What is the 1920’s Speakeasy?
In 1920, the 18th Amendment was passed making the manufacture and sale of alcohol illegal. But many people in this time of ‘Prohibition‘ continued to drink and to do so they visited private establishments called “Speakeasies”. Gangsters made enormous amounts of money from supplying illegal liquor to these bars.
Despite very early signs of success, including a decline in arrests for drunkenness and a reported 30 percent drop in alcohol consumption, those who wanted to keep drinking found ever-more inventive ways to do it! The illegal manufacturing and sale of liquor (known as “bootlegging”) went on throughout the decade, along with the operation of “speakeasies” (stores or nightclubs selling alcohol), the smuggling of alcohol across state lines and the informal production of liquor (“moonshine” or “bathtub gin”) in private homes.
Because Prohibition banned only the manufacturing, sale, and transport – but not possession or consuming of alcohol, some people and institutions who had bought or made liquor prior to the passage of the 18th Amendment were able to continue to serve it throughout the prohibition period legally.
Even prominent citizens and politicians later admitted to having used alcohol during Prohibition. President Harding kept the White House well stocked with bootleg liquor, though, as a Senator, he had voted for Prohibition. This discrepancy between legality and actual practice led to widespread contempt for authority. Over time, more people drank illegally and so money ended up in gangsters’ pockets.
In addition, the Prohibition era encouraged the rise of criminal activity associated with bootlegging. The most notorious example was the Chicago gangster Al Capone, who earned a staggering $60 million annually from bootleg operations and speakeasies. Such illegal operations fuelled a corresponding rise in gang violence, including the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago in 1929, in which several men dressed as policemen (and believed to be have associated with Capone) shot and killed a group of men in an enemy gang.
Every passing year the number of repeal organizations and demand for repeal increased. In 1932, the Democratic Party’s platform included a promise to repeal Prohibition, and Franklin Roosevelt ran for President promising to repeal of federal Prohibition laws. By then, an estimated three quarters of American voters, and an estimated forty-six states, favoured repeal.
In 1933, the legislatures of the states ratified the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed Amendment XVIII and prohibited only the violations of laws that individual states had in regard to “intoxicating liquors”. Federal Prohibitionary laws were then repealed. Some States, however, continued Prohibition within their own jurisdictions. Almost two-thirds of the states adopted some form of local option which enabled residents to vote for or against local Prohibition; therefore, for a time, 38% of Americans still lived in areas with Prohibition. By 1966, however, all states had fully repealed their state-level Prohibition laws.
So come and celebrate the repeal at the Diamond Live Lounge! This will be a fantastic occasion to go vintage and dress up 1920’s style. Think The Great Gatsby, Chicago, Gangsters, Molls, Fringe, Feathers, Pearls, Pinstripes, Spats, knee stockings & Hats (scroll down for ideas)! We’ll be showing outfit ideas on our Social Media pages and more, follow us to see it all! You can Charleston the night away and enjoy LIVE burlesque & dance performances throughout the night while drinking prohibition-style cocktails.
Join us for an evening of jazz age decadence at the Diamond Live Lounge. If you love the Roaring 20’s and the Prohibition Era…you won’t want to miss this! Follow the link for tickets:
Don’t know what to put on your noggin? Here’s a few ideas fashioned by some familiar celebrity heads.
1920’s Garden Hat 1920’s Fedora Hat
1920’s Muskerteer Hat 1920’s Flat Cap Hat
1920’s Tam O’Shanter Hat 1920’s Straw Boater Hat
January 16th, 2017