What Was an Illegal Bar Known As? | A Fascinating History of the Speakeasy Era

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Imoforpcs.com – The Prohibition era of the 1920s and early 1930s in the United States was a fascinating time in history. It was a time when the consumption, production, and sale of alcohol were strictly prohibited by law. However, despite the ban, people continued to drink and party in secret establishments called speakeasies. These illegal bars were so popular that they became a cultural phenomenon of the era.

The Fascinating Story Behind the Notorious “Speakeasy” Bars During Prohibition Era

The Fascinating Story Behind the Notorious "Speakeasy" Bars During Prohibition Era


During the period of Prohibition in the United States from 1920 to 1933, the sale, production, and transportation of alcoholic beverages were banned. However, this didn’t stop people from drinking, and instead, it gave rise to the illegal underground bars known as “speakeasies.”

What Were Speakeasies?

Speakeasies were secret bars that operated illegally during Prohibition. The term “speakeasy” originated from the need to speak quietly about the secret bars to avoid detection by the authorities. These establishments operated in a variety of locations, including basements, hidden rooms, and back alleys. Signaling a customer’s arrival was done through a series of knocks, passwords, or secret handshakes.

How Did Speakeasies Operate?

To avoid detection by law enforcement, speakeasies had to operate covertly. Owners of the bars would often bribe police officers and politicians to turn a blind eye to their illegal activities. Most speakeasies operated on a cash-only basis to avoid leaving a paper trail that could incriminate them. To ensure the safety of patrons, some speakeasies had secret escape routes in case of a police raid.

What Did Speakeasies Serve?

Speakeasies served a variety of alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, and spirits. However, the quality of the drinks varied widely, as most of them were made in makeshift stills and were often of poor quality. Nonetheless, speakeasies became popular social gathering spots, where people could socialize and enjoy the music and entertainment that was often provided.

The End of Prohibition and Speakeasies

The repeal of Prohibition in 1933 spelled the end of the speakeasy era. With the lifting of the ban on alcohol, legal bars and taverns could once again operate openly. Many speakeasy owners either converted their establishments into legal bars or went out of business altogether. Nevertheless, the legacy of the speakeasy lives on, and its impact on American culture cannot be underestimated.


The story of the speakeasy is a fascinating chapter in American history. It was a time when people defied the law to satisfy their desire for alcohol and social interaction. The speakeasy era gave birth to a new kind of subculture, and its impact on American culture is still felt today.

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Tips and Tricks to Learn More about What Was an Illegal Bar Known As


If you are interested in the history of bars and nightlife, you may have heard of the term “speakeasy.” Speakeasies were illegal bars that operated during the Prohibition era in the United States (1920-1933). During this time, the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol was banned, but that didn’t stop people from drinking. In fact, the Prohibition era led to an increase in underground bars, which were called speakeasies because customers had to speak quietly about their location to avoid getting caught by the police. If you want to learn more about what was an illegal bar known as a speakeasy, here are some tips and tricks to get started.

Research Online

The internet is a great resource for learning about speakeasies and the Prohibition era. There are many websites and blogs dedicated to this topic, and you can find articles, photos, and even videos that provide insights into what speakeasies were like. Some popular websites to check out include Prohibition and Speakeasies by History.com, and PBS’s Prohibition series. You can also do a general internet search for “speakeasies” or “Prohibition” to find other sources of information.

Read Books and Articles

If you prefer to learn from books, there are many great titles available on the topic of speakeasies and the Prohibition era. Some popular books include “Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” by Daniel Okrent, “Speakeasy: The Employees Only Guide to Classic Cocktails Reimagined” by Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric, and “Dry Manhattan: Prohibition in New York City” by Michael A. Lerner. You can find these books at your local library, bookstore, or online retailer. You can also check out articles from academic journals or popular magazines, such as The Atlantic or Smithsonian Magazine, for more in-depth information.

Join a Historical Society or Museum

If you want to learn more about speakeasies and the Prohibition era in a more hands-on way, consider joining a historical society or museum. Many cities have local historical societies that offer tours, lectures, and other events related to their history. You can also visit museums that focus on the history of alcohol, such as the American Prohibition Museum in Savannah, Georgia, or the Mob Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada. These institutions often have exhibits and artifacts that bring the history of speakeasies to life.


