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FYI I am in the process of making edits to this page for an English assignment. We may not all agree on what I edit in, but I am doing it with the purpose of learning and advancing my thought process in how to use Wikipedia for an academic purpose. I will only be on this article for two more weeks; at which point I welcome you to undo all of my updates if you feel they are not proper to the criteria. Until then would it be possible to leave the page as it stands until April 15th and then I will be done with my assignment. Thanks!!! Alley 18:32, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

With the hopes of turning this article into a correct and informative article that meets Wikipedia's Featured Article criteria, much restructuring and research of the article needs to take place. The article is not broad and it seems to mainly focuses on the topic of defining it rather then breaking it down and discussing the why, what, and how of the Speakeasy. Alley 02:14, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

How was the term "speakeasy" created?

According to the History Channel, it comes from the manner in which patrons ordered - the bartender would tell them to be quiet and 'speak easy'. I added this to the article. Tkessler 18:47, Apr 13, 2005 (UTC)

Can anybody provide source information for this line of the article: "Some discreet venues called smoke-easies have popped up in states such as New York, California, and Massachusetts where smoking marijuana in bars and clubs is prohibited." I live in Boston, MA and this is news to me.

I'd always heard it came from the fact that because anyone in such an establishment was de facto breaking the law already, gangsters and whatnot could "speak easy" about business without worrying about who overheard them. Anyone know if there's any truth to that? Mule Man 18:09, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Article misleading?Edit

Am I right in saying that a speakeasy was often masked behind a legitimate business, especially during prohibition, in order to lower the chances of their being raided?

If so, the article makes little mention of it.

I could, of course, be entirely wrong. Ollieha 17:44, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

No, I think you're right about that. Chavila 20:46, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Does anyone have any references, for this then? Or shall I add it anyway? Ollieha 22:00, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
this article seems to include a bias against Jazz, implies that Jazz music simply came from prohibition. clearly, Jazz stands on it's own. not a user —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:05, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Its more then misleading it reads like it was written by a religious zelot. Im not a drinker myself but clearly this article needs to be removed and rewritten. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:14, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

I disagree about removing the article. The writing could be improved by saying speakeasies made jazz flourish. The competition between each "joint" promoted the hiring of big bands. Dress styles were changing, but not because of speakeasies. It was mostly due to college students changing their appearance with fur coats and short skirts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:52, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
This article is clearly pure knowledge and reinterpretation. It speaks of what was, so it should sound like it was written by a religious zhelott. I happen to be an 8th grader with a brain of a college professor. I am agreeing on not removing the article. <3kayla t.:) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:04, 3 December 2009 (UTC)


Should the parenthesis type citations be replaced by wiki-style citations? --SonicEarth (talk) 02:50, 12 May 2008 (UTC)


This term "corruption" doesn't bother me at all here. If we use the laws of the land at the time, then indeed the speakeasies were corrupting the public by providing easy access to alcohol and not respecting the law. This doesn't equate to the moral definition of corruption, but the legal realities during the prohibition period.

There's a lot of talk about 'corruption' in this's loaded language. I think a lot of that language should be removed. Niten (talk) 02:12, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

I agree, it seems biased and repetitive. Speakeasy's should not be tied exclusively with corruption. (Brodisseus (talk) 21:07, 20 June 2008 (UTC))

I would not include people who went to speakeasies as being corrupt. Most were hard working people at legitimate jobs and they went to a speakeasy usually only on Saturday night. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:39, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

It reads like a high school or really bad college essay. The author is trying to demonstrate that speakeasies caused corruption, failing. It is also not really relevant to 'public reception.' (talk) 01:25, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

I couldn't agree more. By the time I got to this line: "The speakeasies corrupted the general public by making it easy to break the laws of the prohibition." I was rolling my eyes. EricTN (talk) 15:10, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Practically ironic. It has irate meanings which concludes that it does not match the definition it was given. Clearly some people don't know the correct definition.:KT:

This section adds no significant information to the article; it seems the author was only interested in saying "corruption" as many times as possible. (talk) 19:23, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

I most definitely agree.

Blind PigEdit

Oppose merger with speakeasy. 1990's use of the term "blind pig" in Detroit referred to an establishment that illegally sold liquor after the official closing time. (An after hours club) It is not the same as a speakeasy, which is an illegal liquor selling establishment, usually during Prohibition. Pustelnik (talk) 01:49, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

The article says blind pigs provided "alcoholic beverages illegally," which is apparently true since the Volstead act forbade either selling or furnishing alcoholic beverages. Then it says these places were "circumventing the law" by furnishing the drink as "complimentary." The claims cannot both be true. Either it was illegal or it circumvented the law. I expect it was just illegal, but someone who know might clear this up.Colin McLarty (talk) 22:09, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

  • The explanation is that the term "blind pig" originated in the 19th century long before the Volstead Act became law. There were numerous localities that prohibited liquor, but there was no national prohibition at that time. Bar owners said they were giving drinks away, not selling them, and therefore they were not violating the local prohibition. Wahrmund (talk) 01:25, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
    • Thanks. That is a clear explanation, but it is hard to believe local lawmakers did not get wise to this trick or that local judges cared what the bar owners said. Is there documentation that such blind pigs actually existed? Colin McLarty (talk) 15:38, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

I think that these local laws were loosely written and feebly enforced. Certainly the police knew about these places but were either bribed or just didn't care. For documentation, see the two quotations in the article. Also, the terms "blind pig" and "blind tiger" were included in Webster's Dictionary#Webster's Third New International Dictionary (1961) and in later dictionaries. These establishments were certainly not figments of the popular imagination. Wahrmund (talk) 21:59, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Massive editing neededEdit

I have added significant information to a new sub-section heading Temperance Movement. Hopefully this gives the article more depth. Malissa875 (talk) 17:49, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

I have moved around some of the information that is in the article and adding addition hierarchy headings and sub-sections. I will be adding in the upcoming days the text for those sections. History- Blind Pigs, Hidden Secrets, Locations Culture-Drinking, Gangster, Music Prohibition-Temperance, Teetolism, 18th Amendment, Anti-Saloon League Malissa875 (talk) 00:58, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

The entire "public reception" section needs to be removed - there is little of redeeming value in it and the tone is completely juvenile. Any objections? Robotk (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 12:39, 13 September 2008 (UTC).

