About Happy Hour
As the saying goes, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere. And no matter whether you’ve had a hard day at work or play when the sun goes down, a refreshing beverage can well and truly hit the spot.
Happy hour is the perfect way to unwind at the end of the day. With a refreshing (and cheap) drink or two, good company, and good conversation, it’s a wonderful opportunity for people to come together. But regardless of whether you’re getting together for some after-work drinks with work colleagues or catching up with old friends, there’s one crucial ingredient that will determine whether or not your evening is a success: choosing the best happy hour venue.
Here’s how to find the ideal space and ensure that your happy hour is happy by nature as well as by name.
The Best Happy Hour Venues
There’s much more to organizing the perfect happy hour than just finding some cheap drinks. The happy hour space you choose can have a huge impact on the vibe of your social gathering, so you must find a venue with an atmosphere that’s just right. Happily, there’s no shortage of options to choose from.
It’s an obvious starting point, but it’s hard to go past a bar when you’re keen to sink a couple of happy hour drinks. The best part is that bars come in all shapes and sizes, from underground speakeasies and gritty dive bars to Irish pubs, stylish cocktail lounges, and even beer halls.
- Rooftop Patios
The open-air feeling you get when you take your celebration to the rooftop can be wonderfully relaxing at the end of a long day. With a comfortable seat beneath you, good friends around you, and a cool drink in your hand, you’ll soon start to relax and enjoy yourself.
- Outdoor Courtyards
Outdoor courtyards and patios can make another wonderful happy hour venue, particularly if you’ve been cooped up in an office all day. As the sun begins to set and the drinks start to flow, the casual al fresco vibe is the perfect setting for fun and relaxation.
- Breweries and Beer Gardens
Happy hour venues don’t get much more relaxed and convivial than breweries and beer gardens. Not only do you get the pleasure of sampling a few delicious craft brews, but it’s quite easy to find a space to suit just about any occasion. From ‘70s California beach vibes to rustic barrel room settings, breweries come in all shapes and sizes.
- Loft Spaces
Picture yourself in a bright and airy loft space, sipping a cocktail, chatting with friends, and watching the sunset through gorgeous full-height windows. Sounds pretty special, right? With their timber floors, high ceilings, and warm and welcoming ambiance, loft spaces are ideal for happy hour libations.
What to Look for in Happy Hour Spaces
Before choosing a happy hour venue, take a moment to think about who you’ll be drinking with. Would they rather sip champagne, sink a pint, or stir a cocktail? Would they feel more comfortable in elegant and sophisticated surroundings, or somewhere a little more casual and unpretentious? Answer these questions and you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect space. Here are a few other factors to consider when choosing a happy hour location.
- Convenient Location
The venue you choose obviously needs to be easy for you and all your guests to access. Think about where everyone is coming from and then look for a happy hour space in a central location. Consider how you’ll get home safely afterward too — proximity to public transport is a key consideration.
- Drinks Menu
Craft beer or cocktails? Wines from all around the world or a specially curated whisky menu? If you want to be able to pick your preferred poison, make sure the venue you choose can cater to your cravings (and those of your drinking buddies).
- Don’t Forget About Food
Of course, happy hour isn’t just about liquid refreshments, so be sure to consider what snacks a venue has to offer. This could mean anything from bar snacks or a full dine-in menu to easy access to nearby food trucks, so follow your taste buds to find the perfect accompaniment to whatever you’re drinking.
There’s a lot that contributes to the ambiance of a particular venue. The size of the space, the decor, the lighting, the history of the venue, and even the people in attendance can all have an impact. Make sure the happy hour location you choose has a vibe that suits the occasion, and that will encourage your guests to mingle and enjoy themselves.
- Price and Service
If you’re booking a private venue, check how much it’ll cost to rent the entire space. Also check how affordable the happy hour drinks prices are, and look for a venue that can offer fast and friendly service all night long.
Happy Hour Inspiration
Need some inspo to help plan a magical happy hour get-together? Here are a few simple ideas to get you started.
- Intimate Speakeasy Cocktails
A hidden bar, dimly lit, comfy leather lounges, and a bartender with an extensive repertoire of gourmet cocktails. Add a handful of friends into the mix and you’ve got all the ingredients for a cozy and intimate happy hour. This Prohibition-era speakeasy is full of old-world charm — the perfect venue for sipping an Old Fashioned or maybe a Martini or two.
- Rooftop Refreshments
Take the lift all the way to the top and sip away your worries in a rooftop lounge or bar. With a cooling breeze in your hair, spectacular views in front of you, and good friends all around, you’ll feel refreshed and reinvigorated before you know it.
- Laid-back Beer Garden Vibes
Some days all you want to do is kick back with a cold brew, a few friends, and some good times. If that’s the case, an al fresco beer garden is the perfect happy hour venue for you. And if there’s some delicious fried food on offer too, all the better.