The ever-changing happy hour (that time slot anywhere between 4:30pm and closing time) : From Sex and the City to Hipster Chic. Or how the offer of cheapo drinks continues to keep the money rolling in… and the in-crowd rolling home!
By Christina Ying
And then I wondered, whatever happened to the fabulous happy hour? You know that show. The one with those four stunning friends at the bar with a high ceiling and dim lights, donning the latest designer fashion, and effortlessly meeting the gaze of every hunk in the room. Their raucous laughs and glamorous outings soothed the related emptiness with each tale of a love gone wrong or a hope disappointed. Heartbreak never looked this good. Those four friends not only introduced us to label worship but to cocktail savviness as well. The mixed cocktail was just as powerful as the girlfriend support. Sex and the City was a show that eased all of us women into facing our 30’s, and how could we not do it without a pink cosmopolitan in hand?
The iconic HBO show was both a guide and a cultural revolution. It allowed women to look fabulous drinking but, long gone are the days where the cosmopolitan is the drink of choice for the cool girl. You know that girl. The ingenue in her Manolo Blahniks and her Fendi baguette bag. The iconic pink cosmopolitan in a martini glass is the most memorable image of being a woman in her 30’s. We all copied and emulated it until it was no longer cool. We’ve arrived at a different place in our womanhood, more authentic and bare. The new cool girl wears both Fendi and Prada. Leaving Manhattan is no longer death. She stays in Williamsburg, and gasp eats what’s on the $5 menu along with her whiskey cocktail. The new cool girl is gritty. No fruity drinks in sight. The cool girl became the hipster, and the hipster girl killed the Cosmo.
SATC never featured the hipster girl; she still existed in the shadows during the show’s reign. Carrie Bradshaw was born out of glamor whereas the hipster girl was born out of apathy. The latter rejects mainstream commerciality; the former created it. Both types of women are cool in their own right, but their approach to drinking couldn’t be any more different. Carrie Bradshaw was able to walk into a Prada store and offered a glass of champagne. Today’s cool girl would rather pair a whiskey shot with her PBR. Carrie Bradshaw wouldn’t be caught dead with a PBR in hand, well maybe in Staten Island, but surely not in Manhattan.
What we don’t need to argue is that both types of women embrace the after work happy hour as a necessity. Although often debated, the root of the term happy hour was coined as a military term for a scheduled period of entertainment and also during prohibition time when people would gather at secret places to drink before dinner. The need for release after work was never just for the boys as it has become a consistent method of release for the working woman. The discounted drink and food is a great way to meet up with friends and to blow off some steam before heading home.
SATC was an incredible social phenomenon that changed the way that women interact with each other, how we value our women friendships, and how drinking is a huge part of the bonding experience. What SATC did with the happy hour was make it into a girl’s night of specialty cocktails and dating pursuits. The new current cool girl has taken the order back to basics. Keep it simple. Keep it neat.
There are a few other things that have changed the tides. The show ended in 2004 and with the 2008 economic collapse, so a glamorous night out with the girls became obsolete, and it became frivolous to spend that kind of money on a drink that was pink. Now that the economy has changed, the overall
attitude about the girl’s night has changed. It’s not cool to look like a yuppy or be associated with the establishment. More tuned with subculture and edge, women’s tastes in cocktails are more refined, but not in the way that you think. Whiskey and craft beer are now added to the repertoire, and it’s no longer a boys club.
Women all around the country are getting more into craft beers instead of appletinis. In South Jersey, there’s a craft beer meet up for women only, called, GOP Girls Pint Out, for women who want to discuss craft beers. They discuss not only craft beers but the craft of beer. From the flavors and structures, we see that women have always been true beer connoisseurs and not just around for the glitz and glam.
As the tech industry grows, the exposure for artisanal bourbons and whiskeys are slowing taking mixed fruity cocktails out of the equation. The bars women are attracted to now contain a vibe is clean, nostalgic, with high ceilings, bringing cool back into its natural elements. If you’re a woman with a newfound affinity for bourbon there’s a w omen’s bourbon association that host conferences all around the country. Their upcoming event “Not Your Pink Drink” is a clear sign of the times and how much we’ve deviated from the “girly drink.” Even Lady Gaga and Rihanna share a love of whiskey. With Mila Kunis being the spokesperson for Maker’s Mark, women leading the whiskey and bourbon renaissance tells us that the modern woman can have a bit of edge and danger.
SATC was the foreground of a different time; that had us yearning to be a part of the world of these four women who dine at every exclusive bar and restaurant of their desire. We can relate to their struggle, but the idea of holding a cosmopolitan again makes most of us cringe. The drinks may have changed, but the dating game hasn’t.The influence of SATC has made us all “wonder” if we, in fact, think about men too much. The best cure for that is always a stiff drink. Invite your girlfriends while you’re at it, because they could use a fancy drink too.