The return of the speakeasy

A global pandemic, a booming stock market giving way to painful economic shock, a technological revolution… there are many parallels to be drawn between the 1920s and the 2020s. But if you look very closely, you might find there is another thread linking the two eras: the rise of the speakeasy. These clandestine drinking holes rose to prominence during America’s Prohibition era (1920-33). Following the hardships of the first world war, speakeasies provided a sense of raucous escapism – where jazz music boomed and genders and races mixed freely. The same search for escapism (and nostalgia) is what draws drinkers to them today, says Marco Matesi, bar manager of Downstairs at The Dilly, one