It’s hard to believe that it has been one full century or 100 years since prohibition began. And the fabulous roaring twenties. I loved the fashion then. It’s been 102 years since World War I ended in 1918. Prohibition law in the United States began in 1920 and lasted until 1933. 13 years is a long time to have to sneak a cocktail. It was hard enough for me to sneak alcohol from age 13-21. But still, you’d think by 21, I’d had my fill of booze.


There are still some speakeasies that exist in Chicago, hidden behind a false wall. I’ve been to two of them. The best kept secrets to this day! The Drifter on North New Orleans Street and The Watershed on North State Street are in my opinion the best ones. But you’d have to try Chicago Magic Lounge on North Clark Street where you enter through a laundry mat, or if only because they have a drink called “How Houdini Died.” Bordel on North Division Street has that dim-lit 20’s feel and décor as well as a cool burlesque show. Now you too are in on the “secret.” And, although alcohol is legal now, you still feel like you’re kinda doing something naughty.


Prohibition was the attempt to outlaw the production and consumption of alcohol in the U.S. It began primarily as a religious movement in the early 19th century. So, that’s how prohibition started. Drinking alcohol was not actually outlawed, but prohibited the manufacture, sale or transportation of it. In 1920, the Feds put a ban on alcohol. Chicago was the nation’s breeding ground for speakeasies. Even though alcohol is legal now when handled responsibly, even everclear grain alcohol has an alcohol content of 190-195%! I would consider that legal moonshine.


Franklin D Roosevelt signed into law the Cullen-Harrison Act, legalizing beer, wine and alcohol with a 3.2% content. Because, hey, even a president needs to get his drink on! That’s a stressful job. In fact, the ending of Prohibition was one of his selling points when running for president. I would assume that contaminants in the distilling process in a hillbilly’s shed in the woods out back that caused people to lose their eyesight and then put a lump in their liver was yet another reason to end prohibition. Proper, regulated distilling methods are definitely the way to go.

Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

100 YEARS SINCE PROHIBITION – Comedy Defensive Driving