Speakeasies Created Need for Alcohol Abuse Awareness and Prevention

by: Mike Miller

This is the ninth in a series of blogs here at onlinealcoholclass.com looking at the very interesting part of American history known as the Prohibition Era (1919-1933). In the last blog entry we discussed how restaurants were forced to close their doors because they could not sell booze while speakeasies thrived by continuing to offer alcoholic beverages and fantastic jazz. They survived by avoiding the law through bribery.

However, there were those who would not accept bribes and continued efforts to shut these local clubs down. One such man was Emory Buckner. A lawyer and Prohibition officer in New York, Buckner hit on a new strategy that struck a chill into the hearts of both drinkers and manufacturers.

Buckner’s strategy was to padlock the doors of any establishment caught in violation of the Volstead Act. The law, though it had many loopholes, allowed Buckner to keep them locked for a year before having to go to court. So instead of arresting a few hapless waiters and bartenders like before, it was possible to hurt the owners themselves.

Buckner vowed to shut down 1,000 establishments in New York alone, and he succeeded in shutting down some of the most prestigious in the city. Drinkers and speakeasy owners were in a panic.

The panic was short-lived as owners either just opened new entrances in the back of the padlocked clubs or moved to a different location.

Do you have any interesting info on Prohibition you would like to share?