By: Matt Jared

Wow. This week has been as long and awkward as the time you had to sit through the apple pie scene in American Pie with your parents. It’s been an absolute hell of a day and you want nothing more than to kick back, slug a beer and hang out with your bros who are equally as pissed off and hungry for excitement. Today, we’ll be taking a guided tour through the time honored tradition of happy hour. Before you decide to get all hopped up on Bartle’s James and pass out before your girlfriend even gets to your place you might want to check out Max’s eloquently written piece on how to imbibe like a man!! 

EDITORS NOTE: Max and Matt do not in any way advise the abuse of alcohol. As young men, we have seen the misery that alcohol abuse creates and do not condone any such activity whatsoever. Any item on this blog is meant for entertainment purposes only and should be taken lightly. We’re growing mustaches for prostate cancer awareness and having fun, not telling you how to live your life.

Location – Possibly the most important choice in for a successful happy hour is the location. When I’m done with a soul sucking week of sitting in front of a computer and hearing Sandy in accounting’s story about her seven kids soccer schedules I’m ready to blow the doors of the week and slam some pints.  I work on the west side of Cincinnati so the blue collar folks know how to get down and we generally speak the same language when it comes to having a beer and blowing off some steam. I’m guaranteed to find some interesting characters at any local watering hole but I’d be lucky to find anyone under the age of 35 with a full set of teeth at said locations. So when I need to get a beer in my system I try and head to the areas where I will run into fellow young professionals and where a lot of my friends and I can buy each other a drink without taking a hit into our budget for this month’s rent.

With a good general location picked out (generally Hyde Park area, Mt. Adams, OtR or Downtown for those keeping score at home) I always try and hit up a bar I haven’t been to before. If your skeptical, it’s always better to have a story about a terrible bar after happy hour than have a terrible story of a whole night wasted at a shitty bar. Plus, you can ogle that girl who always orders Jameson on ice any other night but you know you’re never going to approach her, a new happy hour scene can open up your perspective to any new young ladies on the prowl.

Price / Deals – It seems ever since Groupon hit the scene about two years ago everyone has gone apeshit crazy over daily deals and getting half off of Tapas and Franzia at the bar downtown you will never go to. With that said, there are PLENTY of daily deal sites that will open up your perspective to new places that hook you up for relatively cheap. Personally, I use a service called Yipit which collects all the daily deals in each city and sends you one email a day with the trending deal in the headline. It’s a great way to scour the scene and try and capitalize on good deals. Using the web is an easy way to find good deals, for me, I always check Foursquare and other social sites to see what’s going on and going to your local Yelp page makes finding a good happy hour / event about as easy as it gets.

Beyond using the internet to score some cheap deals I highly recommend getting in tune to your local magazines / City Beat / newspapers. Even though traditional media is dying quicker than the bamboo plant your Mom gave you freshman year there are still plenty of great deals and good happy hour ideas being advertised in hard copy. In Cincinnati, we have our own magazine that rivals The Onion called DERF Magazine.  DERF has their own happy hour every other week and a bucket of beers are cheaper than Chris Kirkpatrick’s appearance fee. Regardless of where you live, you’re going to find at least some idea of where you can snag some cheap sodas in a local newspaper or magazine.

One final piece of advice: the deals on food at most happy hours are out-of-this-galaxy cheap and it’s always better to slam a quick burger before heading to your next post happy hour locale than forcing yourself to chortle down cold pizza from last night when you get home at 2:00AM.

Etiquette Some of my fondest memories from college were from the raucous happy hours my fraternity brothers and I used to partake in every single Friday. One of our members was a bartender at the Junction (RIP) and we pretty much could drink for free or extremely cheap depending on how much you felt like tipping. Now, like we touched on before, college is a totally different atmosphere and going behind the bar and pouring drinks for yourself and everyone in the bar was not out of the question at these famed happy hours. If I tried to pull that at the hipster bar in Over the Rhine I would be kicked out quicker than I could start naming obscure indie bands no one has heard about.

A general rule of thumb, in or out of happy hour, is to mirror the actions of those around you if you are unsure of what to do or uncomfortable. Happy hours are a place for the working folk to kick back and imbibe their favorite drink at a lower cost before the weekend gets into full swing. If you are the jackass buying shots of Jager and puking in the corner every 15 minutes you’re not going to be very popular, with anyone (ladies included). So take your Happy Hour in stride and enjoy a nice conversation with your buddies or better yet, talk with the bartender about what’s happening around town this weekend.

Etiquette 1. a – The jukebox – This is a very sensitive topic for everyone and anyone. Everybody likes to listen to different things when they unwind and if you are ever in charge of the music at a happy hour I will share one piece of advice…stick to the classics. No I’m not telling you to start kicking on Bach while hanging out I’m telling you to appeal to the masses and play something everyone will like. If the bartender hands you the iPod or you ransack the jukebox with a stack of quarters you will undoubtedly have plenty of options. Find a nice playlist on Spotify, play the latest from Mumford and Sons or an old school Pharcyde album or Pandora something like the Rolling Stones.  If you play a song that will piss people of (DMX / Eminem) or something that will kill the mood (Enya / Sting) you will not be popular and I will throw a stack of coasters / peanuts / popcorn / silverware / whatever I can find at your face. Shitty DJ’s are the bane of most people’s (especially me) existence and you have failed at your duty to humanity to supply us with a good set of songs. Please note, as a DJ you are allowed to have one and only one ironic / hilarious song (enter Rebecca Black) and then you are obliged to play something that everyone likes, not Pitbull and Neyo on repeat.

In conclusion – A great happy hour is a mix of all the aforementioned items combined with a little luck and a few good friends. Remember to ALWAYS designate a driver or take a cab if you bail from the bar scene. Also, remember that you have a mustache, that smokeshow from across the bar isn’t checking you out, she’s being seduced by the tractor beam of sexiness that is YOU. Happy Friday, friends! Have a safe and fun weekend.