On Friday my friend Anne took me to a happy hour at the diviest dive in the Hudson River Valley. There was a band. It was loud. It was dark. It smelled like a frat house. The back patio—where we hung out because the inside was intolerable—was a fenced-in bit of the parking lot with one warped picnic table, two broken chairs, and a tent with a grill in the corner. During our time there, two people got hit in the head with the door and one person slipped on a puddle of beer on the floor and went all the way down. But: Best happy hour of my life, because: 1. Two-for-one happy hour drinks. Two draft Blue Moons: $4.50. Two gin and tonics: $3.50. One double gin and tonic: $3.50. 2. Free dinner. Veggie or animal burgers macaroni salad and potato salad—the good kind that come in vats. 3. The bartender looked exactly like (and I’m not entirely convinced that he wasn’t) Peter Krause. 4. It gets better. This bar has the best website. The only happy hour I’ve experienced that’s any better is 5 p.m. at my parents’ (it’s free and there’s a porch and also my parents are there).
But, my favorite kind of happy hour is the kind that involves something more than booze, like $1 oysters, or other discounts on food. Not everyone likes to drink, so it's a great way to get a group of friends together without having to pressure anyone to get a pint of something.