The one with friends
This is the best and most typical form of happy hour. You meet at the bar on Thursday after a long week of work, planning to mail it in on Friday in anticipation of another weekend of out-drinking your bank account, and your liver. Drinks and appetizers with friends is just the change of pace you need from being cooped up in your cubicle for 40+ hours a week. Before you know it, it’s 7pm and you’re ready to turn in for the night. There’s one alcoholic in your group who tries to order shots on three separate occasions and convince you to hit the town, but you’d rather get a good night’s rest than throw up in the shower Friday morning. Maybe you’ll read a book, watch a game, pay some bills, call mom, or half-drunkenly workout. You know, grown-up stuff.
The one with co-workers
You’re on dangerous ground here. One drink too many and you could be the victim of office judgment for months. The hottie you’ve been crushing on from accounting made it out, but so did her douche boyfriend. Gossip about those who aren’t in attendance runs rampant as people desperately attempt to move ahead of absentees on the ladder of office politics. God knows what these people would say about you if you weren’t here. The smallest of small talk takes place, and you’re constantly on the lookout for possible exit scenarios, unless you’re one of the lucky (weird) people that actually like their co-workers.
The one with family
Big brother just got his big promotion, and it’s time to celebrate with the fam. Drinks all around on him. Mom and dad are so proud. There you sit, beaten down by the corporate grind, loathing questions from family members about why you don’t have your shit together like your brother, even though you just graduated college and big bro has been working his ass off with the same company for five years. Unavoidable questions about your love life come hurling towards you, and you’re too sober to keep from being awkward. The more alcohol, the better in this situation. It’s not like you’re paying for it.
The one with the friend from out of town
Your phone buzzes around 4pm with a text from one of your oldest pals. “In town on business. Drinks?” Suddenly, the next hour of work doesn’t seem so bad as you anticipate a night of fun with a good friend that you haven‘t seen in months. This is where the night can go one of two ways. 1) Said friend has really changed in the year since you’ve seen them. They barely drink anymore, and the only reason they wanted to grab a cocktail was so they could say hi and show off the sweet corporate gig they landed. 2) Your friend hates their life just about as much as you hate yours, and you both get shitfaced. A crazy night unfolds after you spend the first hour at the hotel bar taking shots. The mixture of exhaustion, apathy and mild-depression puts you in a state of mind where you actually believe you can handle a one-night shitshow with your buddy, hitting college bars in your town and patrolling for strange. The next morning will be miserable, and you will be in serious danger of getting a DWI on your way to work.
The one that gets out of hand
It starts out like any happy hour, friends getting drinks and food, but suddenly the group’s mentality shifts to a collective “fuck it” and the liquor starts flowing. Some girls show up. Talking gives way to flirting. Flirting gives way to dancing. Dancing gives way to your first sexual experience on a weeknight since graduation. Odds are you’ll end up striking out, but who cares? It’s only 9 o’clock! Charge the bar, rack up a hundred dollar tab, and before you know it the bar is closing. You finally exit your blackout to notice the bar is nearly empty. The party ended hours ago, but you and your friends stayed out against your better judgment. Whoops. You’ll wake up three hours later with a hangover bad enough to kill an elephant, and your feet will feel like you just ran the Boston Marathon. Pray to god that you remember where you left your car, or you’ll have to subject yourself to the embarrassment of taking a cab to work. The group text of “what the fuck happened last night” hits you at around 10am. You will have the worst workday of your life.