The History of Happy Hour

At Twisted Grove, we do things a bit differently. Instead of “happy hour” we have “Twisted Hour.” Essentially it’s our “twist” on the common afterwork social hour. But one day, over drinks, we started to wonder… “Where did happy hour come from?” So, we did a little research.

Tracing the Term Back
The term “happy hour” can be traced back decades. The set of words comes from 1920s American naval slang, in fact. The “happy hour” was a slice of time on a ship when sailors could partake in a variety of different forms of entertainment to break up the monotony of life on the sea. Often this included wrestling matches, boxing bouts and other athletic activities that were intended to boost morale among the sailors.

Prohibition and Happy Hour
The term originated and was being used in America’s driest time -- prohibition. From 1920 to 1933 manufacturing, transporting and selling spirits was prohibited and punishable. But that didn’t stop the American people from imbibing. People began to gather in secret at home or at unassuming speakeasies to indulge in illegal cocktails. It wasn’t long until the naval term “happy hour” was used to describe these prohibited drinking gatherings.

Happy Hour Today
Decades later, throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the term became seemingly more commonplace in the American vernacular. And, in the mid 1980s “happy hour” was adopted by the hospitality industry as a time designated for food and drink specials. But not everyone is happy with “happy hour.” There are over 20 states that have banned restaurants and bars from selling discounted spirits during a fixed period of time. But lucky for you, Arizona is not one of them.

For the Twisted Hour menu click here.
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