Get a booze clue: Repeal Day parties in Las Vegas
Bartenders and drinkers gather to celebrate the 21st Amendment
Sat, Dec 5, 2009 (5:56 p.m.)
On January 16, 1920 the Eighteenth Amendment went into effect mandating nationwide prohibition, essentially derailing the country’s most prevalent pastime of the era—drinking. While the Volstead act, as it was called, prohibited the manufacturing, transportation and sale of alcohol, it did not outlaw the consumption of alcohol. So, secreted away to back alleys and speakeasies, serving alcohol became a titillating game of chance and barhopping a sport. In fact, stockcar racing only took off after moonshine-runners began assembling recreationally to see whose boozemobile could haul Appalachian whisky faster. When they officially organized in 1948 they became the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, AKA NASCAR!
Despite all the perks that Prohibition gave us—NASCAR, outlaws like Al Capone and Bonnie and Clyde and cocktails covering up the taste of insipid bathtub gin among them—the ratification of the 21st Amendment made alcohol-related legislature a state issue. With the exception of a few holdouts (ahem, Mississippi and Kansas…), America got its groove back on December 5, 1933, better known as Repeal Day.
In celebration of the 76th anniversary of Repeal Day, two dedicated drinking institutions are going to party like it’s December 4, 1933, that is, the night before the twenty-first Amendment was actually repealed.
Across the US and anywhere in the world where sympathetic cocktailians can be found, partiers will dress up in the finest ’20s and ’30s gear—think flappers, dandies, gangsters, and gunmolls – and get down to the business of booze.
Where to be …
Saturday, December 5:
Downtown Cocktail Room will dish out the sauce in ceramic mugs that you actually get to keep with the purchase of a cocktail, and resident DJ Douglas Gibbs will spin a set tailored to the era. "Paris has an Eiffel Tower glass, we'll have a Prohibition mug," jokes DCR owner Michael Cornthwaite of his choice of period glassware.
Sunday, December 6:
Shhhh! First Food & Bar is the spot for the second annual BarMagic Repeal Day celebration, sponsored by Plymouth Gin. As authentic as can be managed, the party comes complete with a four-piece jazz quartette, three flapper go-gos, and of course plenty of vintage and classic cocktails in period-correct Marie Antoinette champagne coupes. As with all BarMagic events, ice is chipped right off the block, and a surprise guest mixologist—known only to BarMagic’s Tobin Ellis—is being flown in from the east coast. Social Mixology Tuesday’s resident DJ Jessica Lynn will fill in the gaps between entertainers.
Ellis asks that all guests at least make some effort toward coming in costume (think flapper, gangster, or bootlegger) to enjoy the free admission, free passed appetizers, and $5 cocktails from the Savoy Cocktail Book from 10-12 p.m.; the party continues till 3 a.m.
“This is New Year’s Eve for the drinkers and the cocktail fans of the world,” says Ellis. “If it weren’t for this day, there wouldn’t be a New Year’s Eve. If you’re a bartender, or like going to bars, or like drinking, this is your holiday.”
Get costume ideas and sign up for BarMagic’s virtual speakeasy at socialmixologyvegas.com.