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The History of Speakeasies and Prohibition in Los Angeles: A Deep Dive into LA's Hidden Bars

In the golden age of jazz, flappers, and men in fedoras, a revolution brewed in the cellars and backrooms of the City of Angels. With the nation under the grips of Prohibition, the birth of speakeasies and hidden bars was an inevitable response to a city thirsty for forbidden libations. Join us at Fun Date Idea as we raise our glasses to the captivating history of speakeasies and Prohibition in Los Angeles.

The Dawn of Prohibition

On January 17, 1920, the Volstead Act plunged America into the era of Prohibition. Following the 18th Amendment, this federal law was intended to curb the nation's excessive drinking habits. However, it triggered a paradoxical effect - the birth of a secretive, energetic, and deeply thrilling underground bar culture.

Los Angeles Under the Dry Law

While some parts of the country were succumbing to the dry law, the City of Angels was not going to be left high and dry. The city's sun-drenched coastline and easy access to Canada and Mexico made it a prime spot for smuggling booze.

If you scratched beneath the surface of the glitz and glamor of early Hollywood, you would find an intricate network of underground tunnels. These served as secret passageways for bootleggers, ensuring the flow of alcohol to a city unwilling to let go of its libations.

The Birth of Speakeasies

As law enforcement battled bootleggers on the streets, another phenomenon was shaping LA's nightlife - the speakeasy. These hidden bars, aptly named for the patrons' tendency to 'speak easy' or quietly to avoid attention, were clandestine establishments that illegally served alcohol during the Prohibition era. The patrons needed passwords to enter these elusive havens of liquor, music, and dance.

LA’s Famous Speakeasies: Icons of Defiance

King Eddy Saloon Located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, King Eddy Saloon was a legitimate piano store on the surface. However, the basement held the real magic. It was a speakeasy where patrons reveled in drinks and music.

The Cocoanut Grove Inside the posh Ambassador Hotel, this nightclub quickly gained notoriety as a speakeasy. The Cocoanut Grove hosted some of the era's most famous acts and celebrities, from Frank Sinatra to the Marx Brothers, under the disguise of a regular supper club.

The Townhouse and Del Monte Speakeasy This Venice bar served as a grocery store on the ground floor, while the basement was a speakeasy that delivered booze via underground tunnels from the ocean. Today, the Del Monte Speakeasy continues to operate in the basement of the Townhouse.

From Speakeasies to Modern Hidden Bars

With the repeal of the Volstead Act in 1933, the clandestine speakeasies re-emerged as legitimate establishments. However, the allure of the hidden, the hush-hush, and the thrill of the illicit never really disappeared. Today, Los Angeles boasts a vibrant scene of hidden bars and speakeasies that continue to charm patrons with their mystery and history.

Experience a taste of the Prohibition era with Fun Date Idea's hidden bars and speakeasy experiences. From a thrilling '20s themed soiree to an exploration of the city's secretive watering holes, we bring the golden age of speakeasies to the present day.

The Legacy of Prohibition and Speakeasies in Los Angeles

What Prohibition inadvertently created was a culture of resilience, ingenuity, and a taste for the secretive and seductive that remains deeply ingrained in Los Angeles' social fabric. Today, LA's love for hidden bars and speakeasies is not just about enjoying a clandestine cocktail. It's about stepping back in time, immersing in a rich history, and celebrating the spirit of rebellion that helped shape the city.

The Varnish Tucked away at the back of Cole's, one of LA's oldest public houses, The Varnish is a testament to the enduring allure of the speakeasy. This modern-day hidden bar retains an air of old-world charm and secrecy reminiscent of its Prohibition predecessors.

La Descarga Known for its Cuban-inspired ambiance, La Descarga is more than just a hidden bar. It's an experiential journey. The entrance is a clandestine wardrobe, reminiscent of Prohibition-era speakeasies' hidden entrances.

Experience these stunning throwbacks to a bygone era and more with Fun Date Idea's exciting LA speakeasy experiences.

