Breaking: Apparently Speakeasy-Style Bars Are Having a Moment

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Speak easy, but carry a big drink. Photo: Dan4th via Flickr

The dream of the late aughts is alive in Philadelphia. Thats what the Inkys food section tells us today with a lengthy feature on our fair citys rising speakeasy scene. Dont get us wrong. Its a well written piece that hits all the right notes. Booze wizards like Franklin Mortgages Al Sotack, Emmanuelles Phoebe Esmon, and Shake, Stir, Pour author Katie Loeb all get mentions, thus proving the craft cocktail movement here still has legs to stagger on for at least another round or two. But to hang the whole thing on the moth-eaten speakeasy schtick, seems a little like, well, yesterdays news.

Seriously, this speakeasy thing has already come and gone. Need evidence? We have two words: Ranstead Room. Master of the sincerest form of flattery, Stephen Starr, delivered his dimly-lit and drop-dead sexy, secret cocktail parlor just shy of three years ago. Youll recall he brought in Professor of Prohibition-era cocktails, Sasha Petraske to fine-tune the drinks program. That, for all intents and purposes, was the movements peak. And that came at least a year after trail blazer (in terms of Philly) Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. started shaking up the cocktail scene.

Even more convincing is the fact that the s-word itself prompts Mr. Mysterioso, Hop Sing Laundromat proprietor Lee, to ring us every time we mention it in the same breath as his not-so secret Chinatown lair. Each time he calls, which hes been doing since before he was serving customers, its to assure us that hes not playing the Baptists and Bootleggers game. He says, hes simply running bar.

That said, whats next in hot trends? Korean tacos?

City 'speakeasies' are a throwback to Prohibition [Inquirer]