On January 16, 1920 a dark cloud fell over Boston, as the Volstead Act, prohibiting the sale of alcohol, became the law of the land.  Though Hollywood has painted the Prohibition years as somewhat glamorous, full of secretive speakeasies and intrigue, in reality, it was a lot of gut-busting gin and homebrew.

According to Stephanie Schorow, author of Drinking Boston: A History of the City and Its Spirits (Union Park Press, November 2012), the night that Prohibition was repealed, however, was a very exciting time to be in Boston. With the first legal drink served to Massachusetts Governor Joseph Ely at 6:31 on the dot, boisterous crowds took to the streets. Everyone wanted to be a part of the excitement—many wanted to get their hands on legal liquor, but many were there just to watch the celebration.

To commemorate the anniversary of repeal in Boston, a group of history-loving cocktail aficionados are hosting Repeal Night at The Hawthorne: A Farewell to Bathtub Gin. Party-goers will celebrate the end of the thirteen-year dry spell with (post) Prohibition-era cocktails, savory snacks and plenty of hijinks as they relive the day that bartenders went back to work and Bawdy Boston returned to the bar. In the same vein, proceeds from the Repeal Night party goes to USBG New York, to support those in the restaurant industry that are suffering from Hurricane Sandy.

Tickets can be purchased here.

  • WHAT: Repeal Night at The Hawthorne: A Farewell to Bathtub Gin
  • WHO: Hosted by The Hawthorne, LUPEC Boston, and Boston chapter of USBG
  • WHERE: The Hawthorne, 500A Commonwealth Avenue
  • WHEN:  Wednesday, December 5, 2012. Doors open at 6:31 (the exact time the first legal drink was served in Boston)
  • WHY: Proceeds go to support efforts of USBG of New York, to support those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
  • HOW: Buy tickets ($50) online and at the door (limited amount available, buy in advance online to ensure admittance!) Tickets include cocktails, snacks, a complimentary copy of Drinking Boston: A History of the City and Its Spirits, and lots of celebratory fun.