Three Bars With Ties to D.C.'s Prohibition Past

Sunday, December 7, 2008

These D.C. bars have a connection (either virtual or actual) to the Prohibition era. A couple of their bartenders shared their thoughts on Washington's drinking habits.

18th Amendment 613 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, 202-543-3622

The decor of this Capitol Hill establishment suggests speak-easiness: the chrome ceiling, the mile-long bar, the lounge area and, especially, the basement. Down a flight of stairs is the Keyhole, a backroom with a pool table, a visible liquor room cordoned off by chicken wire, and newspaper clippings on the walls about Al Capone, who controlled Chicago's beer business during Prohibition and whose name was bestowed on one of 18th Amendment's pizzas. Christopher Ravenscroft, 26, of Glover Park has tended bar there for a year.

Describe Washington's drinking culture.

You see the bright side and dark side of people. The beauty of alcohol is that, six drinks in, people can't hide themselves for long.

Your most frequently ordered drink?

Gin and tonic. Or rum and coke. We do a fair amount of Long Island iced teas, too, for younger people who just want to get twisted.

If Prohibition were suddenly resurrected, what do you think would happen?

This level would be turned into something like a pet store. And downstairs would still be a bar.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2008 The Washington Post Company