How to Throw a Killer Office Happy Hour

The perfect reason to drink in the office (as if you needed one)

November 13, 2017 | 5 min read

Did you know that it’s Happy Hour Day on November 12?

Yes, this year it falls on a Sunday… all more the reason to celebrate throughout the week! But if you’re new to the happy-hour-planning game, where do you start?


The most important part of a good office happy hour is STRUCTURE! Throwing some drinks and food together isn’t enough to create a cohesive event. Fun isn’t always spontaneous, but it CAN always be created.

Team bonding done right

A workplace is full of people who aren’t necessarily friends, so you have to give them an excuse to bond… that means bringing in games, interesting activities, and definitely, definitely upgrading your drinks (we included a super easy cocktail tutorial below).

Pro tip: choose a theme for your happy hour!

Is it the holidays? Is your office celebrating the completion of a big project? You know best what’s relevant. Read about on some cool themes in our article: 9 Office Party Themes for 2017.

So at this point you’re thinking… What should I do for happy hour?



Three crowd-pleasers: gin & tonic, tequila sunrise, and the Aperol spritz


The basics:
A good office bar should definitely have some beer and wine (at least one red and one white). It’s great to buy case of your office’s favorite lager and some 2-buck chuck, but let’s upgrade this bar, shall we?

Easy-peasy cocktails for extra delight
Even if you have no experience tending bar, it will be fun and easy to mix up these popular drinks. Here are 3 easy-to-make cocktails that will upgrade any happy hour:

The classic: Gin & Tonic

The ingredients: 2oz Gin, and tonic, of course!
The glass: Highball
The garnish: Lime
The process: ice first, gin second, tonic third. Garnish with lime. People will think you’re a pro.

The sweet: Tequila Sunrise

The ingredients: 2 oz Tequila, orange juice, and 0.5oz grenadine
The glass: Highball
The garnish: Orange slice and/or maraschino cherries
The process: ice first. Tequila second, orange juice third. Fill the glass nearly to the brim, then add grenadine- it will naturally sink to the bottom, making the “sunrise.” Garnish with orange and cherries.
If you want to make this a Virgin Sunrise, just leave out the tequila.

The bitter: Aperol Spritz

The ingredients: 2 oz Aperol, 4oz champagne, angostura bitters
The glass: Wineglass
The garnish: Orange slice
The process: Fill a wineglass 1/3 full of ice. Pour in Aperol, then champagne. Add three drops of bitters and garnish with orange. If you don’t have angostura bitters, leave it off, it’s fine.

The holiday touch: Bottled mulled wine

The ingredients: Bottled mulled wine
The glass: Wineglass
The garnish: Orange slices, cinnamon stick (optional)
The process: This has got to be the easiest drink to prepare. Just pour it into a bowl, heat it up, and thrown in some garnish if you’re feeling fancy.



2. Entertain


Put the happy in the hour: focal points

For an office happy hour, we need to give our employees excuses both to talk to each other, and to NOT talk about work. This means bringing in various party “focal points” that people can bond over.

Bring a speaker


Bring in mentalist and magician Gary Ferrar to your happy hour, to make it REALLY happy


If you want to raise your happy hour to the next level, bring an interesting speaker to start off the evening. As everyone starts in on their first drink, they’ll have something cool (and not office related!) to listen to.

Create conversation

Bring good entertainment, and for the rest of the night, everyone will have a shared experience to talk about. The back-end developer and the marketer? Hey, they’d never had much in common before, but they both thought that mentalist was pretty freaking cool.



3. Play a Game



Games will extend your night, guaranteed. You don’t want a happy hour that fizzles out when the conversation stops. Give your people something to do!

Card & board games

We recommend buying a few games each and keep them around the office for any day of the week… not just happy hour day!

We test a lot of games around the Speakizi Office, and these are the best ones:
Cards Against Humanity (and its less-raunchy cousin, Apples to Apples.) Also Jungle Speed is a great game to energize people and keep them on their toes. And it can keep you literally on your toes as you wrestle for the prized totem!

Active games

No table? No problem! Turn your break-room table into a ping-pong table with this table tennis travel kit (under $20!)

Ping pong is great for those competitive workers (you know who you are) and wallflowers alike. Plus, ping-pong balls are light and unlikely to damage the office.

Darts! This appeals to everyone, just like ping pong. And if you get a magnetic dart set, you won’t destroy the walls.



4. Give a Gift

Customized shot glasses and coasters are cheap and useful party gifts


Bring work home with you — in a GOOD way! Give your colleagues a bar-themed party gift that you’ve customized your with the company logo, colors, and/or a cute saying. For example, shot glasses and coasters are super customizable and your team will continue to use them long after the party’s over.


Bottoms up!