To celebrate the launch of our new Happy Hour at Cliff House, we thought it would be fun to do a bit of research about the history of Happy Hour and how it evolved over the years.
In modern times, Happy Hour refers to the period of time in the early evening – typically starting around 4 pm – during which drinks and appetizers are available at reduced prices at bars or restaurants.
Merriam Webster (merriam-webster.com) describes the origin of the two words this way:
”Happy” dates to the late 14th century, and originally meant “fortunate” or “favorable.” It comes from Middle English hap, which itself is from Old Norse happ, meaning “good luck.” By the late 15th century, the familiar senses of the word relating to pleasure and contentment were established.
There are numerous references to happy hour over the centuries.
In The Merchant of Venice, Lorenzo says to Portia: “Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you.” He wasn’t wishing her $4 pitchers, but the basic concept of spending a “happy hour” is about as old as a good mood and spare time. Source: Emily Bell, Source: www.vinepair.com.
In an interesting article on Absinthe at www.saveur.com, it is referenced that in the 19th century, the custom of sipping absinthe – while discussing politics, current affairs, and the arts – at 5 o’clock would become known as l’heure verte, or the green hour. This would later become known as “happy hour.”
Happy Hour got its first associations with grown-up socializing in the Navy. There’s evidence of an official “Happy Hour” as early as 1914 on the U.S.S. Arkansas, with a group of “home makers” coordinating said hours called the “Happy Hour Social.” Even though they were sometimes called “Smokers,” these happy hours were a bit more innocent than our modern-day variant, involving picture shows and boxing matches. Source: www.vinepair.com.
But it wasn’t until the Prohibition era that this term became associated with drinking. In 1920, the 18th Amendment went into effect, prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcohol.
Renegade drinkers —known as “the Wets” — flocked to speakeasy clubs where they used the term “happy hour” as “a euphemism for drinking sessions ahead of dinner in public restaurants where serving alcohol was illegal.” Source: www.blog.hubspot.com.
It was during the 70s and 80s that Happy Hour became synonymous with drink and appetizer specials and were offered widely across the United States.
Get the Scoop!
Now the Cliff House has introduced The Zinc Bar Happy Hour just in time for longer evenings and awesome views. Offered Monday – Friday from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, The Zinc Bar Happy Hour is well on its way to becoming a local’s favorite. To see the Happy Hour menu, visit www.cliffhouse.com.
What to Know
Location: 1090 Point Lobos
Phone: (415) 386-3330 Restaurants
(415) 666-4027 Private Events
More Info: www.cliffhouse.com
The Cliff House Zinc Bar’s Balcony Lounge overlooks the amazing Gulf of the Farallones in the magnificent Pacific Ocean – a perfect way to enjoy all-day dining and the new Happy Hour near the Golden Gate Bridge.
Photos Courtesy Of: Suzie Biehler Photography