Sep 10, 2012 — For more than thirteen years beginning in late 1919, the 18th Amendment banned the sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages throughout the United States.
It was known as Prohibition. And it was a dark time – seriously, like literally every photo from that period looks totally black and white – but true to their resourceful nature, many Americans refused to be denied what they felt was a god-given right to booze.
Sometimes great things come from bad decisions, and in this case Prohibition gave rise to speakeasies: refined hidden drinking dens that proffered high-quality bootleg beverages and regularly hosted seriously raucous parties.
Lawmakers – many of them regulars at these establishments – finally came to their senses in 1933, and one would have thought the speakeasy trend would have suffered a quick death as a result. Yet 80+ years later, there are still Los Angeles speakeasies up and running all across this great city.
Maybe it's because there’s something inherently cool in retro-styled bars; the kinds that often have no sign and still require a password to get in, and where vest- and flapper-clad bartenders make a mean classic the way it was intended to be made.
True, some are just poor, hastily designed copies of their vintage brethren, but we’ve picked out a few favorites that still manage to feel authentic – from the drinks list to the reclaimed furnishings to the universal embodiment of a bygone era.
Pull up a chair and turn back the clocks, friends. The LA speakeasy is waiting, and it isn’t going anywhere.
118 East 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
2640 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
370 North La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
52 Windward Avenue
Venice, CA 90291
1154 North Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
3843 Main Street
Culver City, CA 90232