The 1920s prohibition with its glitz, glamour, and secrecy has an undeniable lure. So when the PPC asked us to help them throw a speakeasy party we couldn’t say no. With The Great Gatsby premier on the horizon, we had long strings of pearls and feather headdresses (along with thoughts of Leo) on the brain.
There are a lot of ways to tackle the Speakeasy theme. We wanted to make sure ours was authentic and remained true to the illicit and covert nature of a speakeasy. Generally held in a secret location, we decided to set ours in a library which we oh-so-cleverly named “The Library.” Guests were mailed overdue library notices that served as their invitations along with a secret password that would get them through the gate. Now how does one turn a backyard into a 1920’s bar?
First we painted two 6’x8′ bookcases and labeled each one with books written before the 1920s which we hung on the wall outside the house.
We hung 3 cutouts of band members playing various instruments from fishing wire behind a large white sheet and lit them from behind to create a shadow band. The band was positioned in front of the dance floor and the sound system was set up behind them to give the illusion of a live band.
We set up a few cocktail tables with candles and books for the guests to mingle at and had a buffet laden with popular food from the 1920s. Across the yard we set up our bookshelf bar. We filled it with old books and antique glassware. We re-labeled all the hard liquor bottles with authentic labels, de-labeled the beer , and decanted the wine into jugs. The bartenders served up drinks that were popular in the 1920s (such as Tom Collins’ and Old Fashioneds) and offered gruff conversation over bar nuts as they mixed and shook the drinks.
Until 10:00 pm, when the dance floor started to fill up more, we played music of the era and then transitioned to something more modern. People ate, drank, and danced the night away, pausing only to watch the champagne flow through the tower and cheers to the night.