Hidden in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, Prohibition Liquor Bar transports patrons back to the daring days of speakeasies and glamor a la Gatsby. One step into this “forbidden” locale channels the inner Al Capone or flapper fashionista in everyone for a night on the town, 1920s style.
Like any Prohibition-era speakeasy, Prohibition is hidden and not easily recognizable to the common passerby. The secret lounge is located underground with only one unsuspecting street-entrance door, labeled as a law firm office and hidden perfectly among the busy and bright contrast of downtown’s nightlife. Patrons must be on a guest list to enter. Then they need only ring Prohibition’s doorbell and wait for the hostess to greet them.
This is where the adventure begins.
A dark and narrow staircase leads guests underground to the polished basement-type saloon. The quaint subterranean room is adorned with dark, aged hardwood floors, deep-brown leather chairs and bar stools and black-and-white photos of Prohibition-era movie stars. The bar is dimly lit with candles and lamps, casting a deep-red hue across the room as jazz music flows and sets the mood. Within minutes, it’s easy for patrons to forget their placement in time.
Ordering a drink at Prohibition is a highlight of the experience. The man behind the bar is more mixologist than bartender, handcrafting drinks to each guest’s desire. Savoring a smooth and frothy South Side lemon martini flavored with freshly peeled lemon on the rim and just the right hint of mint will make anyone thankful legal prohibition no longer exists. The bar’s drink menu boasts a selection of unique and adventurous mixtures not likely found in other bars. Cocktails cost around $12 but are worth it for their flavor and attention to detail.
Prohibition is open every Wednesday through Saturday from 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. The bar is mellow on Wednesdays as a disc jockey spins old vinyl records while groups of two or three quietly talk among candlelight and sip martinis. It’s ideal for a date night. Friday and Saturday nights, however, turn up the tempo in the bar with a live jazz band and dancing. The bar can be packed with about 60 people, all drinking and swinging to the music. According to the hostess, these are the best nights to experience Prohibition in action.
Exclusivity and sophistication is at the heart of Prohibition, which strictly enforces the dress code, elusiveness and guest propriety. Find the guest list on Prohibition’s website at prohibitionsd.com.