Imagine a world where nothing was prohibited. We have so many rules, so many people telling us what we can and can’t do. Doesn’t it just magnetize us towards the very thing we are being kept from?
There was a time when drinking was illegal all together. It didn’t really prevent it – it just led to bathtub moonshine, speakeasies, and a lot of crime. Thanks god we are now permitted to poison ourselves if we so choose.
And in celebration of that right, that’s exactly what I did.
Downtown Los Angeles became a prohibition busting pub crawl on December 5th. Celebrating the 75th year since our country repealed the prohibition laws, bars such as The Edison, plus Cedd Moses’s 7 Grand, The Golden Gopher, The Broadway Bar and the new Coles offered 75 cent drinks. Those who didn’t feel like standing in the bread line could fill up on grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup at depression era prices.
7 Grand, a dark bar that resembles a library owned by a wealthy man with a taxidermy fetish, was home to the Dewars Repeal Party. When we arrived, several 1930’s styled gangsters marched outside with picket signs bearing slogans such as Repeal Prohibition! Tonight, their protests garnered instant results.
Upon entering, patrons were handed feather boas or fedoras to help transport them back to 1933. Pins were handed out emblazoned with the slogan ‘Stay Wet!’ As if we needed prompting. At the bar, mixologists were slinging ‘old fashioneds’ and ‘sidecars’.
Rony Alwin had his photo booth set up for patrons to knock back a whole bottle of Dewars or perhaps just primp and flirt in their flapper attire.
Bryan Chenault booked an evening of various entertainers, including comedian Blaine Capatch as the party’s host. Blaine, an old Mr. Show compatriot of mine, steered the evening, starting with a stand up performance by Morgan Murphy.
The night was also peppered with several rounds of burlesque dancers, including a rather titilating performance by Lily Von Schtupp who poured shots of whiskey from the nipples of her bustier. Talk about mother’s milk.
In between acts, DJs Chris Holmes and Daisy O’Dell kept it old school on the decks with some 30’s era chart toppers. The musical act of the evening was indie band Foreign Born, whose tepid folksy rock prompted some on the patio to dub them Snorin Born. Luckily the revelrers didn’t allow that to slow them down.
But the true high light of the night was the whiskey that flowed freely.
The more Dewars that was poured, the more the people poured into the bar, jamming it with hipsters dressed like the swing crew from the musical Chicago. As the night wore on, the patrons began to do the drunken weave, trying to stand upright without falling over. 7 Grand was certainly slippery when wet.
TC Conroy and I held court at a table in the back room with a bunch of jaunty gentlemen, when we noticed trays of delicious mac and cheese were being brought out. Hallelujah! Kudos to Dewars and 7 Grand for dreaming up the perfect hang over special and bringing it out just in time to sober up before the ride home.
TC surreptitiously grabbed a plate for our table and began to spoon out some cinco de maco, when suddenly the staff opened the double doors revealing hundreds of hungry, hungry hipsters. TC’s eyes widened as a stampede of drunks ran towards her like bloodthirsty zombies. In seconds the room was packed in a cheesy orgy. I give props to T for risking her life for us and even more so for returning to our table unscathed…and with a full plate of cheesy goodness.
As the night drew to a close, I teetered towards the exit, cursing my food and drink intake for the day: two cups of coffee, a salad, about eleventy Dewars drinks and a plate of macaroni and cheese. I didn’t have to celebrate the Repeal of prohibition so hard. After all, it’s been seventy five years since it happened and I’ve been legally drinking for twenty some odd years. But what’s a girl in a feather headrdess and faux fur stole to do? I am only one woman and cannot fight the tide of change…or an open bar. My only option? To stay wet.