The Buckhorn Exchange

The Buckhorn Exchange, established in Denver, Colorado in 1893 is a landmark steakhouse that serves up a taste of history alongside its delicious fare. Situated in Downtown Denver, The Buckhorn Exchange is the city’s oldest restaurant. Founded by Henry H. Zeitz, a local and one of the Old West’s most colorful characters, Zeitz was known to run in the same circles as figures like “Buffalo Bill” and Chief Sitting Bull, both of whom figure prominently into the atmosphere of The Buckhorn.

From the establishment’s opening in 1893, The Buckhorn has kept the spirit of the Old West alive. Historically, the restaurant attracted the business of the cattlemen, miners, silver barons and railroad-men who built the West. And although the clientele may look different today, the stories of those folks are alive at the restaurant. President Roosevelt even feasted at The Buckhorn! In fact, photos and the engine flag of Roosevelt’s Presidential Express train, which he traveled to Denver upon, adorn the establishment. Included among these artifacts are hundreds of other pristine memorabilia like a rare game collection, a 125-piece gun collection, and an antique white-oak bar made in Germany in 1857.

So what’s for dinner?

In the mood for authentic Old West fare? Look no further than The Buckhorn Exchange. In true Wild West fashion, you might whet your appetite with starters like mouth-watering Rock Mountain Oysters, Fried Alligator Tail, or Rattlesnake. But be sure to leave room for the biggest and juiciest steaks your carnivorous bellies can imagine. And if you’re dining with a group, you’ve just gotta try The Big Steak, the specialty oversized steaks intended to feed up to five people! The lawlessness of the Old West is certainly afoot on The Buckhorn’s menu which also offers selections of elk, quail, duck, and buffalo.

One of America’s Best Historic Restaurants

The Buckhorn Exchange delivers in history and cuisine. Curated like a museum of Old West antiquities, The Buckhorn Exchange truly evokes memories of Western yesteryear. Laden with history, charm, and even a bit of lore, The Buckhorn Exchange is a must-see institution of Colorado history.

The Berghoff Chicago

The Berghoff is a family-owned and operated restaurant in Chicago. A slice of American history, the restaurant is a classic American dream story. Herman Berghoff emigrated to Illinois from Germany and after mild success slinging beers at the 1893 World’s Fair, Berghoff’s dream of opening a restaurant, now a Chicago institution, burgeoned. In 1898, The Berghoff first opened its doors, selling nickel beers with a free sandwich on the side. Berghoff innovatively survived Prohibition by brewing what he termed “near beer” and expanding his menu.

More than 100 years since opening its doors, The Berghoff is still as well-trafficked as it was in its infancy. Its enduring popularity through the ages is a testament to the establishment’s delicious and consistent cuisine. What’s more is that The Berghoff has created a legacy for so many: The Berghoff family who still operate the restaurant today, the employees, some of whom have been with the establishment for decades, and the families who have patronized the restaurant for generations.

Did someone say schnitzel?

The Berghoff’s authentic German menu serves up world-class cuisine. With full lunch, dinner, and drink menus, they’ve got it all. From the delectable Bavarian Pretzels served with cheese and sweet mustard to Schnitzel you’ll die for. There is something to satiate anyone’s appetite. What’s more, is that the knowledgeable staff can help you pair any one of the restaurant’s German delights with a house-brewed beer like a hoppy IPA or bold stout. Cheers!

Where to Find The Berghoff

Although its flagship establishment is situated in Downtown Chicago, be on the lookout for its sister establishment, Berghoff Cafe O’Hare, as you catch your next flight out of Chicago O’Hare International Airport. And in homage to its roots, you can also experience The Berghoff at the new Adam Street Brewery, a 15-barrel brewery located in the heart of the Loop. At any of their establishments, you won’t want to miss their epic happy hour specials where you can unwind with friends and family at an establishment that feels like a second home. If you’re planning on being in Chicago, you have to be sure to stop at The Berghoff, an American Institution.

