The Winning Playbook To Hosting A Virtual Happy Hour In 2020

The Winning Playbook To Hosting A Virtual Happy Hour in 2020Here’s to maintaining bonds across all distances.

Here’s to camaraderie and everlasting bonding.

Here’s to the virtual happy hour!

A virtual happy hour is truly an amazing thing, an event people only dreamed of hosting just a few decades ago. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the dream of video conferencing has been alive since 1927, but it has been only in the last few decades that we can communicate via video whenever we want, from practically anywhere we want.

Take full advantage of our magical modern technology by hosting a virtual happy hour. Make it as fun and memorable as possible by picking and choosing from our ideas below.

Note: All the ideas assume you’ll use a video conferencing solution of your choice.

Virtual Happy Hour Themes 



“Show” Club Virtual Happy Hour Theme

Leverage the classic book club model to mindfully discuss all the shows your friends and co-workers are watching.


  • Themed icebreaker: Use IMDB to find a fun fact about the show you’re discussing.
  • Modified book club questions


Future Decades Party Virtual Happy Hour Theme

Host a happy hour dedicated not to celebrating past decades, but to celebrating what attendees’ think future decades will be like.


Discussion prompts (to circulate in your event invitation):

  • What future decade are you from?
  • What did you have for dinner?
  • What are you drinking?
  • What’s your favorite hobby?
  • What do you do for entertainment?
  • What kind of vehicle(s) do you travel in?


Trivia Virtual Happy Hour Theme

Who doesn’t love trivia? Even people who think they don’t probably do, maybe just a little bit. (Jeopardy isn’t the #1 game show of all time for no reason, after all.)

Tips and Tricks:


Playwrights and Thespians Virtual Happy Hour Theme

Select a classic play to act out (in part or in full) with your buds. (Be sure to do the casting beforehand.)


A classic play to read for free online via or the Playscripts Free Reads Corner.

Method Acting Activity

Have your guests become a character…and try to act just like them. Act for the first half of your happy hour and then spend the last half guessing who everyone is supposed to be.

Pro-tip: Select a unifying theme to make the guesses easier. (E.g. Actors, historical figures, famous inventors, famous authors, politicians, etc.)

Food and Beverage Pairing

Deliver a full flavor experience during your happy hour with a classic food and beverage pairing.

Pro-tip: Sure, there are how-to articles for doing one of these yourself, but nothing comes close to bringing in the pros.

Pull in some experts, like the folks at City Brew Tours.


Island-Themed “House Hunters” Virtual Happy Hour Theme

Tell everyone to put on their real-estate agent hats. Ask everyone to find the perfect exotic island vacation for another guest at your happy hour. Each “real estate agent” must present their assignee with three properties. (Anyone can take a “pass” if they don’t like the options. People get points and bragging rights when they make a “sale.”)


Virtual Escape Room Virtual Happy Hour Theme

How can you possibly host a virtual escape room? The Escape Game makes it possible.

Investigate a physical room by using a game guide—wearing a live camera—as your eyes and ear. Your happy hour guests will never forget it.

Here’s a quick 1-minute video of what your Virtual Escape Room would look like:


Fancy Pants Guessing Game Virtual Happy Hour Theme

Send your guests fake invitations to different formal events (charity gala, royal wedding, awards dinner). Ask everyone to show up to the virtual happy hour dressed appropriately for the event on their invitation. Everyone has to guess what event everyone else was invited to based on their outfit.

Pro-tip: Feel even more connected with everyone at your event by sharing some party snacks or late-night snacks everyone can make.


“I’ve Got a Secret” Virtual Happy Hour Theme

Inspired by the vintage game show, I’ve Got a Secret, this happy hour idea will have your guests guessing one another’s secrets. To play, simply ask everyone to arrive prepared with one secret and one clue. Take turns asking questions and guessing the secret.


Cocktail “Surprise” Party Virtual Happy Hour Theme

Keep the theme of this happy hour secret. Ask everyone to send a list of 10 items in their fridge. Randomly select 5 items from the list. When you start the happy hour, tell everyone they have to make a drink using those 5 randomly selected items, plus alcohol if they want and one other extra ingredient of their choice.


Poetry Reading Virtual Happy Hour Theme

Ask everyone to arrive with a:

    1. A published poem they loved
    2. A poem they wrote, inspired by the poem they love

Spend happy hour reading the poems and guessing which one is “real” and which one was made up by your friend.


Art Appreciation Virtual Happy Hour Theme

Everyone comes with fun facts and links related to a piece of art they want to discuss.


An art appreciation activity can be a great way to spark discussion:

Virtual Art Gallery


Music Discussion Virtual Happy Hour Theme

If your group gravitates toward music rather than art, then simply ask everyone to come prepared with fun facts and links related to a piece of music they want to discuss.


