Happy Hour Hammers Bars in Tough Times

Restaurants sober up as patrons drink earlier to save money
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2009 4:29 PM CST
A member of the bar staff pours a pint of beer which is being currently sold in outlets of the pub chain JD Wetherspoon for 99p a pint on January 5, 2009 in Bristol, England.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – There’s a recession on, and that’s forcing drinkers everywhere to change their schedules. These days bars are filling up in the late afternoon, the Los Angeles Times reports, as patrons pinch pennies by slurping happy hour specials. “We don’t see a change in what people are drinking,” said the beverage director for one bar chain, “as much as the time they are drinking.”

The booze business typically weathers recessions with ease, but this time things are different. In July, Wine & Spirits released a survey in which more than 40% of bar managers, owners, and bartenders reported decreases in consumer traffic. “This is far worse than anything we have seen,” said one industry analyst.