There’s a holiday in December that comes way before Hanukkah or Christmas and might be a whole lot jollier: It’s Repeal Day, and it’s Monday. As Ken Burns reminds us in his documentary “Prohibition,” there was a time in this country when a glass of wine or a pint of beer could land you in the slammer. It was against the law, specifically the 18th Amendment.
Bootleggers, speakeasies and all sorts of black-market goings-ons defined the Prohibition era from January 1920 to Dec. 5, 1933, when the law was repealed. And although I don’t usually think about a Repeal Day party amid the clutter of holiday happenings, many bars -- and bartenders -- certainly do. Here’s a sampling of where to raise a glass.
--Las Vegas: Whisk(e)y Wednesday touts pre-Prohibition cocktails as well as Bullet Straight Rye and Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye. Tickets for unlimited tastings cost $25 in advance, $35 at the door. 9 to 11 p.m. Wednesday at Andre’s Cigar Lounge, Monte Carlo Hotel-Casino, 3770 Las Vegas Blvd. South; (702) 798-7151.
--San Diego: The Repeal Party at the Tipsy Crow is all about beer, specifically cask beer from local breweries such as Stone, Green Flash, Manzanita and others. Live period music and dancing as well an a 1930s-type soup kitchen (with an “unlimited soup line”) and all you can drink beer round out the festivities. Tickets cost $15 in advance, $20 at the door. 7 p.m. Monday, 770 5th Ave., Gaslamp Quarter; (619) 338-9300.
--San Francisco: The 21st Amendment Brewery (yes, that’s the amendment that wiped out Prohibition) celebrates with a march starting at 4 p.m. Monday. But to get a pint of beer for 5 cents, you have to know the secret password. Check out the the bar’s Twitter feed for clues. Beer begins flowing at 5 p.m. Swing music and jazz too. 563 2nd St.; (415) 369-0900.