RYAN’S TABLE BY Ryan Tatsumoto
The 1920 to 1933 nationwide ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages — the period commonly known as Prohibition — was intended to reduce family violence, political corruption and alcoholism. It also, however, reduced tax revenues and spurred gang violence, as organized crime took over the illegal alcohol trade. Alcohol consumption fell by about half during Prohibition and beyond, but it also drove the drinkers underground, primarily to speakeasies, those illicit establishments where alcohol was sold behind closed doors. At one point, there were an estimated 100,000 speakeasies in New York City alone. Many of them were fronted by legitimate-looking businesses with hidden doorways where only patrons who knew the password were allowed to enter.
The ratification of the 21st Amendment on Dec. 5, 1933, ended Prohibition. There are still a few “dry” counties in some parts of the United States, but for the most part, we can now enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail out in the open.