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Happy Hour: The New Day Job

As the unemployment rate ticks ever higher, there’s a new trend emerging: happy hours in the middle of the day.

Happy Hour 11-5pm
CNBC.com
Happy Hour 11-5pm

And, they’re increasingly being offered four or five days a week. So, why wait until Friday? Let’s go and get our happy on right now!

In Manhattan’s theater district, the Mean Fiddlertakes its turns at being nice to the unemployed, offering drink specials from noon to 7pm, including $3.50 domestics, $4.50 imported beer of the month and $5 cocktails including Cosmos, Margaritas and Mojitos.

And, if you’re superstitious — or, y’know, just in case — here’s a good one for you: The Kitano hotel in New York offers a variety of appetizers, wine and beer from 2:30 to 5pm for $8 each because the number 8 is considered lucky and a sign of prosperity in the Japanese culture. (See correction below.)

Among those taking advantage of the specials at New York bars is Jenn Tesch, an East Village resident who was laid off from her job in sales at a medium-sized marketing firm at the end of April.

"It's kind of like this underground community," Tesch said of the legions of unemployed roaming New York streets during the daytime and the businesses she's discovered that she might not have otherwise, just because they're offering daytime specials and she's suddenly budget-conscious.

“[B]usinesses are recognizing that they’re having a rough time, and also saying ‘hey, we know some of you are having a rough time, too — let’s bond and get through this together,” Tesch said.

Tesch said she's never seen happy hours this early before and now finds herself mentally roaming her rolodex, wondering: "Who do I know that can meet me that early?!"

For anyone laid off by Bill Gates, here’s a good one: the Pearl bar in Bellevue, Wash. (15 min. from Microsoft headquarters in Redmond) offers half-priced cocktails, wine, beer and appetizers from 3 to 6pm.

The Garden Café, in the Innwood section of Manhattan up above 200th Street, offers its happy hour from 11am to 5pm, which includes an assortment of beers for $3.50 and wines for $5.

Garden Manager Nick Vallianatos said they changed the happy hour about a year ago to juice sales during their slowest time of day as their sales have fallen about 20 percent during this recession.

Morelli’s Gourmet Ice Cream in East Atlanta offers a “Sweet Take on the Hiring Freeze” — a free scoop of ice cream to the unemployed every Monday to Thursday from noon to 3pm.

They rotate flavors from day to day, including “The Pink Slip,” and “Unemployment Bana-fits.”

Morelli’s owner Donald Sargent has a very personal reason for offering this special to the unemployed.

“I was recently laid off myself. I was in pharmaceutical sales for years and then suddenly … no more,” Sargent explained. “Through Morelli’s, I’m able to provide a little comfort — and comfort food — to the unemployed during this economically-stressful time.”

And, he knows about needing a laugh when you’re unemployed.

“I think that people struggling to find employment will just have to smile while ordering a scoop of ‘Life’s Lemons,’” he quipped.

Sweeney’s Saloon in St. Paul, Minn., keeps it real with its “I’m So Dang Poor Poor Man’s Special,” daily from 11am to 3pm. The actual special varies from day to day but always includes a free soda.

But Sweeney’s is also a forward-thinking pub: It’s newest special is the “Now It’s a Recovery!” happy hour, offered Monday through Sunday, 3 to 6 pm. It includes $2.50 on select pints of beer and — wait for it — 50-cent tacos!

I’ll drink to that — Bartender, one Recovery Special, please!

Pony Treats:

Get Your Pink Slip On. It's that time again: The next Wall Street Pink Slip Party, where ex-Wall Streeters mingle with recruiters over resumes and cocktails, is being held on Wed., June 10 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm at City Winery in Manhattan.

Time to Do a Little Jobnobbing. And, on Thursday, JobNob is hosting a happy hour for startups and job seekersat 4:30pm at Jillian's at the Metreon in San Francisco.

It's Always Happy Hour in the Angst Corner. If you don't live in either New York or San Francisco and still have a lot of angst, head on over to Angst Corner, where you can share your stories — or just punch someone.

More From CNBC.com:

Correction:
After this article was first published, the Kitano hotel in New York clarified that its $8 special on beer, wine and appetizers ended last week. I guess if you're unemployed, you'll have to go elsewhere for your lucky 8 promise of prosperity!

Questions? Comments? Write to ponyblog@cnbc.com.

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