Cheers: Stay connected with a Virtual Happy Hour

So, you have done all the puzzles that had gathered dust in the closet; done them twice even. Every parent has binge watched Frozen 357 times. Singles hate trying to live their lives without best friends right there. Wearing a mask, no matter how “artsy” they are, is a huge pain.

What now?

Remember, it’s 5 p.m. somewhere – time for Happy Hour!

Quarantinis anyone?

Wait… what??? Taverns, restaurants and bars are all shut down! With social distancing in effect, there is no Happy Hour.

Not true.

Happy Hour is alive and well in the digital universe. Since we cannot meet friends in person, more of us meet, toast and socialize online.

The new party scenes are called ‘Virtual Happy Hours’ (VHH… in digital shorthand). From just a handful of friends to as many as 100 people, online happy hours are hitting their stride.

For parents — now “stay at homers” during the COVID-19 outbreak, VHH offers a break from the kids and a little adult time. One New Jersey neighborhood even launched a “block party” virtual Happy Hour; everybody sits in their front yards with drinks ready and laptops open. A bartender somewhere dreamt up the name “Quarantini” to christen the VHH (Virtual Happy Hour) phenomenon. Shaken or stirred?

The rationale behind the VHH is that we all need that human interaction; that “social distancing” should not lead to “social isolation.”

So, let’s have a Happy Hour!

We just hosted our third VHH, a small one — my wife and I and another Edmonds couple. Starting time 5 p.m., each in our homes, formal dress not required; the drink of the day, and of course, appetizers.

However, some VHH etiquette sites tell partiers to plan a theme; a wine tasting or dress up or wear costumes.  Whatever seems appropriate. We stuck with sweats and jeans.

Setting up the Virtual Happy Hour is simple, and it works with a smart phone, tablet or computer. Here are some of the sites to set up your party, and all of them are free:

Zoom: Easy to download and about 10 minutes to set up. One note: Zoom generally limits the free sessions to 40 minutes, but they have usually extended the window.

Google Hangouts


Houseparty: Not only can you connect online; this site offers the ability to play games with guests.

Skype:  Been around a long time; usually used with large groups.

Facebook Messenger

There is one more benefit to a Virtual Happy Hour. It is the one time nobody needs to be a ‘designated driver’.


— By Bob Throndsen







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