This Thursday marks the 80th anniversary of Repeal Day, that auspicious day when, after 13 oppressive years, it was finally legal to knock one back again. Can you imagine how thirsty those poor folks must have been? Oh, the humanity. Although, we can’t be too mad at those dark, dry days because without ‘em we wouldn’t have “speakeasies” and Boardwalk Empire.
And even after eight decades we still like to celebrate the day with, unsurprising, lots of drinking and—even better—drink specials to facilitate all of the drinking! Here’s a rundown of where to booze it up for one of our favorite holidays.
1886 Bar at The Raymond in Pasadena will feature the Florodora Cocktail (London Dry Gin, ginger, grenadine, lime juice, and soda) for $10. The original Florodora cocktail, named after a famous late 19th/early 20th century musical, is made with raspberry liqueur. However, here they traded the Chambord for the grenadine. “It’s the 1886 version, as we prefer the tartness of the pomegranate in accompaniment to the spice of the ginger,” said bartender Brady Weise.
All six of 1933 Group’s bars will commemorate the day with a $1 Repeal Day cocktail from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Naturally there is a limit: two per customer, but if you’re so inclined (and have a designated driver) you can always visit each bar. FYI, the Bigfoot Lodge West and Oldfield’s in West L.A. are conveniently within stumbling distance of each other on Venice Boulevard.
If you tell your bartender a secret password at Comme Ca today, you’ll get a special cocktail for $6. Heads up, the password can be found on the restaurant’s social media pages. But on Repeal Day itself, you won’t need a password to score classic cocktails Gin Rickey, Sazerac, Manhattan, and Negroni for $6.
At Circa in Manhattan Beach don your finest ’30s attire for their Prohibition-themed costume party which starts at 10 p.m. Swing to the live music while sipping $6 punch specials. The featured punches will be the Chatham Artillery Punch (lemon, sugar, cognac, bourbon, Jamaican rum, and champagne) and the Pretty Rickey (vodka, St. Germain, sugar, lime, and champagne).
At Del Monte Speakeasy in Venice speaker/host Richard Foss (cocktail historian and author of Rum, a Global History) will regale guests with Repeal Day stories, using cocktails and punch bowls as his tasty talking points. It’s not all talk, however, as there will also be a jazz quartet, as well as a roast pig and sides to steel your stomach for the drinking. Tickets are $25. Upstairs from the speakeasy at the Townhouse, Repeal Day punch is $5 and special cocktails are $9 all night. Stick around 10 to 11 p.m. when both bars will offer Prohibition cocktails priced for a mere buck!
How good are you at trivia? How about while drunk? The Famous in Glendale will be doing a Repeal Day themed trivia night and the winner will win the right to pay their bill with prices from 1933. If you don’t want to take your chances with trivia, there will be $6 Old Fashioneds, $4 Repeal punch, and $2 Tall Boys. To get you in the mood for bootlegging, Ken Burns’ Prohibition and The Untouchables will screen all night long.
Neat in Glendale knows what drinkers need: a BBQ food truck and a burlesque dancer. Plus if you bring in a toy (valued at $10 or more) to put under the Toys for Tots tree they have set up at the bar, you’ll get a free Old Fashioned cocktail or Batch 19 Pre-Prohibition Style beer.
Next Door Lounge is going all out with live jazz music, barrel-aged bourbon and moonshine cocktails, and happy hour prices all night long. Ladies get a glass of bubbly for a dime. If you feel like treating yourself, there will also be a Heaven Hill Distillery bourbon tasting ($30 a person, includes food).
For a taste of what the energy on Repeal Day night must have been like back in 1933, raucous Sunset Boulevard bar Rock & Reilly’s will have live music, as well as $1 Mother’s Milk whiskey shots straight from a barrel on the bar.
The Varnish and Cole’s Red Car Bar are hosting the 5th Annual Jimmy Barella Bartending Competition with bartenders going head to head in three rounds. Judging starts at 3 p.m. And afterwards guests can partake of an ice luge and $5 Old Overholt punch.