What better reason to toast a cocktail than the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition? With that “spirit” in mind, the Chicago History Museum organized The Last Speakeasy event in December, a party to celebrate the 82nd anniversary of the passage of the 21st Amendment that reversed the ban on alcohol. Before it, 1930s speakeasies and coordinating mob activity were ubiquitous to Chicago, which was the retro feel the museum had in mind for the event.
Guests were encouraged to dress in period garb and compete in a costume contest. Old Fashioned cocktails were stirred up by lead sponsor Templeton Rye and an Eli’s Cheesecake dessert bar was a popular spot in between performances by Steve Anthony and his Society Orchestra, Leslie Beukelman and Jim Tashjian, and Kevin McIlvaine and Friends. Professional dancers were also on hand to teach the moves behind the Charleston and foxtrot. As well, novelty gaming tables were set up and movie trailers from 1933 were screened.
In addition to the whimsical entertainment, there was also a history component, of course, with presentations from author Renee Rosen (“Dollface”), historian Bernard Turner and the museum’s Curator of Costume Petra Slinkard. Proceeds from the sold-out night benefitted the Chicago History Museum and its programs.