The Purist’s View:
The Death of the Speakeasy
What is a Speakeasy without its secrecy? A bar with a quirky entrance.
The term Speakeasy is an evocative concept, or at least, it used to be. It was Kafka-esque, an unknown behind an unmarked door.
I mean, we’re all aware of their prohibition origins. We all know that they are meant to be a secret, or at least on the hush hush. Yet, when I started caring, I started knowing—and it should never be that easy. I hear about NYC Speakeasies as often as I hear about rallies at NYU…And maybe I need to get my priorities in check (it’s possible isn’t it?), but no I will not take all the blame.
Millennials are entitled, to the point of sniveling sometimes, but goshdarnit we have good intentions. This is why everyone has access to Speakeasies because we think we all deserve it! As a purist, I’m calling for a referendum, a complete shift in the way Speakeasies are talked about, or…may they rest in peace.
- As Conversation Topics
The first problem is intrinsic—Speakeasies shouldn’t by any means be a casual topic of conversation. They were once exclusive, arcane, where you go to get a scotch and soda and some form of ‘different’ entertainment. Nowadays, they’re full of schlubs with nice watches.
My friend was in town for a long weekend and told me that the prior night he’d gone to a Speakeasy in the Lower East Side (his first night in!). He seemed proud as if he had already penetrated the inner workings of New York. Frankly, this conversation shouldn’t have taken place.
2. In Social Media
The second problem is social media. Foursquare and Yelp to be more precise—but Instagram is guilty as well. There is a deluge–far too many–photos, reviews, and write-ups about these places. Not only is it counterintuitive to have so much publicity surrounding a secret place, it’s a damn abomination.
We have faux speakeasies, speakeasies that are actually named Please Don’t Tell, speakeasies that call themselves speakeasies solely because it’s dark and they have antique decor ‘that recalls the great era of the New Deal.’ You can even search Speakeasy, so that if you’re having difficulty finding it, Maps can instantly clear that up for you.
3. Our Entitlement
So, I’m convinced that the third problem is our generation. Our generation is killing everything that was once sacred. Everyone’s seen the pyramid of the Louvre, just as we’ve all seen Machu Picchu dozens and dozens of times. Our generation is actually killing the swimming pigs in the Bahamas. Our generation is fiddling with, re-appropriating, and unearthing everything that once was.
I’m asking that we save the Speakeasy, by not mentioning it anymore. Please, let it be.
Stay tuned for another perspective.