Final Thoughts

The spirit of Prohibition and speakeasies lives on in the soul of Los Angeles. The city continues to embrace its past, turning history into a timeless experience in its hidden bars and speakeasies. This intriguing chapter of LA's history is a testament to the city's irrepressible spirit and love for good times.

Join us at Fun Date Idea to explore this captivating side of LA's history. Our expertly curated hidden bars and speakeasy experiences let you step back in time, sip on vintage cocktails, and unravel stories that have shaped LA's nightlife culture.

From Prohibition-era hideouts to modern hideaways, we promise a night full of discovery, charm, and of course, delightful libations. So, come along, immerse yourself in the aura of mystery and enjoy a slice of LA's history that continues to enchant and captivate.


1. What is Prohibition? Prohibition was a federal law active from 1920 to 1933 in the United States that banned the manufacturing, selling, and transporting of alcoholic beverages.

2. What are speakeasies? Speakeasies were secret bars or clubs that illegally served alcohol during the Prohibition era. The term comes from the practice of patrons speaking quietly or 'easy' to avoid drawing attention.

3. What is the significance of speakeasies in Los Angeles? Speakeasies are an integral part of LA's history. They were born out of resistance to the Volstead Act, and they formed an underground culture of music, dance, and socialization. Today, their legacy lives on in LA's many hidden bars and speakeasies.

4. Where can I find speakeasies in LA today? Modern speakeasies and hidden bars are spread across Los Angeles, each offering a unique experience. Check out our LA Speakeasy Experience for a curated tour.

5. What were some famous speakeasies in Los Angeles during Prohibition? Some famous speakeasies during Prohibition in LA included the King Eddy Saloon, The Cocoanut Grove, and The Townhouse and Del Monte Speakeasy.

6. How did Prohibition impact Los Angeles? Despite Prohibition laws, LA became a hub for bootlegging due to its coastal location. The city also saw a surge in underground bars, or speakeasies, creating a vibrant nightlife culture that continues today.

7. What are some drinks that were popular during the Prohibition era? Cocktails like the Bee's Knees, Sidecar, and Mary Pickford were popular during Prohibition. They were often crafted to mask the harsh flavors of bootlegged spirits.

8. What is a hidden bar? A hidden bar, similar to a speakeasy, is a bar concealed from plain sight. These modern establishments often require passwords, secret entrances, or are situated in unconventional locations, carrying forward the allure and mystery of Prohibition-era speakeasies.

9. Can I book a speakeasy experience in Los Angeles? Yes, at Fun Date Idea, we offer curated speakeasy and hidden bar experiences that let you explore LA's vibrant speakeasy history.

10. How can I find more information about speakeasies in Los Angeles? For more insights into LA's speakeasies and the Prohibition era, you can visit our About page, or Contact Us for personalized queries.

11. Are there themed nights or events at these modern speakeasies in LA? Yes, many modern speakeasies in Los Angeles host themed nights, live music, and other events to recreate the aura of the Prohibition era. You can find a list of such events on our Events page.

12. Can I organize private events at these hidden bars or speakeasies in LA? Certainly, several hidden bars and speakeasies in LA provide spaces for private events. Check out our Private Events page for more information on how to plan an unforgettable night in the backdrop of LA's rich history.

13. Why should I choose Fun Date Idea's speakeasy experience? Our speakeasy experiences are expertly curated to offer an immersive journey through the time of Prohibition. With a focus on history, cultural relevance, and, of course, good times, we bring you closer to the essence of LA's speakeasy legacy.

14. What should I wear to a modern speakeasy? While there's no strict dress code for most modern speakeasies, many patrons choose to dress in 1920s-inspired attire to match the ambiance.

15. Is the Prohibition era significant to LA's cultural history? Absolutely. The Prohibition era, with its speakeasies and hidden bars, significantly shaped LA's cultural and social landscape. These elements added to the city's allure and charm, which continues to be celebrated in its modern nightlife.

Unravel the intoxicating story of speakeasies and Prohibition in LA with us at Fun Date Idea. From hidden bars to jazz-filled soirees, our experiences promise a memorable journey through the city's rich past and vibrant present. So put on your dancing shoes, whisper the password, and step into LA's spirited history.

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