Feb 7th, 2016, 01:20 PM

Prohibition Taking Over Paris

By Alyssa Lyon
Image Credit: Google Images/Russell Lee
Passwords, hidden entrances, & overpriced cocktails.
Image Credit: Google Images/Russell Davis, Google Images/World Telegram

Gone are the days of prohibition when the word 'speakeasy' meant cheap bootleg liquor served by your local gangster with a side of fear over an imminent police raid. Yet while the restrictions of prohibition may be long overturned, the public's fascination with the illegal, secret, and exclusive still very much remains. 

Since their onset in 2009 in New York City, modern-day speakeasies have gained worldwide recognition and popularity. With their secret passwords, hidden entrances, and 1920's atmosphere, those who frequent them find themselves immersed in the world of fantastical lawlessness of days long past. However, within the Parisian bar scene the rise of the 'speakeasy' culture has been a far slower process than its U.S.. counterpart. The trend has only recently started to take off, perhaps due to the fact that France never experienced the time of prohibition that speakeasies attempt to recreate. None the less, numerous speakeasies are currently swinging in full force in the streets of Paris.

Check out this site for a list of some of the local Parisian's secret watering holes - if you can find them you'll be sure to have a night to remember (or not). 

However, as the speakeasy trend continues it's seventh year of popularity, many question if the public's fascination is starting to wane. It seems people are beginning to tire of the numerous hurdles one is required to jump through in order to get a good (if not overpriced) cocktail. The public now begs for a more relaxed, less-pretentious setting in which to enjoy their drink of choice.

So what does this mean for you? Since Paris seems to have caught on late to the speakeasy trend, there might be a few more years for you to get your fill of jazz, smoking rooms, and elaborate cocktails.

However, as you set out to get lost in this hidden world of Paris, be sure to keep a few things in mind: 

1. Since Paris is a walking city, if you don't want to pay for an Uber or taxi to take you from place to place, allow at least 30-45 minutes of walking time between most bars. 

2. When you do finally arrive at your destination, don't be surprised if you find yourself standing in a dark alleyway with no clue as to which of the thirty-something doors to begin obnoxiously knocking on at two in the morning. 

3. Finally, if by some lucky chance you pick the correct door, don't expect to be greeted by a kind bouncer who is more than happy to let you and your six friends into the seemingly locals only bar. 

In order to avoid spending hours of walking time only to not be able to find the bar and/or get turned away by it's bouncer:

Don't - Go in large groups of people. 

Don't - Act "American" (i.e. being too loud, obviously drunk, or obnoxious).

Do - Whip out your rusty French and best Parisian accent.

All that being said, if you do manage to find and get into these clandestine establishments, enjoy them while they last!