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New York's 21 Club was a Prohibition-era speakeasy.
New York's 21 Club was a Prohibition-era speakeasy.

A speakeasy, also called a blind pig or blind tiger, is an illicit establishment that sells alcoholic beverages. Such establishments came into prominence in the United States during the Prohibition era (1920–1933, longer in some states). During that time, the sale, manufacture, and transportation (bootlegging) of alcoholic beverages was illegal throughout the United States.[1] Speakeasies largely disappeared after Prohibition was ended in 1933, and the term is now often inaccurately used to describe some retro style bars.

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Hey, everybody it is me, Chasey Poo! Today I'm doing a review of underwear So, today I'm gonna be reviewing the SpeakEasy briefs So, first of all, I saw this as an advertisement on Facebook, like two years ago, and I was like Oh, this would be interesting to pack with. And then I actually saw that Ty Turner did a review of it And so make sure you check out his video about that. I think it was like two years ago. So now I'm gonna be reviewing it so I could show you what it looks like with different packers and different stuff And yeah, so what is it? If you want to go to a festival and you're not allowed to bring your own alcohol? Well, you can put it in a flask or then you put it in a zipper area in your crotch. Which I feel like could be a little uncomfortable if you got a peen but we're gonna put some packers in there and see what happens. So, I have the blue ones and this is what they look like. The material - pretty regular underwear material and there's a zipper. So let's try them on and then see what it looks like when you put a packer in there. Who knows? Maybe it won't look good. Maybe it will. Okay so as I'm trying these on I want you to keep in mind something. When I asked for these I was a lot skinnier. I have IBS and I have a lot of bloating and it is happening right now. So, my stomach right now is just very bloated. So, the underwear are kind of a little bit bigger. So, the underwear are a little bit tight. So, I would actually prefer a bigger size but, whatever. Um, so now I'm gonna kind of show you what it looks like when I put a packer in there. So, I'm gonna try not to show you the packer so that this doesn't get demonetized because it'd be cool if everyone had access because these are just underwear. Yeah, so there you go. And then you zip it. Oh You know what? I like it Oh Baby! I know that there's a wire. It's just because it's my microphone. Um, okay, so I know it looks a little bit weird, but from below like from here from on top It looks really really cool. And also keep in mind that you do put pants on you're not just like walking around with this But this this is really cool. I really really like this is this is cool, 'cause you know it's not gonna fall out. That's one of the big things with like all the packing underwear is like sometimes they're not as secure and you're scared that they're gonna fall out. There's no way this is gonna fall out unless you forget to zip it and you're doing a handstand. Okay, so I'm gonna try I'm gonna try to pack now with something a little bit bigger to see what that looks like. So, this is the real magic packer soft uncut five-and-a-half inches, so it is pretty big. Well, you know what, some people really like that. They like that bigness. They like that bulge. They want that dick and because these are boxers, boxer briefs, sorry, these do kind of like bounce a little bit because they're not briefs. They're not like secured on to you, but the zipper is in front so, it does really kind of like stay there and it doesn't really move so I kind of - I'm okay with it. I would absolutely wear these Outside to an event or anything like that I just - I need a bigger size because these are kind of cutting my circulation a little bit because I am bloated and I - my stomach for the last three days has like really not been fun. Could you use this for an STP? Mmm? I mean you can put an SCP in here, but there's no hole here. So you'd have to like put down the pants and then do the STP. But as far as packing it is a very good like like It's a dual purpose underwear, okay! Because like if you want to go to an event and pack, you could use this and you could have your flask. Right, you could put your flask behind it. Whereas cis guys - they have their peen and then the flask is in front. So we have an advantage here where we put the flask behind and if somebody like "what are you wearing?" and they touch it they're like "oh that's your peen." Where as cis guys, if they touch it and they feel the flask and they're like what is that and it's their alcohol and you're banned Whereas we - it's behind and then they feel our wiener and then they're embarrassed. That was a little over the top or whatever. Okay, whatever. Uh, yes, that's all I want to say about this. Thank you so much for joining me. Thank you to this company SpeakEasy briefs for sending me the underwear so I could review them, even though it's like a year and a half later. "The ultimate travel underwear" because like it's not just for alcohol. You could put like like condoms in there and passports. You could - I mean I feel like your passport gets sweaty... But you do you, boo. Alright. Thanks for joining me. Have a great day. Bye!



