On January 16, 1920, America started one of its most failed experiments of all time: the prohibition of alcohol. The measure initially started as a way to keep American WW1 G.I.’s off the booze.
The temperance movement soon spiraled out of control into a debauched mess of organized crime, corrupt officials, and public scorn. One positive thing that prohibition did spawn however was the speakeasy.
The best speakeasy was a secret bar that served strong libations during the dark times of prohibition. Nowadays there are still speakeasy-themed bars around many of which are secret bars in Las Vegas. Read on to learn more.
What Makes a Speakeasy?
Back in the days of prohibition, the number one factor that all speakeasies had in common was their clandestine nature. Speakeasies were often located behind a front business and operated only at odd hours.
Many times a patron would be asked a specific password at the door by the bouncer which would change often enough to stay ahead of the authorities. Speakeasies would serve all manners of bootleg alcohol for premium prices.
Who Coined The Term “Speakeasy”?
Believe it or not, the term “speakeasy” didn’t come about during prohibition. It predates prohibition back to the year 1889. At the turn of the century, American journalist Samuel Hudson coined the term.
It was in reference to the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania bar ban that limited the amount of alcohol serving establishments within city limits. According to lore, Samuel Hudson was urged to “speakeasy” due to the presence of police.
Where Can I Find a Speakeasy Near Me?
Most major metropolitan areas should have a speakeasy-themed bar within striking distance for the motivated historically-conscious drinker. If you are one of them you may want to do some digging and see what’s in your local area.
If you want to visit some of the very best speakeasies that America has to offer your best bet is to book a plane ticket to Las Vegas. The Las Vegas speakeasy scene is one of the most diverse in the nation and you have many options.
The Las Vegas Speakeasy Scene
Booking a trip to Las Vegas is affordable from almost any location in the United States. Once there you can head out and check out all of the secret bars Las Vegas has to offer. Many Las Vegas secret bars are speakeasy-themed.
When selecting among your many options for retro speakeasy bars in the Las Vegas metropolitan area make sure to consider the following. Picking the right criteria will allow you to have the most enjoyable experience possible.
Some speakeasy enthusiasts may be satisfied with the speakeasy theme in itself. They may not need anything else than the overall 1920’s ambiance. Others may want more specific entertainment options.
Things like a burlesque show, gangster vs. cop reenactments, or live music appropriate to the period are a few things to consider. While researching speakeasy bars in Vegas see what types of entertainment they have.
What type of drinks do you prefer when you go out to a party? Some speakeasy bars center more on hard alcohol such as whiskey while others are more beer or cider-focused.
The best speakeasy will have a period-appropriate drink menu. They feature as many pre-prohibition era drinks as possible. Many authentic speakeasies have moonshine for sale as well. Moonshine is homemade alcohol you can buy.
Many authentic speakeasies back in the ’20s would pawn themselves off as restaurants that didn’t serve booze. As a side-effect, they would have amazing mouth-watering dishes that would take attention off their illicit drink menu.
The same can be said for the best speakeasies in Las Vegas. There is no reason why you can’t dine in style on some great food at a speakeasy bar. Be prepared for some retro fare and you won’t be disappointed.
The Extent of Historical Immersion
Some speakeasy bars take the idea of full historical immersion very seriously. Bartenders, servers, and other actors won’t break character for anything but an emergency. Picture going to a renaissance fair and translating it to the 1920s.
Other speakeasy bars are looser when it comes to historical immersion. They may only have an overall speakeasy ambiance or vibe, but not get too wrapped up in. Choose what best fits your tastes for an outing.
Type of Outing
Are you going out on the town with a few close friends, or are you planning on having a huge event? If the latter is true you may want to think about renting out a speakeasy that specializes in things such as a bachelor party.
Many speakeasies tend to be on the smaller side so make sure to take in their maximum capacity when orchestrating your event. Contacting the establishment well ahead of time is always a good idea.
Planning a Private Tasting
Many speakeasy bars have extensive libraries of whiskeys, beers, and rare drinks. If you want to plan a private tasting to sample all of these options under the guidance of an expert you may want to plan a private tasting.
Make sure to contact your chosen speakeasy beforehand to ensure that they can cater to a private tasting event. If they do, you will sample the very best that the Las Vegas speakeasy scene has to offer.
Enjoy Some Hooch in Style
If you have always been a fan of the 1920’s prohibition culture you owe it to yourself to visit a real-life speakeasy. While alcohol remains legal in the majority of places in the United States, speakeasy culture is alive and well.
If you want to visit one of the very best speakeasies that Las Vegas has to offer you need to contact us today. Say the password at the door and get ready for a swanky good time soaked in prohibition-era glamor.