The Ladies Room

This bar goes by the name ‘The Ladies Room’, but don’t let that throw you off, fellas. I still gotcha? Good. If you’re looking for a cozy spot to kick back and sample some of the finest sipping spirits in Chicago then you’re on the right track. This is a laid back, intimate bar with a current of class coursing through it.

The interior is stunning. Totally intimate, totally luxurious. It takes me back in time to the roaring days of the speakeasy, where you kept your trusted friends close and your drinks “just between us girls”. But The Ladies Room clearly values one thing above all else, and that’s FLAVOR.

The Ladies Room is part of the Fat Rice family, which boasts a restaurant, a bakery, and this reservations-only bar. Maybe it’s thanks to these flavor-minded neighbors that there’s no lack of experimentation when it comes to the cocktails. Even the presentation is unique. All of the drinks have an original name. If you order The Evening Post, you’d be greeted with a medley of champagne, absinthe, honey, and lime. Ahhhh. That drink could make you feel real sophisticated.

On the other hand, some of them might make you feel like a loon. Yes, mezcal, vermouth, and são jorge cheese rind sounds as intriguing as it is delicious, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to ask the barkeep for “Sexy Aliens on Spring Break” with a straight face. On the other other hand, cutting a bit loose might be the point.

The name suggests privacy, but the kind of privacy that you take with friends. Let’s all kick off our heels, so to speak, and ignore the rest of the party for a minute. The Ladies Room is a charming oasis that serves as a respite from the bustle of other nightlife scenes.

Rare it is that a place can take so many bold moves – flaming drinks and hot pepper spirits, anyone? – without turning the whole joint into one big gimmick. Maybe it’s the menu and the staff, or maybe it’s just the regulars that hang out here whenever they can, but this bar feels authentic and very rich in a special something.

False Idol

If you’re looking for a lush hideout in San Diego, look no further than False Idol. This tikki bar commits to everything that a good speakeasy should be, while really expanding on what a speakeasy could be. Although it doesn’t look like many of us are going to get bored of the prohibition theme any time soon, that doesn’t mean I’m not all for casting a wider net and scooping up more fans of the speakeasy. So how does False Idol do that?

For starters, there’s no street-side entrance. If you want to enter this tikki bar, you have to get to it by going into the neighboring establishment and ask for the entrance. From there, you’ll be led to a… walk-in freezer?

Open the freezer door and you’ll find no frozen meats and veggies, but a long, dark hallway. Walk into the darkness past the crates of fruit and spooky skulls, and you’ll find yourself in a tiki bar! How did that get in here?

Every inch is decorated in bright colors, enriched by warm lighting that contrast the dim surroundings. Take a seat and peruse the menu if you wish, but I bet you’ll keep stealing glances at your surroundings. This place is a work of art, and it has a story to tell, hidden in the newspaper clippings and “ artifacts”. The crown jewel is a giant water feature in the center of the room, seconded by the large fireplaces that look like wide smiling mouths. Running your eyes around the room, you can begin to piece together the story that your surroundings are holding onto.

As soon as you think you’ve seen your fill, is that a roll of thunder? Don’t pack your purse and flee the patio just yet, it’s only one of the stunning light and sound shows that happen throughout the night — one more piece of the rich layer cake.

Hey I think I’m forgetting something – the drinks! The menu is good for snacking and the cocktails are a regular treat. It wouldn’t be a proper speakeasy without a drinks menu, would it? Whether you wanna get refined or just plain ol boozy, there’s a cocktail on the menu with your name on it. If you’re like me, you’ll go for the cocktails and stay for the surroundings.

Backroom NYC

The 18th amendment is over and done, but Backroom NYC still sticks to its roots. It doesn’t get any more authentic than this, because this bar has been a speakeasy since Prohibition. Places like these, that have stuck around through the ages, know what their patrons are after. And boy, does this place deliver.

Step down through the back entrance to what was once Ratner’s Deli and you’ll be taking a walk into one of only two original speakeasies still runningin use in New York City. Just thinking about the things this place musta seen from then to now gets me all excited. Talk about a historical experience. Even if you’re not a total history buff like me, there’s something for everyone here.

