In the throne room of the English royal palace, Shakespeare's King Henry looks upon his anxious cohorts and declares his intention to invade his French enemies, claiming, "Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour that may give furtherance to our expedition..."
No time for happy hour before laying waste to the French? C'mon, Henry. Not cool.
Penned by the Bard of Avon circa 1599, this scene in King Henry V is likely the first recorded instance of the phrase “happy hour,” although the vintage term presumably was used to describe a general period of scheduled entertainment.
One possible origin of today's “happy hour” involves a early tradition of the United States Navy, during which organizations by the names of the Happy Hour Club or the Happy Hour Social Club would partake in semi-weekly functions featuring a variety of different diversions.
Despite the rapid spread of these happy hour events, the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act outlawed alcohol consumption during the Prohibition era. But, something as trivial as the law wasn't about to stop the party. In the 1920s, illicit speakeasies began hosting “cocktail hours” or “happy hours” before dinnertime at restaurants where alcohol could not be served.
Even after the decline of the Prohibition movement, drinking before dinner remained an American custom, and the term “happy hour” became synonymous with afternoon drinks as early as 1951.
Shakespeare would be proud.
Like many other businesses in the bar industry, The Ringer Pub continues the tradition by hosting its own happy hour from 2pm until 8pm every day, which features $2 domestics and wells on special. So, in the spirit of the happy hour's earliest beginnings, come hither to The Ringer Pub for a pint of ye ol' ale!
See a list of our daily specials HERE!