No objections here. Madman (talk) 14:30, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
At least needs a POV tag. So I added one. Woodega (talk) 19:13, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree with the suggested removal. (talk) 19:22, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
Another yes vote for deleting the "public reception" section. Totally POV, no supporting factual basis. Steve Hyland (talk) 06:05, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

I also vote for deleting it, and I have deleted it. Wahrmund (talk) 22:25, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I agree on deleting it also. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:43, 4 December 2009 (UTC)


I have copied and pasted the information from Blind pig into this article and tweaked it up some. I know it is not as good as it can be; it still needs a good bit of work. I redirectid Blind pig to Speakeasy#Blind pigs. If anyone objects, please feel free to undo my edits and let me know. Thanks. --Andrew Kelly (talk) 09:25, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Is a Blind Pig just like organized crime? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:49, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Suggestion: LocationsEdit

Suggestions on additional content:

  • Gambling: Gambling had been very prevelant throughout the U.S. from colonial times through the 19th century (this was in fact one issue that led to the American Revolution). There was a "prohibition" on gambling that went into effect nationwide in the early 20th century before the prohibition on alcohol went into effect (the gambling prohibition was local in contrast to the alcohol prohibition). Gambling and alcohol during Prohibition often went hand-in-hand. That is, speakeasies were often casinos and vice versa. This seems worth bringing out in the article.
  • Locations: The speakeasy culture was not uniform across the U.S. Whereas in some areas law enforcement was so tight that only informal mom-and-pop shops could operate, in other areas the speakeasies were big elaborate establishments as described in the article. It seems worthwhile to add a section discussing where the big speakeasy cultures were (i.e. where were the big drinking centers).
  • Law enforcement: Although it is touched on in the article, it seems more could be said about the relationship between lax law enforcement and the success of speakeasy's (e.g. talking about specific notorious cases of whole police forces were on the payroll of particular mob figures allowing the speakeasies to operate).

--Mcorazao (talk) 19:50, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Today's speakeasysEdit

So if a news article today talks about a speakeasy (like this article) that is operating today, what exactly are they refering to? A "bar" without a liquor license? --Mûĸĸâĸûĸâĸû 02:05, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

I think some people, especially the young, use the term "speakeasy" because they do not know the terms "blind pig and "blind tiger." These terms have fallen into disuse in recent decades, though they are still cited in both Webster's 3rd and NOAD2. IMO, "speakeasy" should be restricted to illegal bars that operated during Prohibition. Wahrmund (talk) 22:20, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't know about today, but after Repeal, many speakeasies continued operations without a liquor license; they continued to be called "speakeasies". BMJ-pdx (talk) 16:07, 4 October 2019 (UTC)


Is it pronounced "speak-easy" or "speak-a-see"? (talk) 19:48, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

It's "speak-easy".Wahrmund (talk) 22:22, 11 December 2009 (UTC)


I removed the following list from the Locations section. Wikipedia is not a list of links or an advertising brochure. Where there is a wikipedia article for the listed speakeasies (i.e. they meetwikipedia notability guidelines) then we should include a wikilink but we should not be linking directly to external websites in this manner.

Polyamorph (talk) 19:08, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

This is very possibly why they were called "blind tigers"Edit

Apart from the association with blindness (getting blind), which was the effect, the reference to tiger is something unconnected. The card game "Faro", which was played in the old west, subsequently became the main gambling game in saloons/drinking establishments. It would have been played in speakeasies. Not only bootleg liquor, but also gambling was available. Faro games were advertised by a tiger sign. Towns with a lot of gambling/vice were actually called "tiger towns". The tiger of the sign, indicating the availability of a card game, became the colloquial term for the club/casino/bar (speakeasy).

Wikipedia: "The faro game was also called "bucking the tiger" or "twisting the tiger's tail", which comes from early card backs that featured a drawing of a Bengal tiger. By the mid 19th century, the tiger was so commonly associated with the game that gambling districts where faro was popular became known as "tiger town", or in the case of smaller venues, "tiger alley".[6] In fact, some gambling houses would simply hang a picture of a tiger in their windows to advertise that a game could be found within." (talk)


I recently edited Speakeasy_(disambiguation) to add the door feature and I couldn't help but think Speakeasies very likely might benefit from a speakeasy in their door that they could open and ask the 'password', &c. So what came first: the saloon or the peephole/speak hole door? I did quick superficial online research and found no sources about this subject. --IP_edits (talk) 23:00, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

Term for the peephole?Edit

I once heard a 64-dollar word (French, perhaps) for the peephole in a speakeasy door, but can't remember what it was. Does anyone know it? It would make a colorful addition.

BMJ-pdx (talk) 15:56, 4 October 2019 (UTC)