It’s lush, it’s dark, it’s high end. It’s in an old basement, so you go downstairs and start to drink and socialize, and maybe even “conduct business” like the mobsters of old, and it feels like no time’s passed at all. You can drink a beer out of a paper bag or hard liquor out of a coffee mug. While having a drink in a coffee mug might usually just illicit nostalgia for the college years, it feels necessary here in case the place gets busted. Why officer! This is chamomile tea!

This New York City gem is a well-known secret – you can even find the password for the week on their website, but don’t assume that means that this place doesn’t keep a few tricks up its sleeve.Run your eyes around the room, and you’ll see scenes from the movies, places of business from the old days, and maybe even the secret room!

Mexican Mixed Seafood Cocktail

We’ve already discussed the basic Shrimp Cocktail, but if you’re looking for a fancier, more complex-tasting seafood cocktail, what you’re probably looking for is the Mexican Mixed Seafood Cocktail. It sounds really pricey, but if you have a reliable source for seafood, this cocktail can really make an impression on guests or as a special occasion for someone who loves seafood and cocktails. In fact, often these cocktails are served as part of a larger seafood-themed meal. If you’re looking to host a house party or special event with this type of theme, you can compare quality seafood delivery services online.

There are endless variations on a theme when it comes to the Mexican seafood cocktail. Looking for a basic shrimp cocktail with that extra kick that the Mexican spice palette is known for? Try this recipe from Allrecipes. With that being said, if you’re willing and able to source more than one type of seafood, this is the personal cocktail recipe we love best. Makes 4 cocktails (or two doubles).

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of “clamato juice”—1 cup tomato juice + ½ cup clam juice
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • ½ cup of your favorite tequila
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • ¼ cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1/2 lb medium shrimp
  • 1/2 lb lobster meat
  • 1/2 lb lump crab meat
  • 1/2 lb calamari
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook or add precooked seafood to a large bowl. In another large bowl, add the clamato juice, lime juice, hot sauce, tequila, onions, cilantro, and garlic. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Pour these ingredients over the seafood, cover and let chill, preferably overnight.

Red Phone Booth

We love speakeasies because they broke the all the rules. Alcohol may have been the lifeblood of the speakeasy, but The Red Phone Booth celebrates a vice of a different kind. While you’ll find plenty of quality cocktails here, once you step through the secret door and enter this fine establishment, the name of the game is cigars. In their state of the art cigar counter, you’ll find not one, but two house cigars.

I just love the way speakeasies get dolled up for modern times. This place, Red Phone Booth, is drawn on the old luxuries while giving its all on the technology front. Looking around, you’ll feel more like you’re in a secret lounge for the worlds elite, especially if you get on board with their membership plan and use their biometric scanner to enter. Wooden interiors, plush leather chairs, and a roaring fire gives it a cozy feeling while being visibly, undeniably high end.

Smoking not your thing? Not a problem. The air in the smoking areas is totally replaced every four minutes, and they have chairs with triple lumbar support. Biometric scanners allow entry to all locations. Cigars might be the special twinkle in their eye, but they’re still friendly to alcohol. Take a whiskey tasting course or attend one of their talks, and you’ll feel less like you’re in a bar and more like you’re attending a meeting at a culture house –a place intent on keeping its secrets but willing to share its shared knowledge with a select few. No wonder exclusivity is such a draw!

But seriously, they like to keep their secrets around here. They don’t take reservations and they don’t give out the code to get in to just anybody. Part of the fun is getting to know someone with access. Planning a trip? Maybe you can get an in with a tasting event.

Prohibition Miami

Lots of times you’ll see a bar that’s trying to recreate a “prohibition experience”. You know what I’m talking about. There’s the requesite red velvet interiors, leather chairs, artwork on the walls featuring mysterious ladies. That’s all fine and good, and you’ll never hear any complaints out of me when it’s done well. But still, there’s always that desire to see something new. When someone adds a fresh spin on the favorite theme, then there’s no better watering hole in town.

