30 Virtual Happy Hour Ideas, Games & Activities

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January 13, 2021

Welcome to our list of virtual happy hour ideas.

Virtual happy hours are social events held over video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Webex and Google Meet. The goal of these events is to have fun and build relationships between attendees. Virtual happy hour ideas are specific games, activities and themes that you can use to boost engagement further. Other names for these events include online happy hours and remote happy hours.

Virtual happy hours are a subset of virtual team building and are useful for virtual employee engagement.

This list includes:

And more 🙂

So, check out this list of fun ideas for virtual happy hours.

List of virtual happy hour games

The following list includes fun games to play during virtual happy hours. These games are designed to be five to fifteen minutes each, so you can run them quickly as part of a larger agenda.

1. MTV Cribs: Fridge Edition

MTV Cribs is a show where a camera crew follows a celebrity around their house. The celebrity shows off some of the house features and cool stuff they collect. “This is my third hot tub that I only use for parties”, you might hear these fancy people say.

MTV Cribs: Fridge Edition is just like the show but with fewer trophy display cases. For this virtual happy hour activity, challenge three of your attendees to do a virtual tour of their kitchen. Start with the counters, then go to the cupboards, and finally the big reveal: inside the fridge.

photo of person cleaning a fridge in anticipation of a virtual happy hour activity

Other people on the call should be an active audience; cheering, asking questions and shaming the hosts for their wilted lettuce. Record the sessions and archive them as a unique moment in organizational history.

2. Something in Common

Something in Common is an icebreaker game you can play during virtual happy hours. To start off, divide your people into breakout rooms with four or five people each. The group members have three minutes to find the three most unique things they have in common. The emphasis is on unique, because “we all have ears” is boring, but “we all cooked corn on the cob in the last week” is novel and interesting.

3. Virtual Happy Hour Bingo

Virtual Happy Hour Bingo is a type of Online Team Building Bingo.

One way to increase engagement during remote happy hours is to give your people something active to do throughout the session. Bingo fulfills this need nicely by providing prompts and clues for your people to listen for and check off throughout your call.

Here is a game board you can use:

virtual happy hour bingo
Right click + “save as” to download

Virtual Happy Hour bingo is a fun, easy and familiar way to integrate games into your virtual happy hour.

4. Virtual Happy Hour Trivia

A quick round of trivia is familiar, refreshing and a great way to encourage interaction on your next virtual happy hour.

For a successful round of trivia, you need:

  1. An engaging host.
  2. Good questions.
  3. A game format.

And that’s it; anything else like technology or similar resources is optional.

For the engaging host, we recommend asking for volunteers. The trivia host doesn’t have to be the event planner or manager; it could be any team member that wants to take on the role. Provide paid time for the person to prepare.

Here is a list of virtual happy hour trivia questions you can use:

Virtual happy hour trivia game questions
Click image to download PDF of 10 questions

And check out our post about how to play virtual happy hour trivia for rules and guidelines.

Most trivia adapts well to an online format, so you can do a variety of “name that tune” style trivia, pub trivia and more. One recommendation is try to include action items in your virtual happy hour trivia because sitting in front of a soul-sucking screen the entire time usually doesn’t maximize engagement.

The easiest way to make your own virtual happy hour trivia questions is to Google a subject that is relevant to your audience for “weird facts about _________” and then turn that list into multiple choice questions. For example, “weird facts about virtual happy hours” for a very meta approach.

If you prefer a more hands-off approach, then we can host your next virtual happy hour trivia for you.

virtual team trivia is a great virtual social event

Our virtual trivia sessions are 60 minutes, and available via Zoom, Webex, Meet and other platforms.

Learn more about Virtual Team Trivia.

5. “I’ll drink to that”

“I’ll drink to that” is a drinking game you can play during virtual happy hours, either with or without alcohol. Personally, I prefer ginger and turmeric tea.

To play this game, decide on a specific phrase that acts as a trigger to take a drink. The phrase should be both common and a little obscure. For example:

  • “oh my goodness”
  • “what do you think?”
  • “can everyone hear me?”

