Across the US, trendy bars are cropping up—but good luck finding them. These homages to the 1920s speakeasy are obscured by wooden slats, hidden behind other stores, accessible only by password. “People have an affection for this period of American history, and they want the mystery,” one owner tells the New York Times—though none of the new speakeasies truly represent the era they’re romanticizing.
True Prohibition-era cocktails, usually made with homemade liquor, were bad or, worse, poisonous. The high-end drinks served at today’s speakeasies hearken back to cocktails’ pre-Prohibition golden age. The same can be said of their ritzy décor—as one author points out, real speakeasies “were dives where you drank bad liquor from a bottle with a counterfeit label and woke up with a headache in the morning.”