Home Eat & Drink Bar Fly A Secret Passageway into Utah’s Swanky Speakeasy

A Secret Passageway into Utah’s Swanky Speakeasy

A Secret Passageway into Utah’s Swanky Speakeasy

It’s the Bee’s Knees of Booze, Burlesque and Bathtub Gin. Some nights call for a cozy pub and long conversations over beers. Some nights are right for slipping on a little black dress while flirting with bartenders over cocktail sips. And some nights demand live music, tasting concoctions and dancing until last call. If you are anything like me, I’ll take the third option almost any night of the week. And there’s a new 1920s inspired hot spot in town, that knows how to get this kitty cat purring. I guess you could say, Prohibition, is my new main squeeze.

From the moment you enter the antiques and oddities shop across the street from Fashion Place Mall, you are greeted by smiling doll faces, surrounded by treasures of times gone by. See if you can’t find the taxidermy tarantula, a camera from 1916, or a Teddy Ruxpin that might haunt your dreams.

After being ID’d, the dames ask about your medical needs and issue a “prescription” for alcohol before you’re allowed to enter the club. (A nod to the 1920s, when The U.S. Treasury Department authorized doctors to prescribe regular doses of medicinal alcohol to help stave off a number of ailments.) Get ready to sneak through the speakeasy’s bookcase entrance and travel back to a time when questionable entrepreneurs ruled the club scene.

“It encompasses the glitz, glamour and extravagance of the “roaring ’20s” and the rugged lawlessness of bootlegging,” says the big cheese Nate Porter. Porter and his girlfriend Jordan Copp used to run a Hooka bar, but Utah’s laws made things challenging and they decided to set their sights on another venture. One could argue the liquor laws are just as challenging as smoking laws and Porter couldn’t agree more, but that’s what makes his bar is so cheeky and fun. “Many people don’t know that Utah was actually the deciding vote to END Prohibition (and seems to be regretting it ever since)!”

Once you pass through the bookcase, a wall of old whiskey barrels set the scene. Dimly lit Edison bulbs cast shadows and light across the tabletops while historic photos, relics and fixtures adorn every corner of the venue. And you can’t miss the bright chandelier that lights the stage where live music, burlesque shows and the DJ jazz up the night.

This is obviously not another sports or dive bar. There is only one TV screen in the whole place—just to allow those who don’t have a direct view of the stage are still able to see all the action. (The open window from the kitchen means the staff can enjoy the performances better than those saddled up to the bar.)

Prohibition hosts local bands, burlesque dancers and chances are you’ll catch your bartender slinging drinks one moment and tossing a girl around in a swing dance number the next. On the night I visited, the bar’s own Fitzgeralds, Porter and Copp, prowled the joint mingling easily with employees and customers—Cooper wearing a sexy red and black corset and feather in her hair and Porter suited up with a snazzy bowler hat and chest-popping suspenders. “It’s sexy, it’s fun, and it certainly creates a kind of irreverent atmosphere that sets the tone for one hell of a party,” says Porter.

The drinks are top notch, named after heroes from the roaring decade. I sipped on a Charlie Chaplin, The Amelia and of course The Hemingway—prep for ‘writing’ an article. I nibbled on poutine which seems to becoming more and more popular south of the Canadian border. And of course I got up AND danced. Can’t have these gams sitting for too long.

Let’s just say, in appropriate parlance, Prohibition really is the cat’s pajamas.

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