The return of the speakeasy as a nightlife staple

The drinks on Fly by Night's cocktail menu are pulled from the '70s disco era. The bar opens on June
The drinks on Fly by Night's cocktail menu are pulled from the '70s disco era. The bar opens on June / Keenan Thomas/Knoxville News Sentinel /

Nightclubs and bars remain a staple of any city’s nightlife. Patrons frequent establishments of all types, from the low key, hole-in-the wall bar, to the lavish nightclub with massive dance floors and bottle service. But there’s a specific type of venue that is making a comeback and it didn’t need prohibition to spur its return. That is the speakeasy, and these “secret” locations are here to stay.

For those not in the know, yes – there was a point in time in American history when it was illegal to sell, manufacture, and transport alcohol. That period was known as the Prohibition Era and lasted from 1920 to 1933. Speakeasies became popular venues during this time because they were secret bars where customers could get their fix on all the vices that were deemed illegal during the day. The purpose may have changed, but speakeasies are back and back with a vengeance.

Many cities throughout the United States have speakeasies that are hidden away from those in the know. Take The Backroom at Capo Italian Deli in Washington, D.C. Walk in the location on U Street and it seems like an everyday sandwich shop. But if you walk in there late on a weekday or weeknight, you’re bound to see several people walk into the freezer, or at least what should be the freezer area. Instead, there’s a beautiful bar at the back with tables, bartenders, DJs, and a dance floor. Add that as a side to your sandwich.

Nightlife today isn’t about soothing our vices without persecution. Instead, patrons go out to enjoy company with friends, partake in great food and drink, or be seen in the town. Many popular venues attract customers under the guise of being “exclusive” in some sort, and that practice has helped push the return of speakeasies. If you’re looking for a way to spice up your cycle of bars and clubs, look in your city to see if there are any speakeasies in your area. It’s a nice change-up when going out and a trump card when you’re trying to impress someone that is not in the know.

Next. Add these three drinks to your summer cocktail list. Three drinks to brighten up your summertime drinking. dark