The modern speakeasy is on the rise, and they’ve arrived in Boston’s MetroWest. These tucked-away pubs and gathering spaces are reminiscent of the hidden Prohibition-era bars. Oftentimes, you have to know exactly where you’re going to find your destination for the evening. Boston is home to numerous high-end speakeasies.
These dimly-lit venues marry swanky style with romantic appeal. Because speakeasies are meant to feel a bit secretive and exclusive, their decor is often dark and mysterious. Rich colors, dark woods, and deep hues characterize the modern speakeasy–and that’s why basements tend to be an ideal location to house a speakeasy. Like a bar or game room, you can create your own sophisticated speakeasy. Whether you’re looking to design a basement pub or remodel your upstairs bar after the vintage style of the 20s and 30s, it’s possible to bring a little forbidden flair to your own home.
History of the American Speakeasy
Speakeasies were a characterizing feature of Prohibition in the United States. From 1920 to 1933, the 18th Amendment made alcohol federally illegal. In response, saloons and pubs went underground so their patrons could continue enjoying a drink or two discreetly. To enter a speakeasy, patrons had to speak the password softly–hence, their name. Many speakeasies were hidden in the basements of existing establishments and even in private homes. Some speakeasies were lively dance halls featuring the greatest jazz musicians of the time, such as Harlem’s famous Cotton Club. The Prohibition era ultimately paved the way for the thriving nightlife scenes of the present day. The rise of the American speakeasy also coincided with the rise of organized crime across the country. Notorious mobsters such as Al Capone controlled speakeasies across the nation. Law enforcement officers were often paid off to look the other way while speakeasy owners and patrons continued to enjoy their dancing, drinks, and music.
A Speakeasy and Music Room in Concord
For a recent remodel in Concord, a town rich with American history, we designed a basement music room and bar with speakeasy style. The speakeasy is nestled between the media room and foyer of the basement space, which also boasts a game room and plenty of entertainment space for guests. Our Concord homeowner hoped to create separate rooms that still flowed together as one, so we created vignettes to better utilize the space.
The basement’s open floor plan was zoned into four separate spaces for entertainment and gaming. For the speakeasy and music room, we designed a welcoming space that’s perfect for gathering to enjoy a drink and a song or two. Guests can lounge in the plush seating area, tickle the ivories on the upright piano, or have a cocktail at the dry bar.
We infused the Concord space with a modern speakeasy feel. Guests enter the room through their very own “secret entrance.” Pocket doors with textured glass panels allow light to pass through, while still providing privacy.
The Trellis Cage Drum Chandelier and Amantii Panorama Slim Electric Fireplace add a romantic touch, while the bold, modern dry bar keeps the space firmly anchored in the 21st Century. Dark tones, in addition to wood and stone elements, create a relaxed, yet inviting atmosphere. The practical, oak laminate flooring from Mohawk provided a bit of relief in the budget while maintaining an authentic look.
For the dry bar, we selected a quartz stone countertop with a full-height mirror tile backsplash. The cabinetry features a dark wood finish and floating shelves. We also added built-in cabinets, functional storage spaces, and shelves throughout the room for items that needed to be displayed or safely tucked away.
Entertain Guests in Your Own Speakeasy
If you want a swanky, inviting speakeasy of your own, we can help! It’s possible to design and build a speakeasy for hosting and entertaining guests in the comfort of your house.
Request a consult to get started.