HomeNewsThe Secret Tunnels Of LA's Prohibition-Era Bar Scene

The Secret Tunnels Of LA’s Prohibition-Era Bar Scene


Just to be clear, there aren’t just a handful of now-abandoned tunnels underneath Los Angeles — Drivin’ & Vibin’ says that there are 11 miles worth of tunnels stretching this way and that way underneath the city’s downtown. That’s plenty of space for Prohibition-era bootleggers and patrons to hide, store, transport, distill, guzzle, etc., entire breweries’ worth of booze. Not that everyone during Prohibition in LA had to spelunk to have a gin and tonic. Various aboveground, liquor-flush establishments populated the LA landscape, like Townhouse in Venice or the 1906-born King Eddy Saloon, which masqueraded as a piano shop until 1933. Places like those became LA historical staples, although King Eddy’s got gobbled up by Skid Row in the following decades and has since closed, if Yelp reviews are any indication.

Prohibition-era customers seeking something a bit more heady than the legal goods advertised on storefronts often passed into a basement-level speakeasy where they could drink in peace. Drivin’ & Vibin’ says that customers headed to the speakeasy under the aforementioned Townhouse slipped through an actual trap door in the floor and into a room that served no more than two people at a time. Atlas Obscura says that King Eddy’s Saloon, by contrast, had a full basement that connected directly to LA’s underground tunnel system. Those passages interwove with LA’s old railway lines.

[Featured image by Alissa Walker via Flickr | Cropped and scaled | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]





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