Each time you hear the phrase, everyone says “I’ll drink to that” and takes a sip of their drink.

6. The Question Game

Have you played the question game? Would you know if you did? How long do the questions go?

The answer to that last question is “as long as you can keep it up!”

Playing The Question Game is simple, challenging and fun. To play:

  1. One player asks another player a question.
  2. That player must respond with question directed at another player.
  3. That players must respond with a question and redirect as well.
  4. Keep going until the questions stop.

I played The Question Game tonight. It was fun; or was it?

7. The Statement Game

The Statement Game is the opposite of The Question Game.

To play, one person starts with a statement and then passes it to the next player. That person responds with a statement and continues the conversation. Your goal is both to continue the chain of logic and continue making statements as long as you can.

The game ends when someone asks a question or you fail to make a statement within five seconds.

8. Virtual Werewolf

Werewolf is a popular game where some players become wolves, others become villagers and you operate a little like the show Survivor voting people off the island. This game is great for virtual happy hours because no special equipment is involved; just a stable internet connection, a little strategy, and a whole lot of talking.

For the full rules, check out our list of online team building games.

9. Sneak It In

In the movie Super Troopers, characters play a game that involves working the word “meow” as many times as possible into a routine traffic stop. Sneak It In follows a similar premise. At the start of your virtual happy hour, each attendee receives a secret word such as “kumquat,” “railroad,” or “jet ski.” Players attempt to work the word into conversation as many times as possible without others noticing. Participants gain a point for every successful mention, but lose all points if found out.

This game is also conducive to team play. When the game begins, teams split up into breakout rooms to discuss strategy. Over the course of the game, each team tries to stealthily drop the buzzword while rooting out other teams’ words.

10. Noisy Charades

In regular charades, players mime an idea using only actions, no words. Noisy charades flips the concept so that players can only use words, but no actions.

A few examples of backwards charades prompts include:

  • The Macarena
  • Making pizza dough
  • Throwing a football
  • Shaking hands
  • Walking a tightrope
  • Lassoing an animal

Of course, the player cannot use the assigned word. To make the game more challenging, you can also ban adjacent words. For instance, with the pizza example, consider banning “tomato” and “mozzarella”, while you may ban “string”, “rope”, and “cowboy” for lasso.

Because human beings often rely on body language as a communication aid, describing concepts with only words can be deceptively hard.

11. Most Likely To

Most Likely To is a simple game. To play, the leader poses a prompt, and the other participants respond by voting on which teammate is most likely to perform that action.

Some sample most likely to prompts are:

  • Who is most likely to run away to join the circus?
  • Who is most likely to wind up on the news?
  • Who is most likely to help you move?
  • Who is most likely to win the lottery?
  • Who is most likely to have a movie made about their life?
  • Who is most likely to forget a birthday?
  • Who is most likely to visit Antarctica?
  • Who is most likely to assume the role of leader in a zombie apocalypse?
  • Who is most likely to believe that unicorns exist?

Web conference software makes the game a cinch, as you can prepare a poll template with all attendees’ names, and then cast, collect, and display votes instantly.

The player who collects the most votes each round must take a drink. If your team is not drinking that day, then have players perform a silly act like five jumping jacks.

Pro tip: Encourage attendees to discuss the reasoning behind their choices to stir up some debate, especially if someone votes differently from the rest of the pack.

List of virtual happy hour activities

Most games are activities, but not every activity is a game. This list includes fun activities that can enhance your next virtual happy hour.

12. Cocktail Shake-Up (Hosted)

Cocktail Shake-Up is a fully-facilitated virtual happy hour optimized for team building. During the event, the bartending-host teaches your team to make two prohibition-era style drinks and then leads a series of fun games. For example, your team might just play the World’s Classiest Drinking Game and do a real historical toast.

Virtual Cocktail Party banner

We’ve run hundreds of events, for companies like Apple, Amazon, Google and Netflix. We’d love to run a virtual happy hour for your team too.

Learn more about Cocktail Shake-Up.

