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Happy Hour gigs in Florida (and elsewhere)...is it a thing?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by npbassman, Jan 24, 2020.

  1. npbassman

    npbassman Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2002
    Last night I was chatting with a guy who spent some time living in Florida and he said that the happy hour gigs down there were huge cash cows and went on to say how it was a such an easy gig...load in early, 2-3 hours of playing to people who are engaged and just want to decompress after a rough day at work and you're done by 7, 8pm. He also mentioned that he's been trying to convince bar owners up here in the north to book the same slot and give it a try but to no avail. The whole conversation was based around the "loading out at 1am stinks" thing.

    My question is...is that really the case down there and if so, is it as grand (and lucrative) as the picture that was painted? This inquiring mind wants to know! I can also vouch that here in CT, outside of the solo acoustic act in the corner, I have never seen a full band playing at 5:30 in the afternoon nor have I ever been asked to play such a gig. Venues up here book you for 9pm, 8 if you're lucky.

    So the second question is, are full band happy hour gigs a thing elsewhere? Concerts on the green at 5pm don't count. I've done plenty of those. I'm talking happy hour at your local yokel watering hole.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
    jamro217, RyanOh, dbase and 3 others like this.
  2. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    I've been playing live music for 30 years, and I've never played a full band gig at a bar during those hours. The earliest I've ever started is 7:00, and that was at a bar that wanted to capitalize on a street festival going on outside the venue.
    jamro217, TinIndian and MrLenny1 like this.
  3. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    I used to live down there in the 80's, the only thing similar to what you are speaking of that I remember was a single, maybe a duo performing acoustically. Never heard of a full band playing happy hour gigs, although sometimes on sunday afternoons you might find some of that sort of thing, but it was mostly reggae as I recall
    drummer5359 and five7 like this.
  4. Oddly

    Oddly Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    I suggest you ask here...Florida Bassists Club

    I've certainly been to a few early shows like that in the Keys ... of course it's happy hour all day there!
    pellomoco14 and JRA like this.
  5. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    true dat ;):D
    Oddly likes this.
  6. BassGuyFL

    BassGuyFL Formerly known as RichardCranium Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    Boynton Bch FL
    Lots of it down here but it’s 99% acoustic solo and maybe duo gigs. Very rarely do I play any full band gigs in the daytime.
  7. Goatrope

    Goatrope Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    Hmm. Not a “thing” in my little slice of SW Florida. IME 90% of my full band gigs start at 9pm. Once per month we have a recurring Sunday gig that does start at 4pm, but it’s just the one venue, and just once per month.
  8. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    I’ve been playing shows in Florida since the mid 90’s. Never did a full band for happy hour...never saw a full band during happy hour..plenty of solo acoustic artists playing with tracks though.
  9. Ggaa


    Nov 26, 2018
    In TX the happy hour slots aren't everywhere but 90% of our gigs are just that, the rest being parties. We kind of specialize in these since none of us are crazy about 9 to 1 or 2, and the pay is adequate, sometimes really decent.
  10. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Around here, happy hour, Sunday brunch, and early dinner live entertainment in the toney joints is usually a smooth jazz trio. A few of the bar and grill combos better known for their food stick with the typical acoustic solo or duo, the further up town you get the more likely you are to have a jazz trio doing live elevator music. I’ve never done any of that so i can’t speak to specifics on pay, but i occasionally work with a solo guy who makes most of his living playing solo acoustic jobs for the bar and grill crowd, but he works 4~5 nights a week doing it so there is that.
  11. Mantis Tobaggan

    Mantis Tobaggan Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2015
    Tampa, FL
    it is old boomers playing guitar. not uncommon at beach bars. full bands not really.
    thetragichero likes this.
  12. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    Here in NE Wisconsin my trio plays mostly 7-11 pm sometimes 8-12 but most of our gigs are Sunday’s 3-7 / 4-8 around here people don’t stay out much passed 11 due to the strong police presence after 1:00am
    Even this past NYE we were done at 12:30
    I also have been trying to push for earlier start times slowly moving in that direction
  13. Both in my experience, there are a number of bar/restaurants that have full bands in 4-7 slots on Thursday/Fridays, and even 3-6 slots on Saturdays and Sundays, usually followed by a 7-10 or 8-11 band. And, as stated in other posts, some are acoustic duos and the like, especially Monday thru Wednesday, and often Thursdays. Some of it is because of local sound ordinances, so they do it earlier than normal. But even the ones that don't, usual band time is 7-10/8-11 more often than not.

    I think they try to get folks to come in, have dinner, even a burger at the bar, and stay longer because a band is playing. More so when all the snow birds hit (and bar/restaurant owners know this) and they want to go out and drink at 3, grab a bite, and stay for the band, then leave when the band is done around 7 or 8. A lot of places around me, you can't get a seat after 4-4:30 at a bar when the snow birds arrive in winter, and it stays packed until the band finishes.
    The 9-12/1 gigs seem restricted to straight out bars that don't serve food, or just snack type stuff, not restaurants.
    bdplaid and Fluid Power like this.
  14. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    Back in about 1979 there was a chain of restaurants/bars around Indianapolis that tried this, and my band played at most or all of them. 6 days a week, 5 to 7 I think, light jazz/rock, girl singer stuff, George Benson instrumentals...great gig! Free food at the buffet when we finished, good payday, a couple of free drinks. Too bad more places don't do it around here (still in Indiana), but I have several friends who have been doing that circuit around the Gulf Coast for years. Nice work if you can get it!
  15. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    It's real. It's in Connecticut. We play at this place a lot. They know we'll never do one of these due to insufficient remuneration. And to answer your question, yes, "Just Jeanie" is a band.
    happy hour gig the pub.jpg
    npbassman and Spidey2112 like this.
  16. I just took a quick look, and got these places all with bands this afternoon....
    Archies (beach/biker bar) 1-5 pm, Earls Hidaway (beach/biker bar) 2-6 pm, Shuckers (beach bar/rest) 2-6 pm, Captain Hirams (beach bar/rest) 3-6 & 7:30-10:30, Shindig Irish Pub 4-7,
    5 or 6 more with either 6-9 or 7-10 pm band tonight and a couple others with 3-6 pm bands. 6 more with 8-11 gigs. After that you get the 9-12/12-:30 gigs.
    So no, you don't have to play late nights here I guess :roflmao:
  17. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    I prefer Happy Hour gigs, especially in Mayberry. Otis is a nice guy when he's sober, but is a terrible roadie when he isn't.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  18. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    Florida = old people like me ...early dinner at 4pm in bed by 10pm Hello!!
    jamro217, Fluid Power and Spidey2112 like this.
  19. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Not happy hour (generally the crowds are not big enough to pay $55 and up for a full band), but I've seen more plac s starting music at 8pm, both to try to keep the dinner crowd, and because places tend to clear out earlier. Fewer people pouring drinks down their throats all night.
  20. I play in an original band that does a mix of rock/jazz/countryish tunes and we play every couple of weeks at local restaurants and breweries. Start times are typically 7 and we’re done by 10 (did one last night 7:30-10:00) and we either do three sets or two really long ones (30 songs total). The pay isn’t the same for a full band at a club on a Saturday night, but with only three of us we still make $100 a man and I’m home and in bed before 11:00.

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