Now, most people don’t picture loud and proud Miami as taking part of the secretive glamour of the roaring twenties, but Prohibition Miami figured out how to make the two work together in a way that hits the spot. You’ve still got the typical low lighting and moody color scheme, but along with the typical reds and blacks, they’ve also thrown in lush oranges and deep greens that round out the color scheme. The combination makes it feel less like a tourist spot, and more like a local favorite.

I can’t say it enough: food is a big deal here. The place is two stories, and there’s a reason they put the restaurant on the first floor. You won’t find a lackluster dish. Everything looks beautiful and mouth-watering, while also very refined. The actual cocktail lounge of this speakeasy, aptly named the 18th, is on the second floor. The live music drifts up and down between the open floors, but there’s a totally different atmosphere up top. Upstairs is more social, with long, luxurious open seating that gives you the freedom to mingle or group off.

There’s always something new to try here, whether it’s the rotating dinner specials, the live entertainment, or the ever-present possibility that the whole place might break out into a roaring good dance party.

It seems to me that the place is more focused on the achieving the speakeasy theme rather than making you feel like you’re actually sipping on an illicit cocktail, but it achieved what it was after. Come dressed to the nines and sip on a prohibition cocktail, and watch as locals and tourists mingle.

Prawn Cocktail

Prawn Cocktails, also known as Shrimp Cocktail, swept the party scene at the turn of the century. This seafood dish was the most popular hors d’oeuvre in Great Britain in the 1960s and into the late 1980s, but the United States picked up on the trend decades earlier. Some sources link the serving of the dish in cocktail glasses to the ban on alcoholic drinks during the 1920s prohibition era United States. The dish is simple but was reserved for only the most sophisticated: it consists of shelled, cooked prawns in a cocktail sauce service in a glass. Though many Americans now buy pre-made, store-bought cocktail sauce, this homemade recipe is a simple, fast, and delicious way to elevate any dinner party you want to throw.

 

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups cold water
  • 2 medium carrots, quartered
  • 2 stalks of celery, quartered
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • 5 springs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound medium or large shrimp, rinsed and in the shell
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
  • 4 teaspoons horseradish, trained
  • ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Hot sauce of choice, to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Place the water, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, lemon, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves into a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer, then place the cover on top (slightly ajar) and cook for twenty minutes.

 

  1. Drop the shrimp into the simmering liquid and turn off the heat. Cook the shrimp, stirring occasionally, until they curl and turn punk—between two and three minutes depending on the size of the shrimp.

 

  1. Drain the shrimp and cool to room temperature. Then, peel the shrimp and remove the vein along the back curve. Refrigerate if not serving right away.

 

  1. Combine ketchup, lemon, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce in a small mixing bowl. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

  1. To serve, bring shrimp to room temperature for twenty minutes. Put cocktail sauce in a medium bowl and surround with shrimp. For individual glasses, pour cocktail sauce into a cocktail glass and place shrimp around the rim. Garnish with lemon and serve.

 

Bees Knees

No prohibition-era cocktail menu would be complete without a Bee’s Knees, a classic made with Gin, fresh lemon juice, and honey. The name, as you may have guessed, comes from the prohibition-era slang, meaning “the best.” As with many cocktails from this time in history, the Bee’s Knees was invented as a way to hide the scent and flavor of poor quality homemade alcohols—in this case, bathtub gun. The addition of honey was previously seen as bizarre; cocktails of this era instead used plain sugar. Now, drinkers don’t have to do much by way of covering up the alcohol taste, but the combination of lemon and honey was built to last. For a fun twist, try topping yours with a float of dry champagne.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz gin
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ¾ oz honey

 

Directions:

  1. Combine gin, lemon juice, and honey in a shaker.
  2. Add ice to container and shake vigorously.
  3. Strain into large, chilled cocktail glass and garnish with lemon peel. For some extra glamour, top with a dry champagne float and enjoy.

 

This simple cocktail can be made easier with a few honey-related twists. If your honey is too thick, it may be diluted (1:1) with warm water to thin the consistency. If you want to up the sweetness, dilute your honey (1:1) with simple syrup instead of water. For an added twist, add a sprig of basil as garnish instead of the traditional lemon peel.