Music discussion questions

    • How did this piece make you feel?
    • Did you hear any specific instruments?
    • Can you describe what you liked or disliked about it?


Virtual Happy Hour Ideas



Charades Virtual Happy Hour Idea

Get everyone laughing as they act out words or phrases and hope the others can guess what they’re doing.


  • Have volunteers pick a word or phase
  • The volunteer may give everyone 1) a category and 2) a word count
  • They act out their word or phrase—without speaking—until someone guesses it or they give up.


Simon Says Virtual Happy Hour Idea

Most people either loved or hated this game as children, but no one can deny, it gets big laughs.



  • Have brief interludes (5 minutes) of “Simon Says” every 15 minutes or so
    Crown someone “Simon”
  • “Simon” tells everyone what to do using the official command structure: “Simon says…
  • If they speak a command without saying “Simon says” first, then anyone who follows that command is “out”


Poker Virtual Happy Hour Idea

Add new dimensions to poker night by playing virtually. Instead of laying your cards out on the table, you can hold them in front of your camera. (Studying “poker faces” during a video call will also make a fun social experiment.)


Pro-tip: Bicycle cards has some basic instructions to help you get started.


Two Truths and a Fiction Virtual Happy Hour Idea

Hack the classic “two truths and lie,” but swap in embarrassing true and fictional stories for truths and lies.



  • Ask everyone to come prepared with three embarrassing stories—two true and one fictional.
  • Take turns sharing the stories and guessing which stories are true and fake.


Lip Reading Virtual Happy Hour Idea

You know those awkward moments during video calls when someone’s audio cuts out, but they keep talking anyway? Turn it into a happy hour game!



  • Every 15 minutes, mute someone’s audio
  • Shout a code word, like freeze or cayenne, to signal a game is starting
  • Ask the muted person to keep talking while everyone else tries to guess what they’re saying


Throwing Shade Virtual Happy Hour Idea

This low-key happy hour has only one rule: Everyone must wear sunglasses the entire time.



  • Just tell everyone to wear their sunglasses. It’s that easy.


Create and Tell Virtual Happy Hour Idea

Let your happy hour guests show off their inner crafters, artists, or chefs.



  • Simply ask everyone to grab something they made, a scarf, a painting, a sandwich—anything to show off during your happy hour.


Cuddles and Cocktails Pet Virtual Happy Hour Idea

Make an already fun happy hour even more fun by inviting everyone to bring their pets along for the show.



  • Simply tell your guests you expect their pets to make an appearance. (If they don’t have pets, then they can bring anything else they want to show off.)


Silly Accents Virtual Happy Hour Idea



  • Just have everyone choose an accent to keep up throughout the happy hour. The laughs will just flow naturally.


Virtual Happy Hour Games



Free Virtual Happy Hour Games

1) GeoGuessr


Get away from it all…kind of. This game presents you and your happy hour guests with pictures from places around the world. You drag and drop an icon to guess where on the map you think the picture was taken.


2) Skribbl

This no-fuss interface makes it easy to play a classic drawing and guessing game. Simply read your word, create your drawing, and hope the other guests can guess what is.


3) Colonist


Inspired by the beloved board game Settlers of Catan, this free online game will have your happy hour guests creating settlements and roads, using finite resources to create the best-possible world.


4) Retro Games


Use this site to enter a world of gaming nostalgia, complete with Oregon Trail, Super Mario Brothers, Tetris, and more. Play the games for free online.


5) SnapCamera


This isn’t a game per se, but it offers just as much fun. Download this tool to add hilarious overlays and effects to your video feeds.


6) Scattergories


Use Swallgarfo’s Scattergories list generator or the iOS Scattergories app to play this classic game of category chaos.


7) Danceplug


Tighten up your moves or just goof off by screen-sharing a free dance lesson.


Paid Virtual Happy Hour Games

1) The Go Game


When the Go Game is in charge of your virtual happy hour, it will feel like your favorite, most charming friend is hosting your event.

Their expert approach to virtual events doesn’t just lead to fun; it also encourages “authentic connection, spontaneous interaction, and creativity.”

During each experience, expert event hosts lead and listen, finding and feeding conversational sparks every chance they get. They’ll keep the event on-pace, making your guests laugh as you recreate famous works of art (kind of), flow through buzz-in rounds, and so much more.


2) Let’s Roam

Let's Roam Virtual Team Builder

Use just one online interface to play several crowd favorites, including trivia, drawing games, and drinking games. Stop sweating the technical logistics of screen-sharing and synchronizing videos just to play games during your virtual happy hour. This platform covers everything so you can just have fun.


3) Escape Game

Escape Game

The geniuses at the Escape Game have found a way to pull off an authentic escape room adventure—virtually. Their adventures feel like playing the best real-life video game, ever.

