I’m sure you’re reading this title and probably thinking… “Way ahead of you, Benicia Magazine!”

But listen, we’ve all been experiencing the same situations. Wake up, jump on that conference call wearing a 50/50 outfit. Something nice on top and ratty sweats on bottom. We’re not here to judge. We just want you to know, we can relate. This article is here to give you ideas. No need to hide what’s in your coffee mug. As quarantine hours slip together in a blur, we know many of you have inadvertently redefined what the term “happy hour” means.

When you think of happy hour, you think of being with friends, coworkers, a hot date and even the annoying loud mouth that insists on giving political advice to everyone at the bar. You even miss someone asking you what your astrological sign is. Why do we miss these interactions? Happy hour is something we looked forward to, a break from the routine. Happy hour is a time when we can indulge in a few beverages, say things to coworkers we can’t say at work, and express our true feelings about the world in general. We know it happens. How can we replace that feeling? Of course, the Zoom app has been coming in handy for all kinds of meetings for all walks of life, both the technologically challenged and tech savvy. It’s an important part of the COVD-19 way of life, even if the resulting meetup looks like the opening of the Brady Bunch. If Zoom works for business meetings, it works for happy hour too. So, it’s time to get creative! It’s time for a virtual happy hour!

What is a virtual happy hour?

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Choose a platform, create a meeting time, and send out invites to friends or loved ones. Then, gather virtually with a libation or a snack, and catch up – from across town, or across the world. Here’s how to begin. Start your chat off with a theme. I’m sure you have an old Harry Potter halloween costume lingering in the back of your closet. Being Madonna in your living room could be fun for an evening. Dress up, be something different. I’m sure your pajamas won’t miss you. The key is to do something different. Get out of the norm.  

If the idea of making cocktails has always been scary to you, there are plenty of platforms to teach you the ways of a professional bartender. A great one I recently discovered, featuring a bartender from Bull Valley Inn located in Port Costa, can be found on Instagram at @happyhourlivewithmegandt. They have live videos every night at 8:00 pm, PST, which give you education and a fun way to get creative with your cocktails. If you want something more simplified, to-go bottles of wine can be found at The Chill downtown and to-go cocktails are available at One House Bakery, Elviarita’s and Bottom of the Fifth.

You can support businesses in our area…

…such as Mt. Beautiful, a well-known New Zealand wine that’s popular in the Benicia Bar scene. Old Bridge Cellars, located in Napa, is offering 20% off their entire online wine store. These companies can ship directly to your home without the worry. 

We hope everyone stays safe, well fed and drinking like kings and queens. Happy Quarantine!