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I don’t want to sound disrespectful but back during Prohibition the United States of America was governed by a bunch of goobers. Just sniveling little paper pushing, play by the rules dorks with no vision.
You can wax poetic all you want about Woodrow Wilson’s accomplishments in government but on that Wikipedia page on the right hand side where it lists his various titles – 28th President of the U.S., 34th Governor of New Jersey (trash state), and 13th President of Princeton University (couldn’t get into Harvard, huh?) – we should also be listing the most important position ever held; narc. President Wilson was the O.G. narc.
Wilson will forever be known as the President who clamped down on the sale of alcohol nationwide. He is the man who ended fun for all American’s and forced hard working folks looking for a reprieve from factory work and whatever the hell else people did in the 20’s for money into illegal activity.
Prohibition in America has never made sense to me. What did lawmakers in D.C. really think was going to happen when they passed legislation saying everyday American’s couldn’t toss back a few frosty suds? That people would just lay down and submit? Drink fucking root beer? I highly doubt that, playboy.
Of course not. The people rebelled. They created a black market for booze and business boomed. Speakeasies became the place to be in cities all over the country. It was a place where you could grab a drink with relatively low risk of getting busted by the cops. For THIRTEEN YEARS, organized crime bootlegged booze and ran speakeasies to the delight of many. Thirteen fucking years we went in this country with a ban on alcohol. All I have to say is thank God for FDR and the New Deal, but that’s a civics lesson for another day.
The point is that speakeasies were the only place you could get a drink unless you knew someone that made moonshine in the woods behind their house. These speakeasies were extremely profitable and they were often hidden in basements or side rooms, a storefront or barber shop set up to act as a front to any Prohibition agents who might become wise to the whole deal.
Nowadays America knows where it’s bread is buttered. Alcohol sales are a cash cow in this country and the speakeasy is no longer a necessity. Yet every week it feels like I hear about another person I know visiting what they refer as a “speakeasy” simply because there’s a trap door inside of a barber shop or a convenience store that leads down to a bar. There are speakeasies popping up all over my city because we just cannot help ourselves. The speakeasy a fresh form of nostalgia that millennials just could not resist exploiting. They’re a fad like the slinky or the artisan cocktail. They’re just so…stupid I can’t believe that people want to spend money at these places.
A bar should not be considered a speakeasy just because you have to walk through a storefront to get to it. Just because you can order a “moonshine” from the mustachioed bartender doesn’t mean you should. It’s not actually moonshine anymore. It wasn’t bought from a guy in the boonies in Kentucky or Tennessee, it was made at a factory right next to the Smirnoff vodka or Jack Daniel’s whiskey. The speakeasy is not a secret if I can look it up on Yelp or Google and look at customer reviews from people who call it “an authentic experience.”
First of all, no one alive right now would know what it feels like to drink inside of an authentic speakeasy. Secondly, there is no need for the speakeasy. I understand that this is a gimmick. People like the idea of the hidden bar. But you’re not breaking any laws. You’re drinking legally. The hidden bar was created to hide the fact that you were drinking. There’s no need to hide that fact anymore. We don’t live in the Prohibition-era anymore, folks! Does it make you feel like Jay Gatsby walking down a flight of stairs and then opening a door up to see a bar with a mustachioed man behind the counter?
There are plenty of fools out there who think that this is a cool idea. But how cool is something when you can walk down the street to a bar openly advertising for alcoholic beverages and drink the same thing you would at the “speakeasy” for half of the price? It feels sort of like the “pop up” bar trend that is popular amongst people my age.
Does a trap door leading down to a bar in the basement of a storefront really make it any better than the hole in the wall that sells beers for 3 bucks a can? No. But people will go to the speakeasy because it’s a little bit different. It’s a new spot to get an Instagram picture off. And most importantly, the drinks are thirteen or fourteen bucks a piece and who doesn’t love paying for that?.
Image via Youtube