A former subterranean pool parlour in Fortitude Valley is puttin’ on the Ritz in a cavernous underground bar setting reminiscent of a 1920s speakeasy
It was notorious in the ’90s for strip clubs and seedy bars. Now there’s a dress code and security checks, and the scantily clad are long gone. Suspenders and risqué flapper dresses are still standard staff garb for women staff though, and the gents serving you now wear pinstripes, white spats and arrow collars. Welcome to the underground world of Prohibition – a glamorous, roaring ’20s-style speakeasy that recreates a bygone era of bootleggers and moonshine.
Take your pick of Prohibition’s four basement-level bars. In the Blind Tiger, a snappy filament-in-bottle lit chamber with a tiger marble countertop, you’ll come across wannabe broadcasters spinning vinyl on a gramophone-fronted DJ system.
The Peacock Lounge is larger, a quiet room (the custom-made intelligent sound system ensures music from one space never dominates another) framed by vintage glass, period furniture, textured wallpaper and vibrant tapestries. Here you’ll be tempted by a teacup of gin, perhaps, or a delicate Bug Eyed Betty (amaretto, gin, bubbles and a blueberry), while nestled by the fireplace, swallowed in a Chesterfield. Keep your peepers peeled for VIPs; the private (swipe card access only, thank you) Wall Street bar is facing you, secreted behind that fake timber wall.
In the main hall, a massive chandelier sways while live swing bands belt out tunes and guys and dolls dance off their giggle water. The cavernous, 1,100-metre space is dressed in timber with raw brick and exposed copper piping, evidence of tenants past. Its huge, four-sided bar boasts every liquid concoction imaginable. There are Prohibition signatures and top shelf liquors, and everything from the 17-page leather bound drinks list can be muddled, shaken or stirred. Investigate this book of 1920s-style creations: the Cat’s Meow (vodka, elderflower, citrus, agave) and Bootlegger’s Breakfast (whiskey, triple sec, marmalade) are available in two-litre tapped fountains. Who needs just one glass?
It’s not often we mention bathrooms, but seriously, even the urinal is impressive (yes, we peeked) with a tommy-gun toting gangster supervising the, er, hangout. And ‘suffragettes’ should check out the vintage mirrored powder room with chaises longues and Hollywood-style lighting. No time to glam up? The Vintage Social package includes your hair and make-up done on the premises and signature cocktail deal.
So, if you're blue and you don't know where to go to, dress up like a million dollar trouper and swap your dimes for wonderful times at a basement bar that gets the concept bang-on.
206 Wickham St
|Opening hours:||Thu 5pm-1am; Fri, Sat 5pm-5am|