The French developed their own version of it well before ours
In the 19th century, when absinthe was wildly popular in France, five o’clock marked the start of l’heure verte, or, the Green Hour, when people gathered in cafés to drink absinthe, with its signature green hue.
Eight states don’t allow it
Believe it or not, Alaska, Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont all have outright bans on happy hour. Geographically speaking, that's a pretty wide range of anti-happy hour legislation, starting on the East Coast, rumbling through the South, the Midwest and over Utah’s mighty Wasatch Range before stretching off the continent up to Alaska.
In 2011, Pennsylvania and Kansas reinforced the majority opinion on it
On July 28, 2011, The Keystone State legally extended happy hour from two to four hours—a move that, as far as we’re concerned, ticked at least the last two boxes of their state motto, ‘Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,’ if not all three. That same year, Kansas lifted a ban on happy hour that had been in place since 1985. Clearly, the people had spoken in both states.
In 2015, Illinois reinstated it after a 26-year ban
This was huge news throughout the state, but especially in Chicago, where there are approximately one kajillion bars and taverns. Liquor tax collections rose, bar and restaurant owners were happy, and so, of course, were consumers.
The first step toward happy hour as we know it happened on a Navy battleship in 1914
That was the year Lieutenant Jonas H. Ingram, a former football star for the midshipmen, started organizing “Happy Hours” for sailors on board the USS Arkansas, putting together long programs composed of boxing matches, movies, and song and dance (including the “feminine-less tango”). Ingram was looking to occupy the men for the extended periods of downtime during a military siege in the harbor of Veracruz, Mexico.
It was a term for secret cocktail sessions during Prohibition
From 1920 to 1933, the 18th Amendment—aka the Volstead Act, aka Prohibition—was the law of the land in the United States. But as you most likely know, drinking did not cease entirely during this period. People gathered in speakeasies or at friends’ homes for on-the-DL cocktail hours to kick off their evenings. They jacked the name from the Navy, dubbing these gatherings “Happy Hours.”