Written By Jessica, VIRTUAL HAPPY HOUR Host at Avital Tours

I first discovered happy hours when I was a 21-year old intern in New York. It was my first time away from my home in North Carolina, and like most interns, I was excited to be exploring the city and discovering everything it has to offer. But — like most interns – I was broke, and that meant exploration was influenced by cost. 

Fortunately, New York has cheap thrills all over the place like cheesy dollar slices, perfect, juicy dumplings, free shows in parks, and the happy hour. 2-for-1 specials, crisp beer on draft, and maybe a mixed drink or two graced happy hour menus. Oh, the memories! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate going to happy hour with coworkers or friends as a chance to catch up and spend time together. It’s an opportunity to forget about the worries of the day and focus on each other. Whether this leads to a spontaneous night out is up to us— the evening feels like ours. 

Of course, this all changed as the world went into lockdown, and our social lives had to shift. Enter, the virtual happy hour: The solution to finding a way to drink cocktails & connect. Although I dream about the days when I can sit in a cozy bar with a friend over cheap drinks, virtual happy hours have shown me those connections are still possible. Here’s what I’ve learned from hosting virtual happy hour events for 4 months.

Making cocktails might be easier than you think. 

I’m very comfortable in the kitchen and love cooking, but I’ve always left the cocktail making to bartenders. It’s all part of the fun of going out! It always seemed a little out of my comfort zone, and I didn’t have the right tools to begin with. But during our virtual happy hours, I’ve seen guests shake cocktails in protein shakers, measure with tablespoons, and pull common pantry items to make a drink. Cocktails also follow simple ratios, and when you know the basics you can make practically any drink on your own. 

person shaking cocktail during virtual happy hour

People crave connection. 

I’ve been steadily booked on virtual happy hour experiences, hosting on average about 4 events a week. We’re busy, and it isn’t just because people are looking for a way to drink. Guests are looking for a way to maintain human connection because we’re at a time when we need it most. It’s nice to see teams come together virtually and chat with each other, learn, and even tease,  like they would in a physical office setting. And our bartenders love it too— being social is a big part of the job, and fulfilling that need during a virtual happy hour is just as special to them, too. 

woman talking during zoom virtual happy hour

Zoom team building events are just as fun as real-life ones. 

The team-building events that go well are usually the ones we remember and talk about for a while. A virtual happy hour event might not sound like it can be as fun as gathering in person or even as effective, and, to be fair, I get it. There’s nothing that can replace being physically together. But I’ve hosted plenty of teams that make virtual happy hours lots of fun. There’s been lots of talking in the chatbox, coming up with fun names, and taking pictures of each other’s cocktail for their Zoom background. The environment is silly and relaxed. There’s a comfort of being at home, and I think that brings out the best in people. 

I miss going to happy hours, but in the meantime, virtual happy hours have taught me that we can still come together— with a delicious cocktail in hand. 

Want to host a virtual happy hour for your team, friends, or family? Book one today