Happy Hour in Vallarta: Golden Hour

Hora de Feliz – Happy Hour:  We love Happy Hour in Puerto Vallarta. If luck has it, we can find the hour going on and on, since not all happy hours happen at the same time. The common time is between 4 pm and 6 pm, but many restaurants and bars extend this to pull in customers who will hopefully stay through the dinner hour, ordering the specials of the day. We’ve been to establishments who offer two happy hours! One in the afternoon and another in the evening, often with live music. It’s not unusual to find two-for-one drinks until midnight in Puerto Vallarta.

How far back in history does Happy Hour go? We aren’t sure but we know that Shakespeare spoke of it in King Henry V with "Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour/That may give furtherance to our expedition…

Many believe that Happy Hour picked up speed in the United States during prohibition, which lasted from 1920 to 1933. Folks around the country met in each others’ homes before dinner for cocktails; it was discreet and private with alcohol either made in the neighborhood or smuggled in through the black market. Small towns had their backwoods stills and big cities had illegal importers. It was easier during this time to buy cocaine than liquor!

Another opinion is Happy Hour was created by the US Navy and started aboard the USS Arkansas when sailors were entertained with movies, which were quite new at the time. Ships also had reviews; shows with music, dancing and vaudevillian acts. Wrestling and boxing matches were among the activities and all of this was accompanied by copious amounts of alcohol and cigarettes, drugs that helped with boredom and tension alike.

It comes as a surprise to those from the US that some Canadians are restricted from Happy Hours, in some cases it’s outlawed!  Alberta led the way, with minimum drink prices. Ireland, the UK and Glasgow have all banned Happy Hour and in the States, Massachusetts put a halt to it in 1984. That was the same time military bases also closed down all Happy Hours in their base clubs. On the other hand, other states have either extended the hour of Happy Hour or reinstated this practice, such as Pennsylvania, Kansas and Illinois.

Luring people into bars is the main reason for Happy Hour in Puerto Vallarta but we hardly need a reason to participate, especially given the views from many of our favorite watering holes, the sunsets afforded us on the beaches and in high towers, and free music provided by local talent.


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