As we wind down our work day, some of us feel a need to top the 9-10 hour grind with non-work related happiness. From 8:30ish to 5:30ish, Portlanders soak up LCD rays with the desire to get more satisfaction out of life. This behavior is what Henry IIX called “hobbies”. Portland’s #1 hobby is the Happy Hour.
Portlander’s testify to the glorifying nature of “Happy Hour” and the levels of pleasure it has brought us over the years. Meeting friends/coworkers/lovers after a mediocre-to-hard days work can instantly transform a crappy day into a fantastic one. However, the once heralded Portland happy hour seems to be in decline. As 4-6 pm becomes the staple, I’ve found the ease to be “happy” after work fading away.
In the professional world, a work day never ends at 5. For the few times you have left before 5:30, I can only imagine the sheer guilt consuming you. Leaving before projects have been completed to provide the body with sustenance* will add to your unhappiness. Why are the old popular happy hour joints suddenly shortening their hours to 4-6? We can blame this decrease on the general popularity of happy hour, Californians, or point our finger at the Oregon Restaurant Association.
The Oregon Restaurant Association has been building a media campaign in which Portland provides the ultimate culinary experience. The pretentious vile spewing from this PR frenzy has led smaller restaurants with bars to up-the-ante and go “high class,” setting aside the happy hour. Old happy hour staples such as Portland City Grill and Henry’s have been raising prices, shrinking hours and offering less options for the hungry and thirsty. If you are not a restaurant, per se, the down economy and increased number of bars will probably do you in. Brazen Bean, once heralded for its happy hour, closed doors this year in a confusing hurry. At 6 O’clock, you can still see 23 year old women standing in front of the ol’ Bean doors, madly making phone calls in an attempt to find cheap martinis.
In the past three years, I’ve noticed a complete dwindling of shock appeal, as far as awesome happy hours deals go. Now, as the $4 Quesadilla and $2.50 Pabst becomes the staple for more established joints, I find a complete disinterest in having to hunt for a great happy hour in some smokey dive bar (*Cough* Low Brow *Cough*).
Fellow Portlanders, please share those remaining happy hour gems which still offer jaw-dropping deals. Your fellow citizens will love you for it. Otherwise, we will have to find real hobbies.
*at a reduced rate of course