For the majority of the patrons at Bull & Bear on Friday night, the upscale locale served as a place to unwind after a long work week. But two seats on the Lexington Ave. side of the bar were reserved for the usual customers, and they weren’t consuming anything but soda and water during commercial breaks.
Rebecca Gomez and Cody Willard host “Happy Hour” on Fox Business Network, live every weeknight from 5-6 PM EST at Bull & Bear in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
When Fox Business decided to produce a show in a New York City bar, Bull & Bear was an obvious choice. Adorned with a large running ticker on the wall, a bull and bear statue atop the mahogany bar and a patronage more Wall Street than Midtown, the location oozes Biz.
In fact, the taping was largely ignored. At 5pm, with the bar only about three quarters full, some of the patrons stared intently as the show began. But by 5:30, the spacious square bar bustled with more than 100 chattering people, and the focus was more on happy hour than “Happy Hour.”
Still, the bar setting provides a unique backdrop for a show about money.
“I’m used to the studio that is much more structured,” Gomez said. “The atmosphere contributes to the energy of the show.”
Willard agreed. “The idea of doing it in a bar is to demystify it,” he said. “We want to translate it for the average business guy sitting at home trying to figure out what he’s doing with his life.”
And on set, a large tip jar behind the hosts serves as a punishment for those who use too much business-speak. For every highbrow economic reference, the host or guest must contribute two dollars to the jar and explain themselves fully.
Gomez has reported and anchored for Fox News in various capacities since its inception in 1996. Willard’s background differs entirely, with interests in everything from his own investment management company to his rock band, “Museum of the Horse.” The odd pairing make for “controlled chaos” according to Willard, with Gomez being the “control” and Willard being the “chaos.”
The bar references abound throughout the show. Segments are never “Coming Up,” they’re “On Tap.” A lightening round is “Quick Shots.” The show closes with “Last Call.”
And after “Last Call” on Friday, there are quick good byes as the hosts and crew end the week. Even with qualifiers like “We don’t drink…during the show,” Willard and Gomez do not indulge in a convenient post-show beverage. “We always say the last place we want to be after the show is in a bar,” said Willard.
— This story was reported by Steve Krakauer for TVNewser.