13. Virtual Happy Hour Icebreakers

Starting a virtual happy hour with five minutes of ice breaker questions can drastically improve the tone of the entire experience. I recommend that you use fun icebreakers, like:

  • Where would you haunt for all eternity?
  • Pancakes of waffles?
  • Which song can you listen to over and over again?
  • On a scale of 1 – 5, how are your guacamole making skills and why?

Here is a full list of icebreaker questions for virtual meetings.

Quick tip: Have each participant in the virtual happy hour icebreakers announce the next person up before sharing an answer. Virtual calls lack the visual cue of standing in a circle, so you need to be very deliberate about the order.

14. Compliment Train

Nothing quite beats hearing praise about ourselves, other than maybe heaping it on others. For the compliment train, each person takes a turn complimenting another attendee, and then that person choose someone that hasn’t been complimented yet to give their own.

The Compliment Train is a fun way to encourage employee appreciation and recognition, and is effective because it happens at a peer level.

15. Virtual Happy Hour Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts can be a fun way to unite your people around a common cause. That cause it usually solving clues, and racing against time to beat the other teams. This format doesn’t work very well for virtual happy hours which are typically short in duration, and hard to collaborate during.

Instead, do a lightning round scavenger hunt:

  1. Organize your people into teams for point allocation.
  2. Announce a series of objects one by one.
  3. Attendees race to find the object.
  4. Players win points for their team by being the first to show the object on screen.

For example, you could prompt your people to find a curling iron, a go-to breakfast item, or their favorite socks. Rinse and repeat until the fun dries up.

Pro tip: Instead of gathering items like mugs and dictionaries, try to select items that have some personal affinity. For example, you could ask participants to grab their favorite mug, or the last book they read. These personal connections provide opportunity to share and make connections.

For a successful hunt, you really just need a list of items and rules, so here is our resource with both: How to Run a Virtual Scavenger Hunt.

16. The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Young Michael once called a radio station and asked that the host play The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Nylons. I was a fool that hadn’t yet been exposed to the harsh realities of cover songs.

Nonetheless, I would like to share with you one of the modestly fun remote happy hour activities, known as The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Here are the rules:

  1. The host plays the infamous song from my radio-troubled childhood.
  2. Encourage your attendees to sing-a-long with the lyrics.
  3. Every time The Tokens say the words “the lion sleeps tonight”, everyone closes their eyes and simulates sleep.
  4. The last person to open their eyes each time gets 1 point. If the song says the lion phrase again before you open your eyes then you lose 5 points, and can go negative.

Here is The Lion Sleeps Tonight for your reference:

You can do this activity with other songs too, but Another One Bites the Dust is less fun. Depending on your squad, “sippin’ on gin and juice” could be a hit.

17. Murder Mystery

Murder Mystery game mechanics work well in virtual conference rooms because the experience is mostly talking, listening and playing detective. You can plan your own Murder Mystery, get one out of a box, or work with us to do a Murder in Ancient Egypt themed event.

Murder in Ancient Egypt

Murder in Ancient Egypt is a challenging event, where your team races to complete puzzles and solve clues. The event is 90 minutes, and perfect for promoting remote team engagement.

Learn more about Murder in Ancient Egypt.

18. Ocean’s 5 or So

Ocean’s 11 is a heist movie that includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and some other fancy people. George Clooney, like me, was recently spotted in the Canary Islands.

Ocean’s 5 or So is a virtual happy hour activity that explores similar concepts. For this activity, assign your people to small breakout rooms with around five people. Each group must develop a wildly ambitious heist of a high-profile target. When you bring everyone back to the main room, have the groups present their devious plans and vote on which one is most likely to succeed.

19. Staring Contests

One idea for virtual happy hours is to hold a staring contest. Choose two people to face off and see who blinks first. The winner then competes against the next person and so on. A staring contest often ends super quickly, so you should combine this idea with others on the list.

20. Useless Talent Show

Most folks have a useless talent or two, like wiggling ears or nose-whistling the Star-Spangled-Banner. However, they rarely get the chance to show these abilities off. A useless talent show puts these silly skills on display by having each participant share a pointless talent. No two participants can share the same skill, so repeats must think of a new silly ability to unveil.

