"Prohibition is better than no liquor at all." -Will Rogers
Nearly 100 years ago the prohibition period began; Known for the ban of liquor & rise of the American gangster. War over territories & smuggling routes ran rampant across the states. The period usually comes with these negative connotations, but should also be considered for some of the positive outcomes of the time-- Mostly found within the sealed walls of a speakeasy.
Speakeasies were underground clubs that served unlicensed liquor, gathered outcasts to celebrities, and promoted a peaceful environment. Most enforced shushing conversations surrounding politics & religion & let in people of all races in for intermingling & good times. Many women got into the business too, seeing some of the first woman business owners throughout the country. Jazz would fill the air within the spaces as people let loose, cracked jokes, & danced their nights away while indulging in harsh liquors that would go down like an ashtray. Before the prohibition, liquor was known to be consumed either on the rocks or mixed with sweeter liquors. The harsh moonshines were the driving factor of American cocktails, or 'pansies' as they were referred to at the time, seeing that no one could down the stuff without it being concocted with a much smoother mixer.
Today, many bars around the city try recreating the environments with entrances through businesses that you would usually never expect to front a venue in the back.
The Blind Barber has a location in the Lower East Side with a barber shop in the front that you have to walk through to get a start to your weekend shenanigans. As the barbers are grooming & chopping, there's a bar, lounge, & dance floor for your group to enjoy on any given evening. I'd recommend the Smoke & Dagger which is a drink consisting of Jack Daniels, Jalapeño Infused Cointreau, Cucumber, Ginger, & Lemon. They also boast a location in Brooklyn & Los Angeles if you ever find yourself in the areas.
Another great spot is The Garret, located in the West Village. To get there, you have to walk up the stairs next to the Fatburger Cash wrap. It's a beautiful venue boasting a comforting, yet edgy, environment that feels like the living room you wish you had to go back home to. Go there, get some delicious drinks in, & don't judge yourself too much if you end up with a greasy burger & fries from downstairs after the end of the night. It's happened to the best of us.
Last, but not least, is the Apotheke located in Chinatown. They either source their their organic garnishes locally or hand pick them from their rooftop garden. They have a 30 foot Carrara marble bar where their mixologists work their magic. The space is jaw dropping & is known to host some good Jazz a couple days a week. Take a date out to this low key spot & you surely won't disappoint.
It's the start to most of your weekends, so head on over to one of these venues, but speak easy & tread lightly when you do so. You don't want to be the one to blow up the spot.
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