In 1919, congress ratified the 18th Amendment, which outlawed the manufacture, distribution and sale of alcohol. Fourteen long, dry years later, congress repealed that amendment on December 5th, 1933, by passing the 21st Amendment, effectively making it legal to drink again. That day, now known as Repeal Day, is being celebrated Friday by a handful of (legal) drinking spots around Denver, with drink specials galore. The festivities will finish up on Sunday, December 7, at The BSide, where a dozen local bartenders will participate in a cocktail competition, featuring their own whiskey cocktail recipes. Keep reading for seven great places to celebrate Prohibition Repeal Day.
The BSide 1336 East 17th Avenue, Denver, CO 80218 303-474-4960
Party like it's 1933 at this new restaurant and bar on 17th Avenue. On Friday, enjoy $6 Knob Creek Old Fashioneds and other speakeasy-style cocktails. Get a free Old Fashioned if you're one of the first 40 guests -- and keep the commemorative glass.
Prizes will be awarded for best Prohibition-era costume, and a photo booth will be on site (complete with old-timey costumes if you forgot yours), to capture your Repeal Day fun. The kitchen will be serving food from that era, too, and live music will be provided by the Switchyard Social Club. Stick around for the free Champagne toast at midnight.
Sunday is the big day at The BSide, however, when twelve creative mixologists from area bars stir up their versions of the classic Old Fashioned recipe. All their drinks will contain Knob Creek bourbon, and the winner of the event will earn a trip to the Knob Creek distillery in Clermont, KY. Burlesque dancers will mingle with the crowd, and may perform -- if it's not illegal.
Green Russell 1422 Larimer Street 303-893-6505
Denver's first (modern) speakeasy is a great place to celebrate this day. Starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Green Russell hosts its homage to this 81st anniversary of Repeal Day with cocktail specials, entertainment from burlesque troupe JiJi De Luge & Friends, and live music from Minor Note Orchestra. The $10 cover gets you in the door and enters you into a costume contest. Green Russell will allow standing in the bar area, which is something they don't usually do. Costumes are encouraged.
Williams & Graham 3160 Tejon Street 303-997-8886
If you really want to experience what it was like to be in a speakeasy way back in the day, head to Williams & Graham. A bookshelf in what appears to be an unassuming book store opens up to reveal a dark, cozy, secretive bar. Get lost in one of the quiet booths, or sit at the bar where some of Denver's best mixologists will stir up something tasty for you.
Golden Moon Speakeasy 1111 Miner's Alley, Golden 720-638-1155
This swanky craft cocktail lounge is offering one free glass of Golden Moon Prohibition Punch (2 p.m. to midnight) to anyone who shows up in a costume from those dreadful dry years. The punch features Golden Moon's locally distilled dry curaçao, rooibos tea, oleo saccharum (a house-made citrus oil common in vintage punches), angostura, Buddha's hand bitters and Dram Apothecary Bitters.
Prohibition 504 East Colfax Avenue 303-832-4840
What better place to celebrate the shredding of the 18th Amendment than a bar named after the era it spawned? On Friday, it's $2 off all cocktails, and a free Champagne toast.
The Squeaky Bean 1500 Wynkoop Street 303-623-2665
On Friday, The Bean is giving away free Old Fashioneds to the first 40 guests, who get to keep the commemorative glass.
Tooey's Off Colfax 1521 Marion Street 303-586-5075
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From 8 p.m. to close, grab a tasty $6 Old Fashioned made with Old Granddad whiskey, or a Cutty Sark prohibition-style whiskey cocktail for only four bucks. The Pollution will be there providing live music.