Some examples of useless talents are:

  • Double-jointed features
  • Spinning a coin
  • Juggling
  • Reciting movies from memory
  • Animal impressions

Even if these skills have no practical applications, the peer applause and laughter that follows can quickly boost morale.

21. Dance Tag

Dance Tag is an activity to get your crew moving. The first player will do a dance move, then call out the name of another attendee. The new “it” person will repeat the first player’s move, perform a new move, and then call on another teammate. The exercise continues, with every player performing the move of the previous person and a daring new move, until all players have had a turn, the song ends, or the gang gets tired of grooving. Record the video call to save and replay the results.

To up the challenge, you can ask players to perform every preceding move in sequence. Anyone who botches the order is out.

22. Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

The problem with having a crazy story is that you usually have to wait for the right opening to tell the unbelievable tale. Truth is Stranger than Fiction is a virtual happy hour activity that invites guests to tell strange and wacky stories.

To get the conversation rolling, consider the following prompts:

  • What story do you always want to tell, but rarely get the chance?
  • What is the strangest coincidence that has ever happened to you, or that you have ever heard of?
  • What story sounds like it is made up, even if it is not?
  • What is the most incredible fact that you know?

These outlandish tales and topics that stem from these prompts are sure to keep your conversation lively and interesting.

List of virtual happy hour themes

An easy way to increase excitement and engagement for virtual happy hours is to give them a theme. For example, you could do an 80s party, a Halloween dress up, or high tea.

23. 80s Party

In the early 2000s, retro 80s parties were all the rage on college campuses across North America. Now, you can have your Vanilla Ice and eat it too, with an online 80s Party during your next virtual happy hour.

A successful 80s themed party has several key elements:

  1. 80s music. Your playlist will probably include Michael Jackson, MC Hammer and Kris Kross.
  2. 80s clothing. Bring your colorful swag and shiny bling.
  3. 80s hairdos. You don’t have to cut your hair into a mullet, but you could.

Here is some inspiration for your party:

You could choose another decade for your virtual happy hour theme too, for example the 50s.

24. Halloween Anytime

In the real world, sometimes it is Halloween and sometimes it isn’t. Online, you can have Halloween any damn time you please.

Halloween Any Time is a way to do virtual happy hours with a haunted aesthetic. Here is how it works:

  1. Encourage your team members to dress up in Halloween costumes.
  2. Prepare spooky backgrounds for the virtual conference call.
  3. Ask icebreaker questions like “where would you haunt for all of eternity?
  4. Tell ghost stories.

Halloween Any time is a fun way to get together that breaks the normal expectations of what a virtual happy should be. You can do iterations on this idea with Christmas Any Time or Thanksgiving Any Time, but Halloween is better.

For more spooky happy hour inspiration, check out our list of virtual Halloween party ideas.

25. Black Tie Event

Just because your event is virtual, doesn’t mean you can’t dress up. For your “black tie” virtual happy hour theme, nobody actually has to wear a black tie. Instead, encourage your attendees to:

  • Wear a suit and tie, dress or other formal clothing.
  • Prepare a small plate of bougie appetizers.
  • Make a fancy people drink, like a Manhattan or scotch on the rocks.
  • Include icebreakers like “which famous celebrity would sing at your wedding?”

Black Tie themed events can also be excellent for virtual fundraising.

26. Nicolas Cage Movies

The one thing that is definitely true of Nicolas Cage movies is that there are a lot of them. For example: Face/Off, Con Air, and National Treasure. For this themed virtual happy hour your teammates can embrace their inner Cage and celebrate his work.

Ideas:

  • Dress up like Nicolas Cage from your favorite movie.
  • Play a game of “identify which movie the quote is from”.
  • Do Nicolas Cage themed trivia.
  • Watch a Nicolas Cage movie together.
  • Do a National Treasure inspired virtual scavenger hunt.

While this theme is obviously very Nicolas Cage focused, it doesn’t have to be. You could replace the actor’s name with Sylvester Stallone, Mariah Carey, Isaac Asimov, or anyone else with prolific work.

