A Happier Hour


By Rachel Simons

Photo courtesy of David Leong.

Thanks to New York’s food and drink culture, you can find tons of bars with happy hour specials in any borough. The tricky part is coordinating plans with your friends and being able to make it on time before the deals run out. Fortunately, because of the power of technology, you will no longer have to worry about this problem. A new free app called Happy lets the user create their very own happy hour at almost any time they want.

“My co-founder and I came up with the app because we would try to meet friends after work and would always miss happy hour by just 30 minutes or an hour,” says Happy Co-Founder Jay Reno. “I would buy a beer and realize that after tip I would be spending almost $10 on just one drink. There needed to be a better way to find a place to go and get drinks at a cheaper price.”

The Happy app works by using your location in the city to find nearby restaurants and bars with which Happy is partnered. Each place has a short blurb describing their atmosphere and a list of drink and food specials that go on during happy hour. If you are able to make it to one of the locations during its allotted happy hour time slot, then you can just party as usual. But if not, you can alert your bartender and start a countdown clock on your phone that gives you one hour to enjoy personal boozy bliss.

With that said, there are a couple of catches. Each personal happy hour only works for the individual with the app on their phone, so if your friends want some cheap beer or cocktails they will have to download Happy themselves. Also, as per usual happy hour rules, quite a few of the establishments have numbered limits on the amount of specially priced items you can buy. Furthermore, Happy currently only works in locations around the Lower East Side, the East Village, Williamsburg, and Fort Greene, but a major expansion of the app’s listings is presently underway.

“We have a small sales team that goes out to find restaurants and bars, but we also get a lot of inbound messages from places that have seen us in the press and say that they want to be a part of this,” explains Reno. “We have a lot in the works and are hoping to move out into the rest of New York City as fast as we can while also considering other cities in the interim.”