Happy Hour—that glorious window of time when beers are $2, oysters on the half-shell sell for a dollar a piece, and cocktails are affordable—is the light at the end of a stressful work day, where that tense meeting and botched presentation are forgotten in favor of good beer and better company. But for all the joy that comes from kicking back and seeing your coworkers in a dimmer light, there are plenty of reasons not to go to Happy Hour.
Maybe you had to work late, or you love oysters but not the packed room of oyster-eating people, or you live in Boston. Instead of rushing to the bar at 6:59 P.M. in the hopes the bartender will still charge you half-price, invite over a few pals, set up a dart board, and bring the bar home. Here's how to bring Happy Hour to your own living room:
A 20-tap bar isn't exactly space-efficient, but you can still have beer on tap without the bar. Buy a growler and bring it to your favorite local brewery to fill—or, better yet, make your own house beer. Once filled, stick a cap with a CO2 cartridge on top of it so you can pour beer all evening without it going flat.
The best Happy Hour spots are those where oysters on the half-shell flow for a buck a piece—but you don't have to be a professional to shuck oysters. Serve them at home where no one can tell you at 7 P.M. that the prices are going back up. Serve them on a tray of crushed ice to keep them fresh, with some mignonette and lemon slices on the side.
Once you've graduated from beers to cocktails, forget the well drinks and shake yourself something worth drinking. Either stick with the classics (with a Manhattan or Negroni) or branch out (ease the transition to tequila with a Mezcal Michelada or try a grapefruit punch).
That place down the road has got stale pretzels and dirty peanuts down. You can do better. Impress your friends with a ramen-wasabi-pea mixture, a sweet or salty snack mix, classic rosemary walnuts, or sweet and spicy nuts. The snack options are endless.
Would you skip the bar to host your own Happy Hour at home? Tell us in the comments below!