Published March 20, 2018
Alcohol may be legal, but that hasn’t stopped a proliferation of hard-to-find drinkeries that recall the 18th amendment. As The Great Gatsby hits theaters, we uncover ten speakeasies where you can party like it’s 1922.
Wet your whistle with a customized cocktail at this popular underground beer hall near Amsterdam’s Rembrandt Square (you’ll have to make a reservation to get the exact address). You tell the bartender what you like—be it a particular spirit, flavor, or taste—and he or she will mix up something specially made for you.
Reservations are recommended—and a password is required—to gain entry to this covert cocktail lounge, located at the corner of Jones and O’Farrell Streets in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. (Look for the door below the sign that reads “Anti-Saloon League,” hit the buzzer, and utter your password.) Once inside, honor the titular liquor with a Frank Lloyd Wright, a Buffalo Trace bourbon cocktail mixed with Laphroaig Quarter Cask, pear and walnut liqueurs, and old-fashioned bitters.
Prohibition comes back to where it all started at this U Street Corridor lounge, where a no-standing policy means that reservations are a very, very good idea (particularly on weekends). Choose your spot at the bar, outdoor patio, or—for serious power players—one of the private rooms on the second floor. Wherever you perch, the recommended libation is the Ojos Verdes, an aquavit cocktail with avocado, lime, and celery bitters.
Today, it is known as one of New York City’s most iconic restaurants. But back in the days of Prohibition, The '21' Club was a front for lots of alcohol-induced merrymaking. When Feds raided the popular speakeasy in 1932, the agents couldn’t find a drop of alcohol—even after hours of searching. That’s thanks to the restaurant’s infamous wine cellar, which is now a private dining room. Although its bar activities are all above-board these days, Bar '21' is celebrating its temperance-busting past with a limited-time cocktail menu inspired by The Great Gatsby; sample Beautiful Fool (pictured), made with Greenhook Gin, St. Germain, chamomile-infused simple syrup, lemon, and grapefruit juice.
What Nucky Thompson is to Atlantic City in Boardwalk Empire, Max “Boo Boo” Hoff was to Philadelphia in the 1920s. It was here that he used the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company as a front for one of the country’s biggest bootlegging operations. Today it’s a lawful spot for drinking from a menu of cocktails that change with the season, and Playboy recently named it one of America’s Best Bars. (Yes, we read it for the articles.)
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