8 Ways to Spice Up Your Virtual Happy Hours

At the start of the pandemic, virtual happy hours were exciting and new; something most of us had never done before. They gave us a way to “see” friends that we weren’t able to see in person, a way to stay connected, and a way to entertain ourselves while confined to our apartments. Almost a year later, many of us are experiencing Zoom fatigue or feeling burnt out after spending so much time communicating via virtual platforms like Zoom. To help you avoid feeling burnt out when you hop on Zoom to socialize for a virtual happy hour, I put together eight ways to spice up your virtual happy hours and actually make them something to look forward to again.

  1. 1. Have someone lead a mixology class


    Take turns having your friends or colleagues sign up to teach the rest of the group how to make their signature drink. This one is pretty simple: all they will need to do is send out the ingredients and supplies everyone will need ahead of time so that they can come prepared. Once everyone joins the happy hour, the leader can demonstrate to the group how to craft their favorite beverage. 

  2. 2. Sign up for a wine or beer tasting

    people holding snifter glasses

    Many vineyards, breweries, and a variety of other companies are offering virtual wine or beer tasting experiences. Send out an invite to your friends or colleagues and the company usually takes care of the rest. Each person can pay to have a box of wine or beer shipped to their house ahead of time and then someone from the company will lead the group in trying the different options. To make this cheaper, you can DIY it and send out a list of wines and beers to buy yourselves and do an informal tasting that way. While you’re at it, grab your favorite junk food and make a night of it.

  3. 3. Play a game like Trivia or Pictionary

    Person animating

    My colleagues and I have played a few different games of Trivia on happy hours before and it’s always a good time. We’ve played with general questions and also questions that are geared toward an upcoming holiday, such as Halloween. Zoom also offers a whiteboard feature to make it easy to play Pictionary. There are a ton of trivia and Pictionary websites out there that can generate the questions or words for you to play with. Nothing like some friendly competition to keep things interesting!

  4. 4. Show off your place, MTV Cribs style

    boho bedroom with plants and macrame

    In the first few months of working from home, my company did weekly “MTV Cribs” style happy hours where we signed up ahead of time to show off a tour of our apartment or home. We always had strong attendance when doing this, and it was a great way to keep people engaged. We’re all a little nosy, right?

  5. 5. Have someone lead a cooking class

    chopping food and food prep

    Got any (self-proclaimed) home chefs in your group? Have them sign up to lead a cooking class! Similar to the mixology class, the lead sends out a list of ingredients needed ahead of the class, and then on the day can show the class how to make their dish step by step as everyone cooks along with them. One pot dishes that don’t involve a lot of oven time are best for this type of activity (pasta, tacos, fajitas, stir fries, etc). Everyone is involved and ends up with a delicious meal to sit down with at the end of it.

  6. 6. Discuss a book or movie

    stack of books

    If you have a recurring happy hour with a group of colleagues or friends, this one’s for you. Ahead of your next happy hour, you can choose a book or movie to indulge in and then discuss it next time you get together. It can be as informal or formal as you want it to be, but having a predefined topic ahead of time can keep things interesting.

  7. 7. Join a virtual scavenger hunt or escape room

    woman on laptop studying

    If you do a quick Google search, you will see there are a bunch of websites out there offering virtual scavenger hunt and escape room experiences. Virtual scavenger hunts involve everyone searching for specific items or completing challenges in their own home before the time runs out.. Whoever finds the most (or completes the most challenges) wins! Escape rooms are a little different, usually led by a moderator, and challenge participants to solve specific clues and puzzles to “escape” the room. You can sign up with your friends and play along on Zoom.

  8. 8. Make it themed

    Woman sits studying on her bed. She is on her laptop and holding a phone.

    Have everyone dress up and make a drink aligned with a certain theme. No holidays coming up? Create your own theme! This could be characters from your favorite TV show, funny hats, all wearing the same color, or anything else you can think of.

Related: The Do’s & Don’ts of After Work Happy Hours

Hopefully these eight things will add some variety to your virtual happy hours — and before we know it, we'll be cheersing our friends and colleagues at an actual bar!