The phrase, "speak softly shop", meaning a "smuggler's house", appeared in a British slang dictionary published in 1823.[2] The precise term "speakeasy" dates from no later than 1837 when an article in the Sydney Herald newspaper in Australia referred to 'sly grog shops, called in slang terms "speakeasy's" [sic] in this part - Boro Creek.'[3][4] The phrase "speak easy shop", denoting a place where unlicensed liquor sales were made, appeared in a British naval memoir written in 1844.[2]

First recorded use of speakeasies in United States. The Pittsburg Dispatch, June 30, 1889.
First recorded use of speakeasies in United States. The Pittsburg Dispatch, June 30, 1889.

In the United States, the word emerged in the 1880s. The earliest recorded use is from an 1889 newspaper, "Unlicensed saloons in Pennsylvania are known as 'speak-easies'."[5] They were "so called because of the practice of speaking quietly about such a place in public, or when inside it, so as not to alert the police or neighbors".[6] The term is reported to have originated with saloon owner Kate Hester, who ran an unlicensed bar in the 1880s in the Pittsburgh area town of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, often telling her rowdy customers to "speak easy" to avoid attention from authorities.[7][8] Many years later, in Prohibition-era America, the "speakeasy" became a common name to describe a place to get an illicit drink.[9]

Different names for speakeasies were created. The terms "blind pig" and "blind tiger" originated in the United States in the 19th century. These terms were applied to lower-class[dubious ] establishments that sold alcoholic beverages illegally, and they are still in use today. The operator of an establishment (such as a saloon or bar) would charge customers to see an attraction (such as an animal) and then serve a "complimentary" alcoholic beverage, thus circumventing the law.

In desperate cases it has to betake itself to the exhibition of Greenland pigs and other curious animals, charging 25 cents for a sight of the pig and throwing in a gin cocktail gratuitously.[10]

[They] are in a mysterious place called a blind tiger, drinking the very bad whiskey for which Prohibition is indirectly responsible.[11]

"Blind tiger" also referred to illegal drinking establishment in which the seller's identity was concealed.

A drawer runs into a wall of what appears to be a billiard saloon. You pull out the drawer, drop in your change, shove the drawer back, call for what you want and then pull out the drawer again and there it is, "Straight" or "Spiked" just as you'd have it. Nobody is heard or seen, and the blind tiger, apparently without any keeper, works like a charm.[12]


Speakeasies, though illegal, were numerous and popular during the Prohibition years. Some were operated by people who were part of organized crime. Even though police and agents of the Bureau of Prohibition would often raid them and arrest their owners and patrons, they were so profitable that they continued to flourish. The speakeasy soon became one of the biggest parts of American culture during this time. Several changes happened as speakeasies formed; one was with integration. With "black and tans", people of all races, black or white, would gather together and even mingle. People would mix together and have few or no problems.[13]

Another change that occurred was more participation from women. Many businesses would set up their speakeasies to attract women to get more profits.[14] Women also began to insert themselves into the business of speakeasies. Texas Guinan, a former screen and stage actress, opened many speakeasies during Prohibition such as the 300 Club and the El Fey. Guinan greeted customers with "Hey Suckers" and admitted she'd be nothing without Prohibition. Her two biggest competitors were Helen Morgan and Belle Livingston.[15]

Culture was also affected by speakeasies during prohibition and the speakeasy became a focal point. An example to show this was in the movie theaters. Companies were restricted from depicting alcohol on screen, but some still continued to do so because they felt it showed the way Americans lived, such as the scene in Our Dancing Daughters in which Joan Crawford dances on a table in a speakeasy.[16]

The poor quality bootleg liquor sold in some speakeasies was responsible for a shift away from 19th-century "classic" cocktails, that celebrated the raw taste of the liquor (such as the gin cocktail, made with Genever (sweet) gin), to new cocktails aimed at masking the taste of rough moonshine. These masking drinks were termed "pansies" at the time[17][18] (although some, such as the Brandy Alexander, would now be termed "classic"). The quality of the alcohol sold in speakeasies ranged from very poor to very good . This all depended on the owner's source. Cheap liquor was generally used because it was more profitable. In other cases, brand names were used to specify the type of alcohol people wanted. However, sometimes when brand names were used, some speakeasies cheated; they lied to their customers by giving them poor quality liquor instead of the higher-quality liquor the customer ordered. Prices were four to five dollars a bottle.[19]


The Mayflower Club, an upmarket speakeasy in Washington, D.C. It offered liquor and gambling.
The Mayflower Club, an upmarket speakeasy in Washington, D.C. It offered liquor and gambling.

