Happy hour is the perfect excuse to drink (cheaply!) before continuing to drink more. And that’s great. But for the sake of greater self-actualization (and fewer hangovers), maybe it could mean something else. Even for just a week? Two gentlemen on two different coasts do their best to see if that’s even possible.
Tyler: I live in Los Angeles. Usually during the happy hour timeframe I’m scrambling to finish an EOD deadline, so I’m pretty stoked to like...not be doing that for once.
Jason: Hello. I’m the New York human. I enjoy drinking and writing alone, and my friends might describe me as “not social.” I’m skeptical about this whole project.
T: Remember, no bars.
J: Ugh. I already give up.
J: For my first foray into new routines, I grab a meal at Atrium Dumbo. I usually don’t like anything that resembles fancy, but this is good-fancy. Seltzer arrives in a glass bottle! The french fries? Stacked like a tiny tower! It’s several steps above my usual, which is “basically eating the same salad for two years.” I’m not sure I could ever become a regular foodie — but maybe someone who just spends more time in restaurants?
T: For my first day, I seek out an LA spring and summer staple: the rooftop party. While I’m definitely not cool enough to be invited to anything remotely resembling exclusive, I am able to find the next best thing: Mama Shelter LA. Chairs? They don’t need ‘em at Mama Shelter’s rooftop. You gotta ’gram yourself from deep, vibrantly colored couches. Conversations happen around you in every language. I even ordered a charcuterie and cheese plate! If this is what the LA high life is like, I’m all about it.
J: When I eat ice cream, I’m usually horizontal on my couch and just trying not to make a stupid mess. My happy hour experience at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is 100% more dignified. I grab some scoops with an old friend; we walk; we joke about how silly and nice it is to be eating ice cream; and, yeah, we do kind of feel like tourists, but that’s just a coded way of saying “actually enjoying NYC for once.”
T: Continuing this whole getting-outside-and-being-in-the-sun thing, I pick up some sandwiches, snacks, bottled cold-brew coffee, and a coworker to head out to Barnsdall Art Park for an impromptu picnic. Full disclosure: I also live across the street from this park, but general life things — like writing 30-second-long pun songs and watching Korean dramas on Netflix with my girlfriend over burnt tortellini — have kept me from checking it out. It felt so good out there! You could see a 360-degree view of ALL of Los Angeles. There were doggos running around everywhere who wanted petting! It’s safe to say I’ll be back.
J: Visiting Modern Pinball was the best decision I’ve made in months. There’s a stupid amount of joy in being able to just pay a flat fee and play as many games of pinball as your heart desires. You suck at one game? Who cares. You didn’t lose quarters — just some time.
“But Jason, unlimited gaming exists when you just…download it.”
“This is different!!!” I shout to myself.
With wall-to-wall machines, this place takes the escapism of games and puts it on Third Avenue. And that’s what happy hour should be, right? An escape from all the other hours in the day that aren’t happy.
T: After sitting in front of a screen all day, staring at blocks of words, I thought it might be nice to get out and...stare at some more words! But on paper! Remember books? The Last Bookstore definitely does. I spend my next happy hour there and, with room after room lined with books on shelves and art installations literally made from books, it certainly lives up to its name. Some say I never left. Some say I’m still there, writing this. They might be right.
T: I grew up in LA, and when I was a kid, you absolutely could not bike through downtown Los Angeles. So what did I decide to do next for my happy hour excursion? Bike through downtown Los Angeles! After renting a bike from DTLA Bikes, I dodge cars and ride out to the Arts District. Every wall I pass is covered with awe-inspiring street art. If the rest of LA were decorated like this, people might even find themselves happy in traffic.
J: Confession: I’ve never ridden a bike in New York City. Please don’t come for me — I’ve just been busy these past eight years living in Queens and drinking in bars. In an effort to ~try new things~, I rent a bike and spend some time cycling around Dumbo. Holy hell, it’s a gorgeous neighborhood. The kind where you stare up at people’s apartments and wonder, “How much content would one have to write to live here?”
When I’m not worried about cars, the ride is almost meditative. Like a mix between therapy and gym. (And yes, I did wear a helmet; I just removed it for the photo op.)
J: I’m very glad we did this! No two mortals should try to “redefine” anything. But spending a few evenings doing something a little different? Yes, 100% would recommend. Achievement unlocked.
T: Now that I’m back in the office, battling deadlines with my keyboard instead of traffic on my bike, I can safely say that getting out and experiencing Los Angeles during hours I’m usually cooped up in the office was refreshing. On a weekly basis, I decline calendar invites for various team happy hours at interchangeable dimly lit craft cocktail bars because I’ve had my fill of those. But if these outings were anything like what I experienced this week — outdoors, embracing the always-sunny LA weather, or just somewhere straight-up eclectic and cool I’d never visit otherwise — I’d accept without any hesitation.
And with that, I’m gonna virtually cheers Jason and maybe leave a little early today.
J: Joke’s on you; I’ve already left. Happy hour starts earlier on the East Coast.
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Photographs by Aubree Lennon and design by Kirby Darland © BuzzFeed 2017.