Celebrate Repeal Day with me!

The taverns are not generally under the best regulations, although they were crowded to overflowing. I stopped at the Steamboat Hotel, and I thought enough grog was sold at that bar to satisfy any reasonable demand for a whole village.

– A. A. Parker, 1835

It was absolutely impossible to get a drink in Detroit unless you walked at least ten feet and told the busy bartender what you wanted in a voice loud enough for him to hear you above the uproar.

– Malcolm Bingay,  writing about Detroit under Prohibition in Detroit is My Own Home Town, 1946

Friends, this is going to be a good one.

You know that I love stories of drinking and disorder in early Detroit, right? And that I myself love a stiff (but well-made!) drink, and the pleasures of boisterous company? If you’ve been reading the book you may have noticed that I included not one but TWO chapters about liquor, parties, dancing, overindulgence and miscellaneous dissipation.

Since its founding in 1701, Detroit’s history has been thoroughly wet — rough, bloody, and dissolute, but uninterrupted, despite the best efforts of Jesuits, Yankee Puritans, preachers, Temperance activists, and two legal Prohibitions. (Yes, two. More on Michigan during the Maine Law years – 1855-1875 – later this week.)

On Monday, December 5 — the anniversary of the repeal of the 18th amendment, which ended 13 years of Prohibition in the United States — we celebrate this drenched legacy in style at The Sugar House. Former Free Press columnist Bill McGraw and I will deliver some favorite episodes from Detroit’s drinking history, and there will be classic cocktails aplenty, plus Dixie jazz from the D-Town Get Down Brass Band.

We’ll kick off with a ceremonial cask-tapping at 5:30 p.m. Doors at 3:00 if you want to get an early start. Period dress encouraged.

Hope to see you there!

(Amazing poster art by Perfect Laughter. More info at repealdaydetroit.com.)

“It was absolutely impossible to get a drink in Detroit unless you walked at least ten feet and told the busy bartender what you wanted in a voice loud enough for him to hear you above the uproar.”  – Malcolm Bingay, Detroit is My Own Home Town, 1946  It was absolutely impossible to get a drink in Detroit unless you walked at least ten feet and told the busy bartender what you wanted in a voice loud enough for him to hear you above the uproar. – Malcolm Bingay, Detroit is My Own Home Town, 1946

#detroit drinking history#events#parties#repeal day detroit#sugar house detroit

Comments

  1. Adam - December 5, 2013 @ 7:48 am

    Hi Amy!

    The Sugar House is posting their doors open at 5 today. However, if doors open at 3, I’m there.

  2. amy - December 5, 2013 @ 7:57 am

    Hey Adam! This post is from a couple of years ago, so I will go with what’s on their site. I did not plan my own Repeal Day party this year, but I’ll be at Tommy’s Bar celebrating with Preservation Detroit: http://preservationdetroit.org/2013/11/18/speakeasy-project-party-thursday-december-5-2013/

    Cheers & have fun!!!

  3. Adam - December 5, 2013 @ 8:04 am

    Oi! I feel a bit embarrassed. Sorry about that…didn’t notice the date.

    I hope to meet you at Tommy’s tonight as I’ll be there as well. Will you be selling/signing any of your books tonight? Love your site!

    Adam

  4. amy - December 5, 2013 @ 9:22 am

    Say hi! I’ll likely be working the door. I won’t have books tonight, but I will at the Preservation Detroit Noel Night party!

  5. Adam - December 5, 2013 @ 9:43 am

    Roger that!

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