Investigate a physical escape room through your game guide—someone rigged with a live camera feed—as your eyes and ears. Use your guide to explore the room and, with hope, make your escape.


4) QuizBreaker

All through school, we took quizzes to help us retain and absorb knowledge about academic subjects. QuizBreaker helps you learn and absorb knowledge about your friends and co-workers.

Use this platform to create and distribute quizzes that highlight fun facts about your happy hour guests. You’ll get to know them better and maybe even learn a few things no simple conversation would have revealed.


5) Outback Team Building


Turn to these pros when you need to pull off a flawlessly fun virtual event for groups up 300. Outback Team Building will take care of all the details to completely immerse your happy hour guests in events such as:


6) City Brew Tours

Empower yourself with the skills you need to be your very own at-home master of flavor experiences.

City Brew Tours will teach you the art and science of beer-and-cheese tastings. You’ll learn how to appraise beer like a pro and also find its perfect cheese partner.

If you’re super adventurous, City Brew Tours can even walk you through the ins, outs, and nuances of home brewing.


7) Treasure Mountain

Treasure Mountain Virtual Team Building

Hunt for hidden treasure? Sure, you can do that during a virtual happy hour.

Imagine this: Your guests knowing forever how, during your happy hour, they competed against other teams to find legendary treasure that has been hidden for 300 years.

During this virtual escape room experience, you and your team will follow clues and interact with a rich, realistic online environment inspired by the Rocky Mountains. You want only to be the first team to find that treasure.


8) Scavify


Treat your happy hour guests to a scavenger hunt they’ll never forget. Scavify makes it easy to do the impossible: Create a fully remote scavenger hunt without any physical components.

The app even has features (such as scores, photo challenges, and quizzes) to boost engagement during the hunt.


9) The Offsite Co.

Offsite Co

The Offsite Co’s mission is to “design experiences that connect colleagues as humans.” They fulfill that mission not only through their traditional offsite experiences, but also through expertly designed virtual retreats that get over 90% engagement.

Bring your virtual happy hour to life with themes such as company cribs, lip sync karaoke, and virtual house party.


10) Sweet Farm’s Goat 2 Meeting


Treat your virtual happy hour guests to a surprise that practically guarantees laughs: A goat guest star. Sweet Farm’s “Goat-2-Meeting” initiative lets you choose the farm-life feature that works best for your event.

Simply have a goat make a cameo during your event or take an entire virtual tour of the farm.


11) Days of Wonder


Quality artwork and immersive play structures make Day of Wonder’s online offerings thrilling for everyone.


Virtual Happy Hour Topics



Virtual Happy Hour Topic: Forever Dinner

Introduce it: What dinner would you eat for the rest of your life? Explain why.

Optional follow-up questions:

      • How do you know you won’t get sick of it?
      • How will you mix it up if you do get bored?


Virtual Happy Hour Topic: Talents

Introduce it: What is your real greatest talent? (Even if you don’t often use it!)

Optional follow-up questions:

      • When did you realize you were good at it?
      • How do you feel when you use your talent?
      • What types of professional and fun things does your talent help with?


Virtual Happy Hour Topic: Present Excitement

Introduce it: Why are you excited to be alive right now?

Optional follow-up questions:

      • What’s the most exciting aspect of it?
      • How do you think people 30 years ago would answer that question?
      • How do you think people 30 years from now will answer that question?


Virtual Happy Hour Topic: Your “Instruction Manual”

Introduce it: What would be the most important rule in your “instruction manual?”

Optional follow-up questions:

      • Why is that the most important thing?
      • Do you know anyone who already knows this?


Virtual Happy Hour Topic: Passions

Introduce it: What would you spend your time doing if you never had to worry about money again?

Optional follow-up questions:

      • Do you think you’d ever get bored of it?
      • What’s the longest amount of time you’ve ever spent doing this?
      • Other than financial freedom, what might help you spend more time doing it?


Virtual Happy Hour Topic: Ideas

Introduce it: What’s the best idea you’ve ever had?

Optional follow-up questions:

      • What makes it the best?
      • Have you shared it?
      • Do you ever plan to pursue it? Why or why not?


Virtual Happy Hour Topic: Future Technology

Introduce it: What interesting technology do you think we’ll have in the future?

Optional follow-up questions:

      • How far in the future will this technology come out?
      • How could it change the world?
      • Who do you imagine inventing it?


Virtual Happy Hour Topic: Future Fashion

Introduce it: What do you think your grandchildren, or just kids in the future, will wear to school?

Optional follow-up questions:

      • Would you have liked to wear this to school?
      • What will adults say about this fashion trend?
      • Is it a classic or a passing trend?


Virtual Happy Hour Topic: Music

Introduce it: What’s the best band or composer in the history of music and why?