Learning about what was an illegal bar known as a speakeasy can be a fascinating and rewarding experience. By doing some research online, reading books and articles, and joining a historical society or museum, you can gain a deeper understanding of this unique period in American history. So why not raise a glass and toast to the era of speakeasies?

The History of Illegal Bars: A Fascinating Look into the Underworld of Prohibition


When the United States government passed the Eighteenth Amendment in 1920, it was supposed to usher in a new era of temperance and morality. Instead, it gave rise to a thriving underground economy that included the illegal sale and consumption of alcohol.

What was an Illegal Bar Known As?

An illegal bar, also known as a “speakeasy” or “blind pig” was a secret establishment that sold alcoholic beverages during the Prohibition era. These establishments were often disguised as other businesses, such as a bakery or a bookstore, and required a password or secret code to gain entrance.

The Rise of Illegal Bars

The passage of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1920 made the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol illegal in the United States. However, the demand for alcohol remained high, and enterprising individuals stepped in to fill the void. Illegal bars began to pop up in cities across the country, and by the mid-1920s, there were estimated to be as many as 100,000 speakeasies operating in New York City alone.

The Culture of Illegal Bars

Illegal bars were more than just places to drink. They were often social hubs where people from all walks of life could gather and socialize. Jazz music was a popular form of entertainment at many speakeasies, and some illegal bars even featured live performances by famous musicians of the day.

The Downfall of Illegal Bars

The heyday of illegal bars came to an end in 1933, when the Twenty-first Amendment was passed, repealing the Eighteenth Amendment and ending Prohibition. While some speakeasies continued to operate even after Prohibition ended, many were shut down by law enforcement, and their owners and patrons were arrested.


While the era of Prohibition and the rise of illegal bars is often romanticized in popular culture, it is important to remember the social and economic issues that led to its creation. The legacy of Prohibition and the speakeasy culture that emerged during that time continues to influence American culture today.

Uncovering the Notorious Illegal Bar: What Was It Known As?


During the Prohibition era, when the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol were illegal in the United States, illegal bars or speakeasies flourished. Many of these bars were hidden from the authorities and operated in secret. However, there was one illegal bar that stood out from the rest due to its illicit activities and connection to the mob. This article will delve into the history of this notorious bar and reveal what it was known as.

The Notorious Bar

The illegal bar in question was located in Chicago, Illinois, and was known by several names, including The Green Mill, The Cockatoo, and Pop Morse’s. However, it was the name The Green Mill that stuck and became synonymous with the bar.

The Green Mill was opened in 1907 as a legitimate establishment that catered to the working-class population of Chicago. However, in 1910, it was acquired by Jack McGurn, a notorious mobster who turned it into an illegal bar. The bar became a hub for bootleggers, gamblers, and prostitutes, and it was rumored that Al Capone, the most infamous mobster of the Prohibition era, frequented the establishment.

The Green Mill was not only a place to drink and gamble, but it also served as a front for other illicit activities. McGurn used the bar as a headquarters for his criminal operations, including murder-for-hire. It was said that a secret door in the back of the bar led to a tunnel that connected to a nearby building where illegal activities were conducted.

The Legacy of The Green Mill

Despite its notoriety, The Green Mill became a popular spot for jazz musicians and artists in the 1920s and 1930s. Many famous jazz musicians, such as Benny Goodman and Billie Holiday, performed at the bar. The Green Mill’s reputation as a cultural hub continued even after the end of Prohibition in 1933, and it remains a popular bar and jazz club in Chicago today.

However, its dark history lives on, and the bar has been the subject of numerous books, films, and documentaries. The Green Mill’s connection to organized crime has made it a symbol of the lawlessness and corruption of the Prohibition era.


Illegal bars or speakeasies were common during the Prohibition era, but The Green Mill stood out for its notorious activities and connection to the mob. Despite its dark past, the bar has become a cultural institution in Chicago and continues to attract visitors from all over the world. Its story serves as a reminder of the consequences of alcohol prohibition and the dangers of organized crime.