Time for The Happiest Hour

Coined in the 1960s, “happy hour” was a period of time at a bar, during which drinks were offered at reduced prices. It allowed customers to loosen up and let off some steam after a long day at work, without the guilt of spending much on cocktails. As a marketing tactic, it was a successful one. To this day, there are still happy hours everywhere. But what about The Happiest Hour?

Serving as a cocktail bar/lounge and full-service restaurant in New York’s West Village, The Happiest Hour is a collaboration between Jon Neidich (formerly of Acme) and veteran New York bartender Jim Kearns (formerly of Pegu Club) that lives up to its name.

With interiors designed by Nick Mathers, the decor is meant to evoke vintage California and Florida resorts with palm-patterned wallpaper, slatted wood ceilings, and velvet-upholstered booths. A large, central bar divides the space, which makes it perfect for those looking to a) grab a quick drink, or b) spend some more on snacks.

Speaking of the bar, what about the bevvies? There’s something for everyone. Skip the beer and wine list and look for the Signature Cocktails. Try the Maid to Order (mint, cucumber, lime juice, and a choice of gin, rum or tequila – no one turns it down), a Pineapple Express (pineapple, sage, honey, lime, a choice of cachaça, Guatemalan rum, or tequila – the latter adds a kick), the Strawberry Fields (strawberry, hibiscus, soda, a choice of rum, tequila, or rosé – always fruity), or the Belle of the Ball (red pepper, lemon, habañero shrub, a choice of mezcal, tequila, or gin – don’t worry, it’s not that spicy).

For food, chef Thomas Lim serves elevated diner-style fare that is meant to be shared with others. Bonsai Chicken Bites (Kewpie mayo and lemon flavor the morsels of meat), Mac N Cheese Bites (cheesy cubes with jalapeño dipping sauce) and Salt + Pepper Broccoli (the ranch dipping sauce and lemon compliment the lightly fried texture) quickly disappear as soon as they arrive. There’s almost no reason to use a fork.

Want something more filling? The Happiest Burger is what they’re known for. With two all-beef, grass-fed patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, confit onions, pickles and special sauce, it’s a crowd-pleaser. Or how about the Bacon Deluxe (four ounce patty, a slab of bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, American cheese, pickles and special sauce)? Buy both and split them in half, for two people a bit of each. And who can resist a side of fries? Of course, there are also salads on the menu, but why not just order a Brownie A’La Mode, instead?

No need to wait until after work happy hour to start, but it might be a good idea: The Happiest Hour only opens at 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

About The Author

Steven Carver
International Editor

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