See also: Speakeasy (homonymy)
A speakeasy was, with the the United States, an establishment of sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks during the Prohibition (between 1920 and 1933, even later in certain States), period during which the alcohol sale was prohibited. The expression finds its origin in the practice which had the owners of bar to ask their customers to speak gently ( speak easy ) when they asked alcohol, in order not to wake up the suspicions.
OriginsThe origin of the word speakeasy precedes thirty years the introduction of prohibition. Samuel Hudson, journalist of the end of the 19th century, reports that he heard the term for the first time at Pittsburgh in the Années 1880. An old Irish sold to with it Liqueur S without license and asked her customers to lower the voice when they ordered some. The Cassell dictionary on the slang specifies that the term entered of use towards 1890.
The term spake-aisy , near phonetically, indicated already a century before the hiding-place of smugglers.
During ProhibitionThe popularity of the speakeasies was growing throughout Prohibition. In the majority of the cases, the management of these establishments was between the hands of the Organized crime. In the big cities, they offered a whole range of services, energy of the restoration to concerts of jazz or tracks of dance. The speakeasys thus continued to thrive everywhere in the United States and this, in spite of the regular descents of the police force, stopping owners and customers. Actually, the corrupted police force, very often by the managers, closed the eyes or communicated in advance its dates intervention.
Another word of slang close to speakeasy was that of blind pig (blind pig). There existed however a notorious difference in range between the two, the blind pigs being of range lower than that of the speakeasys.
HeritageOld a speakeasy always exists with New York, Chumley' S, to the 86 Bedford Street in the district of Greenwich Village. Decoration is of time and no external sign indicates the presence of a bar or of a restaurant, discretion obliges. The establishment is even equipped with a secret exit by the back which gives on Barrow Street, which made it possible to the customers to quickly leave the places and in any discretion in the event of police raid.
Our days, the Americans created on the same model the word smokeeasy (of the verb to smoke : to smoke), which indicates a recess for smokers in the bars and nightclubs where the tobacco is prohibited.
- Chumley' S
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