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The History of Speakeasy Bars: A Journey through Time

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

Speakeasy bars have become a cultural phenomenon, with their secret entrances, vintage decor, and classic cocktails. But where did these establishments come from, and what's the story behind their enduring popularity? This article will take you on a historical tour of speakeasy bars' intriguing past.


Speakeasy bars have their origins in the US Prohibition era in the early 20th century. The prohibition era, which was enforced from 1920 to 1933, prohibited the manufacturing, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages. As a result, speakeasies and other illegal businesses grew in popularity. These were covert establishments where people could go to drink and socialize, frequently in secret or outside the law.


Speakeasy bars were typically located in basements, back alleys, and other hidden locations, and often required a password or secret knock to gain entry. Inside, patrons could enjoy a variety of alcoholic beverages, from homemade moonshine to imported liquor smuggled in from overseas.


Despite the dangers and risks involved, speakeasies became immensely popular during Prohibition, with estimates suggesting that there were as many as 100,000 speakeasies in New York City alone. They became symbols of rebellion and freedom, and the jazz music, dancing, and other forms of entertainment that were often part of the speakeasy experience helped to define the culture of the era.


When Prohibition was finally repealed in 1933, speakeasy bars faded from view for many years. But in the 21st century, they've made a comeback, with many modern bars and clubs embracing the speakeasy aesthetic and atmosphere. Today's speakeasy bars often feature vintage decor, classic cocktails, and live music or entertainment, paying homage to the Prohibition-era establishments that inspired them.

If you're interested in experiencing the history and culture of speakeasy bars for yourself, then our LA Hidden Bars and Speakeasy Experience is the perfect opportunity. You'll have the chance to explore some of the best hidden bars in Los Angeles, indulge in expertly-crafted cocktails, and experience the thrill of the secret entrance. Join us for an unforgettable night out that pays homage to a bygone era of American history.




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