Optional follow-up questions:

      • Do you imagine anyone will be able to top them?
      • What makes them so wonderful?
      • How did you discover them?


Virtual Happy Hour Topic: Experiences

Introduce it: What have you done that would shock or surprise your past self?

Optional follow-up questions:

        • What would your past self say about this thing?
        • Do you remember a moment when you changed from the person who would be shocked to the person who would do that thing?


Virtual Happy Hour Tips



1) Send Snacks

Send a surprise SnackNation snack box, packed with delightfully delicious health- and energy-boosters. The perfect snacks can really tie an in-person event together, and they do the same thing for virtual events, adding a sense of ceremony and celebration.

2) Send toast-worthy treats

Have festive drinks and gourmet treats delivered via Try champagne jelly beans, a sparkling rose, or a custom stemless wine glass.
Keep the happy hour to one hour or less. Of course, you should read the room and continue the event if people are engaged. However, a general 60-minute cap should help you keep your guests’ attention.

3) Give people outs

About 45 minutes into the event, simply ask how everyone is doing on time. People may need to exit the event, but a video call makes it hard to read and pick up on physical cues that signal someone is trying to say their goodbyes.

4) Get everyone participating

Again, you should always read the room, but if it seems like someone is engaged but unable to find an entry point into the conversation, then give them a hand by asking a question. (Morgan, what do you think?)

5) Test your tech beforehand

No one likes the awkward downtime at the beginning of the virtual meeting waiting for the technology to work. taking even five minutes before the virtual happy hour can set you up for an event that people won’t stop talking about.

6) Send official invitations

Include the event length and a brief outline and description, especially if you will be playing games or discussing specific things.

7) Take RSVPs

Head counts matter as much for virtual events as they do for in-person events. Your guest count changes the flow of your conversations and determines what kinds of games you can play.

8) Send reminders

Virtual events can be easy to forget about since they don’t involve travel time or, in many cases, even changing clothes. Make your guests’ lives easier by sending event reminders several hours before happy hour.


People Also Ask These Questions About Virtual Happy Hour

Q: How do you organize a virtual happy hour?

      • A: Organize a virtual happy hour in four easy steps:
        1. Pick your video conferencing platform.
        2. Make a guest list.
        3. Choose a focusing theme or game, like one of these.
        4. Send your invitations.

Q: How do you make a Zoom happy hour fun?

      • A: Make a Zoom happy hour fun and memorable by selecting a theme or game to give your event personality and also to focus everyone’s attention. This post explains how to host an art appreciation happy hour, a lip-reading happy hour, a retro-gaming happy hour, and so much more.

Q: What do you say on a Zoom happy hour?

      • A: There are plenty of interesting icebreakers to say during a Zoom happy hour. For example: What is your real greatest talent? Find an entire list of things to say during a virtual happy hour in this post.

Q: What is a virtual cocktail party?

      • A: A virtual cocktail party is a video meeting where people enjoy beverages, snacks, and engaging conversations. Alcohol is generally optional; a virtual cocktail party’s defining feature is socializing.

Q: What makes a virtual happy hour successful?

      • A: Memorable moments and quality time make a virtual happy hour successful. If you have a great time as the host, and you can see your guests smiling, laughing, and engaging with one another, then you can call your happy hour a hit. Learn how to host an engaging virtual happy hour here.

Q: How do I know if people enjoyed my virtual happy hour?

      • A: You will know if people enjoyed your virtual happy hour by considering:
        1. How many people engaged throughout the entire event
        2. If people smiled and laughed during the event
        3. If people thank you and say they had fun
        4. If you, as the host, had fun
        5. If you want to know for certain if people enjoyed your virtual happy hour, then send a quick one-question (anonymous) poll after the event to find out.

Q: How many people can participate in a virtual happy hour?

      • A: Up to 300 people can participate in a virtual happy hour if you work with a premium vendor, such as The Offsite Co.

Q: How can I make a virtual happy hour for work fun?

      • A: Make a virtual happy hour for work fun by selecting one of the themes, games, or premium event vendors featured in this post. Also remember a thumb rule of virtual happy hour fun: Don’t forget to have fun yourself!

Q: What are some games that we can play during our virtual happy hour?

      • A: Some games you can play during your virtual happy hour include charades, guessing games, and code break. Find a full list of virtual happy hour games and themes here.

Q: What are virtual happy hour themes?

      • A: Virtual happy hour themes are topics and activities that give your event personality and also focus everyone’s attention. Some virtual happy hour themes include Future Decades and Art Appreciation.

Q: What are some ideas for a virtual happy hour?

        • A: Some ideas for a virtual happy hour include a cuddles and cocktails pet happy hour or a silly accents happy hour. Find a full list of virtual happy hour ideas here.

The post The Winning Playbook To Hosting A Virtual Happy Hour In 2020 appeared first on SnackNation.