Speakeasy One Hundred Years Later

On a recent visit to downtown McKinney we dropped into Layered, a restaurant owned by a friend from Garland. Nir Sela is the former owner of the Generator Coffee Shop on the Garland downtown square. He now owns and operates a great place for brunch that closes  midafternoon. The place is then converted to a speakeasy that opens in the evening. It features a wide variety of alcoholic beverages, including a collection of hard to find and very expensive whiskeys. Room 111 also has a tapas bar food menu.

A Facebook post about this place received several comments and questions. “What is a speakeasy?” we were asked. After giving that question some thought, I realized that it’s an anachronism. It dates back to 1920 and Prohibition, which didn’t end until 1933. During those 13 years the sale of alcoholic beverages was illegal. Keep in mind this also followed the 1918-1919 pandemic. Out of sight of law enforcement, speakeasies sprang up around the country. Clubs and saloons all operating in secrecy. Stills producing whiskey were operating in the boonies, and the top shelf stuff was being smuggled in. My own grandmother made beer, stored it in milk cans, and sold it from her little grocery store in Chicago. The era of Prohibition was known as “The Roaring 20’s”. 

The speakeasies springing up here in the 2020’s are not illegal, but they do foster the feeling of secrecy. This trend was no doubt spurred on by the lockdowns of the pandemic, killing all forms of social activity. The speakeasy we visited required a password for entry down a dark hallway and through a secret door. Windows are covered, and the party’s on! 

Nancy Ghirla

Email: [email protected]

had my password
then I went down the hall
Johnnie Walker Ghost and Rare Scotch