There is no set period when what we have come to know as “happy hour” really began. As a general term it means a period where friends or colleagues could gather together for a drink. The oldest reference to this time is found in the nineteen twenties as a reference to the times when Navy ships would hold scheduled events as a way of entertaining the sailors on board. This scheduled entertainment did not revolve around drinking alcoholic beverages. The next inference occurs during the forties just after prohibition went into effect.
People of this time period were accustomed to having a drink after work or before they sat down to dinner. When alcohol was no longer permitted as a social beverage, home consumption ceased being an option. People who wanted to have a drink would gather in what were called speakeasy establishments where they could have a discreet drink with their friends. This is what eventually grew into the time period in modern bars and clubs now referred to as happy hour. Although the term specifically indicates only an hour allocated for drinking, happy hour usually lasts for several hours usually falling between the times of four and ten pm.