Why Prohibition Era Bars Were Called ‘Speakeasies’?

Last time we talked about Why It Wasn’t Illegal To Drink Alcohol During Prohibition, but as it turns out, there are a lot of unanswered questions about prohibition. Like, for example, the name of illegal bars: why were they called ‘speakeasies’?

Well, wonder no more – you useless info junkie, because we have the answer. Here’s how it goes.

During prohibition, selling, manufacturing or transporting alcoholic beverages was forbidden by the 18th Amendment. But, of course, illegal bars could be found everywhere throughout the US. These bars were often located in the attic, basement or backroom of another legitimate business. Cafes, soda shops, flower shops and funeral homes were all known to have housed speakeasies. (the article continues after the ad)

To enter the speakeasy, one had to be familiar with a special knock or a secret password. Because patrons had to whisper a password in order to get into the establishment and those who knew of one’s existence were suppose to “speak easy” or stay quite about both its location and as not to alert the neighbors, they were cleverly nicknamed “speakeasies” – hence the origin of the name!

Today, and especially after the cocktail renaissance of the last decade, there are still bars that are named “speakeasies”. PDT in New York, Bourbon & Branch in San Fransisco, Noble Experiment in San Diego are some of the most famous ones in the US. The term now refers to retro, prohibition-style bars.

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: Here’s Why It Wasn’t Illegal To Drink Alcohol During Prohibition  

Photo: Wikimedia
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: History Brief: Speakeasies | Harper, Douglas. “speakeasy”. Online Etymology Dictionary | Facts about Speakeasies: Prohibition History for Kids

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