Green Mill in Chicago.  The actual speakeasy owned by Capone was accessible in underground tunnels under the club.  Today, the club is one of the best jazz clubs around which just happens to sell good old fashioned cocktails. 

Drinking has been around since the dawn of time as have drinking games and reasoned arguments to imbibe.  I particularly like the one my husband's Uncle Doug has quoted,  "The hills are pink, it's time for a drink!" 

Borrego Springs at Sunset


After prohibition, cocktail lounges continued to capitalize on the newly popular custom of pre-dinner cocktails.

A Gramercy Tavern Cocktail

The term, "Happy Hour" took a foot hold around 1960 after it appeared in a 1959 Saturday Evening Post article about military life in the 1920's.   With these two ideas of pre-dinner drinks and jolly times,  people adopted the term to indicate "happy" with "slightly drunk."

What these two historical stories have in common reveals the human need for a transition from work to relaxation.  



If you've had a little too much "happy," you may be offered a Hair of the Dog remedy.


"Hair of the Dog" is a shortened expression for "the hair of the dog that bit you."  Back in Medieval times, doctors advised that if a rabid dog bit you, you had a better chance of recovery if a hair plucked from the dog who bit you and was placed on your wound.   As applied to too much "happy" the "hair of the dog" might be just the right cure of for a hangover.

Just because you can doesn't mean you should

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting! Love learning such things. "Happy Hour" is such a wonderful phrase when taken outside of the context of drinking and gawking at, well I was going to write "members of the opposite sex" but that's so '80's. Everyone should have a happy hour in their day -- at least one!
    - Barbara

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