A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 14, 2009
“It’s five o’clock somewhere” (drinking saying)

Five o’clock is when many people get out of work and when many bars open. “It’s five o’clock somewhere” is a drinking expression—an old excuse that it’s always time for a drink. “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” was a 2003 hit song for Alan Jackson.

American comedian Red Skelton (1913-1997) was reported to be celebrating his 50th birthday in 1959. The Oakland (CA) Tribune printed a Skelton joke on July 21, 1959:

“On drinking: ‘I don’t drink this early in the day but what the heck, it must be 5 o’clock somewhere in the world.’”

“It’s happy hour somewhere” is a variation of the saying that became popular in the 1980s and 1990s. “Putting vodka in my juice, because it’s Russia somewhere” was cited in 2012. A similar saying about the desire to eat breakfast foods at other times is “It’s breakfast time somewhere,” and a similar saying about a desire to eat cake is “I eat cake because it’s somebody’s birthday somewhere”

“Kiss me. It’s midnight somewhere” is a New Year’s Eve saying.


Wikipedia: Red Skelton
Richard “Red” Skelton (July 18, 1913 – September 17, 1997) was an American comedy entertainer. He was best known for his national radio and television acts between 1937 and 1971, and as host of the television program The Red Skelton Show. He has stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in radio and television, and also appeared in burlesque, vaudeville, films, nightclubs, and casinos, all while he pursued an entirely separate career as an artist.

Wikipedia: It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere
“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” is a song sung by Alan Jackson with Jimmy Buffett, and written by Jim “Moose” Brown and Don Rollins. The title refers to a popular expression used to justify drinking at any time of day, given that somewhere in the world it’s 5pm (an acceptable time to start drinking). The song was released by EMI April Music Inc., R. Joseph Publishing, Sea Gayle Music, and Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. in Arista Nashville in 2003. The song spent eight non-consecutive weeks at Number One on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in summer of 2003. In addition, the song hit number 17 on the US Hot 100, making it the biggest pop hit for either performer. On November 5, 2003, it also won the Country Music Association (CMA) Award for Vocal Event of the Year. It is also Buffett’s only Number One hit.

21 July 1959, Oakland (CA) Tribune, “These TV People” by Bill Fiset, pg. 19, col. 1:
(American comedian Red Skelton, 1913-1997. This article, however, states he was born in 1909.—ed.)
Red Skelton was celebrating his 50th birthday by doing three shows at the Riviera Hotel—a dinner show at 8 p.m., a midnight show and a third at 2:30 a.m.
(...)
On drinking: “I don’t drink this early in the day but what the heck, it must be 5 o’clock somewhere in the world.”

31 July 1959, Kansas City (MO) Star, “Skelton, 50, Keep ‘Em Laughing” (North American Newspaper Alliance), pg. 25, col. 1:
(American comedian Red Skelton, 1913-1997. This article, however, states he was born in 1909.—ed.)
On drinking: “I don’t drink this early in the day, but what the heck. It must be 5 o’clock somewhere in the world.”

1 December 1963, The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ), “Banter Lines” by Vic Wilmot, pg. F-13, col. 1:
IT’S A TOAST IN ANY LANGUAGE: Ad man Jim Hernly was bouncing around Central Avenue at a happy gait when he crossed paths with an old school chum. Figuring the occasion should be duly honored, the ol’ school chum suggested—what else—a drink. “At 11 a.m.?” Hernly grimaced. “Well, it’s 5 o’clock SOMEwhere,” replied the old buddy. They didn’t argue the point any longer.

5 March 1964, Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI), “The Girls” cartoon, sec. 2, pg. 2, col. 1:
(Two ladies are sitting at a table, looking at menus—ed.)
“I promised my doctor that once I’ve had my lunch I wouldn’t eat again until six o’clock, but I’m sure it’s six o’clock somewhere.”

2 December 1966, Toronto (ON) Daily Star, “Too bad granddad couldn’t be here for Sonny’s birth” by Gary Lautens, pg. 3, col. 1:
“Booze? Never touch the stuff before 5 o’clock. But I guess it must be 5 o’clock somewhere. Maybe just a small one.”

Google Books
Billy Graham, and seven who were saved
By Lewis W. Gillenson
New York, NY: Trident Press
1967
Pg. 129:
He told himself it was always five o’clock somewhere in the world (London, Rome, Istanbul) so if he wanted a drink at noon his time he always managed to find a part of the world where it was five o’clock.

Google Books
Listening to America:
A traveler rediscovers his country

By Bill D. Moyers
New York, NY: Harper’s Magazine Press
1971
Pg. 142:
“The doctor said he could have bourbon at five o’clock every day. I let him have a little three times a day. I look at my watch at three different times and figure it’s five o’clock somewhere in the world.”

Google Books
McBee’s Station
By Elise Sanguinetti
New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston
1971
Pg. 128:
“Well, well, well,” she said cheerily, “already time for the cocktail hour, is it? What is it the old judge used to say: ‘It must be five o’clock somewhere in the world.’”

23 October 1974, El Paso (TX) Herald-Post, “The Bottle’s Mouth” by Norton Mockridge, pg. E3, cols. 1-2:
Robert Benchley authored a piece in the book (The Booze Book—The Joy of Drink, edited by Ralph Schoenstein—ed.), and that reminded Mr. Schoenstein of his favorite cocktail-hour story. Seems that Harry Truman went to the bar in a certain club early one afternoon and asked for a bourbon and water.

“I’m sorry,” said the head of the club, “but the bar doesn’t open till five o’clock.”

“Fine,” said Harry. “bring me the drink. It’s five o’clock somewhere.”

Google Books
Witness to Power
By Marquis William Childs
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
1975
Pg. 45:
In fact, it dampened any exchange until, finally, the President said in a slightly more cheery vein, “Well, it must be five o’clock somewhere; let’s have a drink.”

OCLC WorldCat record
Doin’ my thing
Author: Hank Thompson
Publisher: Los Angeles, CA : ABC Dot Records, 1977.
Edition/Format: Musical LP : Country music : English
Contents: Cheaters never win (2:31)—Window in my heart (2:44)—If I had an ounce of sense (2:46)—Time wounds all heels (2:45)—It’s five o’clock somewhere (2:40)

OCLC WorldCat record
It’s five o’clock somewhere
Author: Slash, (Musician); Slash’s Snakepit (Musical group)
Publisher: Los Angeles, CA : Geffen, 1995.
Edition/Format: Musical CD : Rock music : English

Google Books
Let’s Go Britain & Ireland 1998
By Let’s Go, Inc.
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
1998
Pg. 116:
For an early pint, try one of the pubs around Smithfield, a meat and poultry wholesale market in business since the 12th century; some surrounding pubs open at 7am. What the hell, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

Deal and Coupon Forums
dianemarie
03-02-2001, 03:51 PM
~It’s 5 o’clock somewhere~

Ceramic Tile Advice Forums
Rob Z
08-26-2001, 03:43 PM
Well, as grandpa always said..."It’s five o’clock somewhere”.

OCLC WorldCat record
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere : the global guide to fabulous cocktails
Author: Colleen Mullaney
Publisher: New York : Sixth & Spring Books, 2008.
Edition/Format: Book : English : 1st ed
Summary: A collection of 60 cocktails from around the world, including the biggest hotels and the smallest corners of the globe. Includes: recipes and secrets to becoming a master mixologist; each destination’s quintessential cocktail; bar snack suggestions; fun facts about the drink’s destination or origin; a cocktail music playlist. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, October 14, 2009 • Permalink