27. Virtual Holiday Party Theme

My colleague, Carly, is a little obsessed with Christmas. Chances are that someone on your team is too, or maybe the holidays are just approaching. Either way, a virtual holiday party themed happy hour can be a great way to connect your people in the holiday spirit.

For this theme:

  • Send cute holiday cards in advance.
  • Start with holiday themed music, like Jingle Bells and Twelve Days of Christmas.
  • Include an ugly holiday sweater competition.
  • Ask icebreakers like, “what is your earliest memory of the holidays?”

Check our our list of virtual holiday party ideas for more inspiration.

28. Random New Year’s Eve

With champagne free-flowing, New Year’s Eve is the booziest of the holidays, and thus, totally suitable as the theme for a virtual happy hour.

Regardless of whether January is far away, your team can have the best New Year’s Eve party ever by following these steps:

  1. Get glammed up in cocktail dresses, suits, and plenty of sparkle.
  2. Have confetti and noisemakers handy.
  3. Countdown from ten during the call.
  4. Cheer “Happy New Years!”
  5. Share resolutions and reflections.

A New Year’s theme is ideal for any time the team needs re-energizing or a fresh start.

29. International Delight

Sharing a drink with coworkers and friends is an internationally beloved pastime, and you can pay tribute to that fact by hosting an international-themed happy hour.

International online happy hour ideas include:

  • Saying cheers in different languages
  • Enjoying cocktails and bar food from around the world
  • Swapping travel stories
  • Compiling slideshows of teammate vacation pictures
  • Competing in geography and cultural trivia

Travel and world culture are popular passions, so choosing this theme lets teammates connect and bond over shared wanderlust.

30. Life’s a Beach

The carefree atmosphere of a beach is the perfect backdrop to help your crew unwind. By throwing a beach-themed happy hour, you capture all the ease and fun of summer, while also relaxing with a drink in hand.

Some beach-friendly virtual happy hour ideas include:

  • Setting Zoom backgrounds to tropical locations
  • Curating a summery playlist with songs like Wipeout by the Surfaris, California Girls by Katy Perry, and anything by the Beach Boys
  • Mixing and sipping exotic cocktails like Mai Tais, Daiquiris, and Piña Coladas. Don’t forget the paper umbrellas!
  • Turning nautical games like Battleship and Ships and Sailors into drinking games
  • Running a scavenger hunt, where players scrounge up items like seashells, dolphin toys, and sunscreen

If you live in a colder climate, then this theme is an especially great way to chase away the crew’s midwinter blues.

Conclusion

Well, that’s our list of virtual happy hour ideas! You can check out our posts on video conference games, fun games to play on Webex and the best Zoom Games for adults for more ideas.

You can develop your own activities and games to play during online happy hours too. Nearly anything framed as a fun game can be a quick way to engage your people.

FAQ: Virtual Happy Hours

Here are some of the common questions about virtual happy hours, and our answers to each one.

What is a virtual happy hour?

A virtual happy hour is an online social event, usually held over video meeting platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Webex. These virtual events are similar to their non-virtual counterparts, and usually include icebreakers, simple games and activities and drinks. It is common to adopt a theme for your virtual happy hour, such as 80s, Christmas, or Sci-Fi. These events are also known as remote happy hours or online happy hours.

What are virtual happy hour games?

Virtual happy hour games are fun games to play with coworkers or other attendees at your remote event. For example, these games might include Something in Common, The Question Game, or virtual team trivia.

What are the best virtual happy hour games?

The best virtual happy hour games are ones that encourage participation from all attendees. For example, you can’t complete Something in Common unless everyone contributes. The ideal length for a game is 10 to 15 minutes, and you can plan several games for your event, which will keep the momentum going.

How can you increase engagement at a virtual happy hour?

One of the best ways to increase engagement at a virtual happy hour is to use breakout rooms. Most major video meeting platforms have breakout room features, where you temporarily separate groups of people from the main event. These breakout rooms provide opportunity for small group dynamics, which encourages participation, especially for introverts. Another way to increase engagement at your remote happy hour is to require video and audio both be on at all times.

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Author: Michael Alexis

CEO of teambuilding.com. I write about my experience working with and leading remote teams since 2010.

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