It’s 5 o’clock on a Friday in the streets of the bustling Big Apple. The work week is finally coming to a close and the trendy inhabitants of up-and-coming hotspots like Soho and Brooklyn get ready to take the nightlife by storm. Happy hour is just beginning and with that being said it is first nature for us to assume booze will be in the mix. After all, the notion that it’s 5 o’clock somewhere dawns upon us and the infamous drinking hour has only just begun.
An inaugural happy hour known as “Shine,” premiers at The General Assembly, an institute of technology located in the heart of the beloved city. However, something seems unfamiliar about one particular new happy hour in New York City. A regular attendee of any happy hour seems to be absent. Alcohol is nowhere to be found.
A pretty unconventional idea, right? A happy hour with no alcohol. What is the point?
Upon reading about the new trend sparking, it really started turning wheels for me. What a healthy alternative for a night on the town. This idea really resonated with me on a personal level. It forced me to think about all of the things I have done with my friends in the last six months that could be considered substantial. And aside from the concerts, music festivals and other rare occurrences I can’t remember many instances where my weekends weren’t consumed with hopping between bars. This mentality couldn’t help but make me think there has to be a lesson to be learned from the very hipsteresque happy hour taking place nearly 3,000 miles away.
Don’t get me wrong, I know just as well as any of my peers that drinking can be a real riot. I’m not saying college students should cut drinking out of their lives and stop going to bars in order to lead a more meaningful life. That just seems like a silly notion to even propose.
But something new is happening in the four walls of those New York City bars that are holding events like “Shine”. People are leaving feeling a sense of enlightenment. They are going to happy hour to meditate instead of to get inebriated. They are winding down with green tea drink specials and vegan appetizers, while having a few sober laughs. They’re exhibiting healthy habits while still being able to enjoy the nightlife. No regrettable mistakes are made during these happy hours and the girls you meet in the bathroom will actually remember your name after leaving this gathering.
I hold it to be truly evident that college students do not always receive the recognition they deserve for how much is expected of us. Most of us are expected to go to school full time, while holding a job to keep us afloat, while juggling a social life, maintaining relationships both personal or romantic on top of having to explain to those around us where we see ourselves in 10 years.
It is scary being a college student. Living for the weekend is an easy escape of reality. We have one too many drinks and wake up the next day feeling unrefreshed and repetitive. Drinking can be a nice easy escape of the daily pressures we face. But maybe, just maybe we should adopt some similar sober Soho practices and ditch the Patron for a more placid Friday night with our friends.
I encourage my peers to take a night off the booze. It’s 5 somewhere. Pass on the invitation to half-off margaritas and welcome with open arms the chance of quality time for meditation and enjoying the ability to remember your new night on the town.
Alexandra Schultz studies journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @AliSchultzzz.