The Top Places for #HappyHour

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Everyone loves a good happy hour. #HappyHour posts let people share their good times on social media, and may inspire others to get out there and enjoy themselves too. We wanted to find out where the most people posted about happy hours on Instagram, so we sorted through more than 4 million Instagram posts from 2010 to 2017 with the hashtag #HappyHour to see just where people are getting their drink on.

The idea of people coming together, having a great time and enjoying discounted eats and drinks is appealing enough that most restaurants, bars and nightclubs have at least one happy hour to lure in a crowd. Continue reading to discover where the party’s at.

U.S. Dominates #HappyHour Posts (Followed by Hong Kong)

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When we examined the most prevalent #HappyHour Instagram posts by country, the U.S. came out on top with 393 Instagram posts per 100,000 residents mentioning #HappyHour. Since the phrase “happy hour” originated with the U.S. Navy (although it referred to onboard entertainment such as wrestling bouts instead of tipping back a cocktail), it’s a decidedly English term, so it’s not outrageous that English-speaking countries ranked so high.

Australia, the next most frequent majority English-speaking country, came in at No. 5, followed by the third and final majority English-speaking country, Canada at No. 6.Hong Kong was No. 2 on the list, and while Chinese is one of its official languages, English  is as well (hence the use of the term “happy hour”). Singapore and Italy were No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, and the top 10 concluded with Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, the Dominican Republic and Greece.

Among non-U.S. cities, Wan Chai – a metropolitan area located in Hong Kong known for its nightlife  – came out on top with 6,016 #HappyHour Instagram posts per 100,000 residents. Hong Kong also boasts the highest bar in the world , Hong Kong Rooftop, a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike. Visitors can gaze out over the Victoria Harbour while sipping on a famous cocktail named after the bar, a fruity concoction which includes kumquats, strawberries, pears, grapefruit, and a healthy portion of vodka and salted caramel.

Milan, Italy, also boasts a busy nightlife , as its #HappyHour mentions attest – 1,756. If you find yourself participating in a happy hour in Milan, be sure to toast your friends like a local  by clinking glasses and saying, “Salute” (pronounced sah-loo-tay).

Dubai, ranking fifth on the list, is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates. As with the other top non-U.S. cities, Dubai has a thriving nightlife  with a wide smattering of clubs throughout the city. Interestingly, Dubai is located within the United Arab Emirates, a predominantly Muslim country where alcohol use is tightly regulated. Non-Muslim locals and visitors are allowed to drink alcohol, however (and can purchase it as long as one has a personal liquor license). These regulations, though, haven’t stopped the influx of #HappyHour posts originating from Dubai.

No. 8 on our list was Belo Horizonte , which – while less familiar than other Brazilian cities like Rio de Janeiro – is the third largest city in Brazil. As such, it also has plenty to do after hours, including some drinking specials to wet your whistle.

A Happy Hour State of Mind

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Among U.S. states, the top spot for #HappyHour Instagram posts per capita went to Washington, D.C. , which is, of course, not actually a state at all. However, after a hard day’s work, D.C. residents like to relax just as much as the next person, at least according to Instagram – they topped out at 3,970 posts per 100,000 residents. D.C. is definitely dedicated to #HappyHour – in fact, you can check out the top spots to get your cheap drinks on at DCHappyHours.com .

New York was the next state on the list. Considering it’s home to NYC , the most populous city in the U.S. and home to many a happy hour , it’s not a huge stretch to think that New Yorkers enjoy their bar time.

Montana was third on the list, with 590 posts per 100,000 residents. Though not a relatively heavily populated  state, Montana’s citizens still take advantage of food and drink specials at the duly appointed time. Perhaps it’s due to the large state universities (University of Montana in Missoula and Montana State University in Bozeman) which happily bump up those #HappyHour mentions.

Last on the list was Missouri , which apparently needs to step up its #HappyHour specials – its residents only netted 11 posts per capita , behind such states like Wyoming (12 posts), Utah  (27 posts) and Alaska (33 posts).

Socializing Over Social Media

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The city with the most #HappyHour Instagram mentions per capita was Hollywood , California – people cranked out nearly 48,000 posts per 100,000 residents.West Hollywood is next, with each over 31,000 posts per capita. Referred to as WeHo residents , those fortunate enough to live in West Hollywood have a plethora of options to choose from. Saint Felix is a favorite of locals, not just for their cheap drinks but also their exceptional mac and cheese dish. For those who like to get a bit more experimental with their libations, The Roger Room offers some of the best mixology in the state.

The next three cities were also in California: Beverly Hills , Santa Monica and Glendale . Other per-capita winners were Portland , New Orleans and Las Vegas . While New Orleans is often associated with Mardis Gras, Bourbon Street is one of the top party spots in the entire U.S. year-round. It’s also one of the best places to find the iconic Hurricane  cocktail.

When we next looked at the top cities for the total volume of #HappyHour Instagram posts, New York City came out on top, and users there far out-posted the rest of the top 15 cities – including San Francisco , San Diego , Miami  and Brooklyn . Because the sheer volume of people posting in these large cities tended to bump up their #HappyHour numbers, looking at this data per capita gives more unique results.

It’s Five OClock Somewhere

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As we look at the data through times of day, days of the month and months of the year, we can see when people most often posted about #HappyHour. Happy hour mentions on Instagram peaked at around 10 p.m., which is usually when the night gets busy for popular bars and nightclubs, and when typical happy hour specials are available. #HappyHour posts occurred the least often from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., but there were still between 64,000 and 75,000 posts during that time frame.

Happy hour isn’t always limited to a set day, but because many people have the weekend off, Fridays were the most popular day to #HappyHour garnering over a fifth of all posting activity. Thursday was the second most popular day, with 16.5 percent. Wednesday followed with 14.9 percent, and Saturday at 14.2 percent. It turns out that Sunday (9 percent) and Monday (10.5 percent) were the least popular days to post about #HappyHour on Instagram – go figure.

The hottest months to post about happy hour were May and June, followed by April and March (spring break, anyone?).

The Ultimate #HappyHour of the Year? Spring break, graduation and the beginning of summer could all be contributors to the most popular time of the year to post a #HappyHour photo – a Saturday in May around 10pm!

#Beer and #Wine? #Cheers to That!

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Happy hour doesn’t happen all by itself! There is a bevy of additional hashtags that people used in addition to #HappyHour on Instagram. The most common hashtag associated with #HappyHour posts was #Drinks (8.2 percent) , followed by #Cocktails (7.9 percent) and #Beer (7.4 percent). Next was #Bar (5.3 percent) because the best happy hour specials can often be found in a pub setting, followed closely by #Food (5.1 percent) and #Friends (5 percent) –because who better to spend happy hour with? Unless it’s with your #Love (4.5 percent), which comes next on the list. #Wine (4.4 percent), #Instagood (4.2 percent) and #Cheers (3.9 percent) rounded out the list of the most popular additional hashtags.

Methodology

We scraped and analyzed over 4 million Instagram posts with the hashtag #HappyHour. Posts were pulled globally, with a date range from 2010 to 2017. Location was determined by the geotag of the post. We performed a text analysis on the posts to determine the top additional hashtags associated. Analysis of the time of posting was based on the local time. We did not scrape for any translations of the hashtag.

Sources

Fair Use Statement

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