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CocktailsHappy Hour; A History

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Posted on the 09 April 21

Discover Happy Hour at Revolución de Cuba

A re-opening fiesta isn’t complete without the return of Happy Hour. It’s something we all know and love, but do you really know where it originates from? Well, grab a cocktail and get comfortable as we’re going to take you on a little trip across the pond.




Whilst the full origins of Happy Hour are a little subjective, the term has been around since the 17th Century when William Shakespeare, in The Merchant of Venice said Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you”Naturally, we know that this wasn’t a literal suggestion of “Let’s go to Revolución de Cuba and enjoy two Pornstar Rumtinis”. However, the sentiment here is similar and focuses on spending time being content.


The most plausible origins of Happy Hour originate during the First World War. Naval officers aboard the USS Arkansas coined the phrase “Happy Hour Socials” as an attempt to alleviate boredom and restlessness amongst sailors at sea. These socials weren’t focused on the consumption of alcohol, but rather they focused on entertainment. Something we can completely get behind. 


That said, their Happy Hour Socials focused on boxing, wrestling and movies, as well as music & dancing. A not too dissimilar experience to the Happy Hour you are familiar with and again, just like in the Merchant of Venice, the time is focused on socialising and genuine happiness.



So, what now?

How did we go from boxing and movies to the cocktail-orientated Happy Hour of the modern-day?


Enter prohibition.


From 1920 to 1933, there was a ban in the United States on the production, importation, transportation, AND sale of alcoholic drinks. Notice, we didn’t say consumption. It wasn’t illegal to consume alcohol, so whilst Americans’ were still able to drink, it usually meant that liquor was obtained illegally.


During this period, many “fancy” men and women would secretly meet for a sociable drink before dinner; since they would be unable to purchase drinks during their dinner. They would either meet in secret speakeasies or congregate within each other’s homes. Think of this as the original pre-drinks with your amigos. And from here, the term “Happy Hour” was born in a sense that we’re more familiar with.



As we moved past the Second World War, and into the late 1940s and early 1950s, people searched for a sense of normality around socialising and drinking. This is where the discount element begins. Food and drink specialists used this as an opportunity to encourage meaningful in-person interactions with loved ones. All whilst enjoying a delicious cocktail or two, of course.


Now you know all about where it originated, how do you get involved in Happy Hour today? 

Visit your favourite Revolución de Cuba during Happy Hour and enjoy delicious deals on cocktails, pints of San Miguel and of course, bottles of prosecco… all without a prohibition in-sight. 

For full details, visit your local bar page.


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