From the beginning the speakeasy was relatively small with little or no entertainment involved, but through gradual growth it popularized and expanded to many different areas with new additions of entertainment and eventually made the speakeasy one of the biggest businesses during Prohibition.

In many rural towns, small speakeasies and blind pigs were operated by local business owners. These family secrets were often kept even after Prohibition ended. In 2007 secret underground rooms thought to have been a speakeasy were found by renovators on the grounds of the Cyber Cafe West in Binghamton, New York.[20]

Speakeasies did not need to be big to operate. "It didn't take much more than a bottle and two chairs to make a speakeasy."[21] One example for a speakeasy location was the "21" Club in New York. This is one of the more famous of the speakeasies and still stands today. The "21" Club was only part of a series of businesses owned by Charlie Berns and Jack Kriendler. They started the business in Greenwich with a place called "The Redhead" and later moved onto the next operation "The Puncheon Club". The "21" Club was special because of its system to remain under the radar. It was a unique system that used a doorkeeper to send a warning to the bar that it was in danger and the bar would transform into an ordinary place through a mechanism.[22]

The speakeasy spread all over New York with businesses such as the "Bath Club" and "O'Leary's on the Bowery". All of the different speakeasies that spread throughout had their own specialty that made it unique. "The Bath Club" had musicians perform in their place to keep it unique. This idea of musicians spread throughout the speakeasy business and soon enough many of them had musicians.[23]

See also


  1. ^ "Speakeasy". Merriam-Webster.
  2. ^ a b Brown, Peter Jensen. "Liquor Licenses, Steelworkers and the British Navy - an Unlicensed History and Etymology of "Speakeasies"". Early Sports and Pop-Culture History Blog. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  3. ^ "The Soothing System". Sydney Herald. Sydney, Australia. November 20, 1837. p. 3.
  4. ^ Sydney Herald reference to 'speakeasy'
  5. ^ Cheney Sentinel. Cheney, Washington. September 13, 1889. p. 1. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Harper, Douglas. "speakeasy". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Munch goes to the Blind Pig". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 30, 2011.
  8. ^ Bill Toland (December 4, 2013). "Prohibition ended 80 years ago today, but the dry movement never worked here". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  9. ^ Okrent, Daniel. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. New York: Scribner, 2010. p. 207
  10. ^ MacRae, David (1870). The Americans at Home: Pen-and-Ink Sketches of American Men, Manners, and Institutions. Volume II. Edinburgh, Scotland. p. 315.
  11. ^ Atlantic Monthly (February, 1912). p. 206. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Denton's Doings". Dallas Weekly Herald. May 29, 1875. p. 2.
  13. ^ Okrent, Daniel. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. New York: Scribner, 2010. p. 212
  14. ^ Okrent, Daniel. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. New York: Scribner, 2010. p. 211
  15. ^ Sismodo, Christine. America Walks Into a Bar. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. p. 220
  16. ^ Okrent, Daniel. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. New York: Scribner, 2010. p. 213
  17. ^ Shay, "Ten Best Cocktails of 1934", Esquire Vol. 2, December 1934, p. 40.
  18. ^ Grimes, "Bar, What Bar?", The New York Times, June 2, 2009.
  19. ^ Okrent, Daniel. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. New York: Scribner, 2010. p. 210.
  20. ^ Sweeny, Caitlin. "Remains of Speakeasy found in Cyber Cafe parking lot" April 17, 2007. Pipe Dream : Binghamton University. June 2, 2012.
  21. ^ Okrent, Daniel. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. New York: Scribner, 2010. p. 208.
  22. ^ Okrent, Daniel. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. New York: Scribner, 2010. pp. 208–209.
  23. ^ Okrent, Daniel. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. New York: Scribner, 2010. p. 209


  • Loretta Britten, Paul Math, ed. Our American Century Jazz Age: The 20s. 1998. Time Life Books. New York: Bishop Books Inc., 1969. ISBN 0-7835-5509-1.
  • Kahn, Gordon, and Al Hirschfeld. The Speakeasies of 1932. New York: Glenn Young Books, (1932, rev. 2003). ISBN 1-55783-518-7.
  • Streissguth, Thomas. The Dry Years: The Roaring Twenties. Encyclopedia. 2007 ed. Facts On File, Inc. ISBN 0-8160-6423-7.

External links

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