Historic Bars

[Historic Bars] The Owl Bar in Baltimore, Maryland

Posted on: October 30th, 2014 by Beth Lennon No Comments

 

Fans of the giggle water get to celebrate hooch in a big way this month as Preservation Nation covers blind pigs and juice joints -- a.k.a. speakeasies -- as part of our historic bars series. Next up: The Owl Bar in Baltimore, Maryland.

The nursery rhyme above the bar is a clue into the speakeasy past of Baltimore’s Owl Bar.
The nursery rhyme above the bar is a clue into the speakeasy past of Baltimore’s Owl Bar.

A wise old owl sat in an oak / the more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard / why can't we all be like that wise old bird?

First-time visitors to the Owl Bar may be amused by the appearance of a nursery rhyme embedded in stained glass above the antique backbar at Baltimore’s landmark Belvedere Hotel. More than a quaint decoration, however, the rhyming couplet is actually a nod to the Prohibition-era legacy that the bar’s feathered mascots played a major part in.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beth Lennon

Beth Lennon is the creator of the website RetroRoadmap.com. As "Mod Betty," she delights as the retro travel "hostess with the mostess," scouting out cool vintage places and sharing them with the world.

[Historic Bars] The Backroom Bar in New York City

Posted on: October 16th, 2014 by David Robert Weible No Comments

 

Fans of the giggle water get to celebrate hooch in a big way this month as Preservation Nation covers blind pigs and juice joints – a.k.a. speakeasies -- as part of our historic bars series. Next up: The Backroom Bar in New York City.

The Backroom’s ‘fake front’ as the Lower East Side Toy Company is a nod to old New York City speakeasies that often used supposed apothecaries or blacksmith shops to conceal their true identity. Ironically, the Backroom’s Prohibition predecessor never needed a fake front, as Ratner’s kosher restaurant concealed the speakeasy with a legitimate and profitable business.
The Backroom’s ‘fake front’ as the Lower East Side Toy Company is a nod to old New York City speakeasies that often used supposed apothecaries or blacksmith shops to conceal their true identity. Ironically, the Backroom’s Prohibition predecessor never needed a fake front, as Ratner’s kosher restaurant concealed the speakeasy with a legitimate and profitable business.

There are few places on earth, if any, that I enjoy sipping a few cocktails and drinking in the atmosphere more than modern-day New York City. But if I were given the chance to hit the town in the Roaring Twenties, I sure as hell wouldn’t pass it up. Lucky for me, I know a place I can do a little of both: the Lower East Side Toy Company, on Norfolk Street, between Delancey and Rivington.

That’s not the actual name, of course. It’s just the ‘fake front’ for the Backroom Bar, a contemporary speakeasy with roots that date back to Prohibition.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

David Robert Weible

David Robert Weible

David Robert Weible is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. He came to DC from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.

[Historic Bars] Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco

Posted on: October 9th, 2014 by Lauren Walser No Comments

 

Fans of the giggle water get to celebrate hooch in a big way this month as Preservation Nation covers blind pigs and juice joints – a.k.a. speakeasies -- as part of our historic bars series. Next up: Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco.

141009_blog-photo_bourbon-branch_bar
Drinks have been poured at 501 Jones Street from as far back as 1867. From 1923 to 1935, it was billed as JJ Russell Cigar Shop, with a speakeasy in the basement.

During Prohibition, thirsty San Franciscans in the know could wet their whistles at JJ Russell’s Cigar Shop at 501 Jones Street. But you had to, as they say, speak easy.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser is the Los Angeles-based Field Editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about history, art, architecture, and public space.

[Historic Bars] The Mint Bar in Sheridan, Wyoming

Posted on: October 2nd, 2014 by Katherine Flynn

 

Fans of the giggle water get to celebrate hooch in a big way this month as Preservation Nation covers blind pigs and juice joints – a.k.a. speakeasies -- as part of our historic bars series. First up: The Mint Bar in Sheridan, Wyoming.

The Mint Bar has been in operation since 1907.
The Mint Bar has been in operation since 1907.

Our collective memory of Prohibition, the roughly decade-long period in America's history when the manufacture, sale, and distribution (but not the consumption) of alcohol was forbidden, is rife with images of liberated flappers, hopping speakeasies, and decadent parties.

But Prohibition wasn’t all giggle water and dancing the Charleston; the American economy was damaged when thousands of jobs in alcohol-related industries were slashed, and a thousand people per year died, on average, from the years of 1920 to 1933 from drinking tainted bootleg liquor. The FDR-backed Prohibition repeal, ratified in 1933, was an exceedingly popular decision, bringing to a close what was known by temperance groups as “The Noble Experiment.”

While many bars across the nation were forced to close during the years of Prohibition, many more operated undercover as speakeasies, or places to partake in illegal hooch. The Mint Bar in Sheridan, Wyoming, was one such establishment.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.

[Historic Bars] The Corner Club in Moscow, Idaho

Posted on: September 25th, 2014 by Lauren Walser 4 Comments

 

Preservation Nation continues its tour of historic bars as we slide (or stumble) our way into the musty dugouts that have served as the home bases for sports fans across the nation as they ride the bench and cheer their favorite teams. Last up for America’s historic sports bars: the Corner Club in Moscow, Idaho.

The Corner Club has been a Moscow, Idaho, institution since 1948.
The Corner Club has been a Moscow, Idaho, institution since 1948.

A man and his horse walk into a bar. The man orders two beers: one for him, one for his horse.

If you think I’m setting up a joke, you can stop waiting for the punch line. This is a true story from one day in the history of the Corner Club, a beloved 66-year-old sports bar in Moscow, Idaho.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser is the Los Angeles-based Field Editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about history, art, architecture, and public space.