This week marks the 79th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition in Illinois, and Chicagoist has a great post chronicling that fateful moment in this city’s history, complete with vintage newsreel footage. Several Chicago bars have celebrated this landmark moment in American history over the past month, most recently The Southern in Wicker Park, where a Prohibition-themed party took place last night.
Chicago has always loved its alcohol; it’s no surprise that we were one of first the cities Starbucks chose to pilot its new-concept coffee/beer/wine bistros. As recently as March, the L.A. Times remarked of a trip to Chicago, “In this city, booze is as much a business as it is a way of life. Perhaps that passion stems from Chicago’s history. It was, after all, a bootlegger’s playground during Prohibition.”
But this city’s relationship with alcohol and Prohibition has also been a complicated one. The pioneering, teetotaling Women’s Christian Temperance Union was founded here, after all. But nowadays, Chicago famously has more bars than grocery stores and one of the highest concentration of bars of any spot in the country, so it’s safe to say that the repeal of Prohibition has been a boon to the city’s vibrant nightlife.
In fact, those Chicago bars that specialize in Prohibition-era cocktails have been garnering positive press from all over the country. The Barrelhouse Flat in Lincoln Park was recently named the best cocktail bar in the city by readers of Chicago Magazine. The L.A. Times raved about The Aviary in Fulton Market. The Whistler in Bucktown has a large, devoted following and was named one of the 25 best cocktails in the country by GQ. And speakeasy-inspired The Violet Hour has been on the tips of many a connoisseur’s tongue, long before it garnered the attention of Esquire.
So why not celebrate Illinois’ ratification of the 21st amendment with an artisan cocktail?
Photo courtesy of Flickr user mawel