Monday, January 28, 2013

Cleveland Speakeasy: 'Speakeasy'

Hello everyone. My name is Kim Hammond and I’m your guest blogger today. I’m an avid mystery reader, aspiring writer, and Mystery Playground Deb and I met at a mystery convention many moons ago.

I’ve been out of school for over two decades, so homework assignments are thankfully a thing of the past for me. So when Deb called me with a “homework assignment” I was ready to protest, until I realized it involved a girls’ night out, fun and drinks. Three of my favorite things, so how could I refuse?! Plus, I couldn’t say no to a good friend.

As many of you know, Mystery Playground visits speakeasies all over the country. What you may not know is that 2013 is the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. Can you imagine if that was still in effect? I shudder to think.

What I didn’t know is that there’s a speakeasy in my own town. I can’t believe I’ve missed this gem in the 22+ years I have lived here. So, armed with two girlfriends, my camera and an itch for adventure, off we went on a Friday night.

The Bier Markt is Ohio’s only Belgian Bier Bar and is tucked away in the historic Ohio City district on Cleveland’s West side. We were headed to the Bier Markt’s lower level where this speakeasy, actually called "Speakeasy", is located.

You go down a dark staircase with a stunning chandelier holding court above you. The first thing you notice is the floor that is made of beautiful reclaimed barn wood found in an early 1800’s barn. The walls are original, made from hand-cut sandstone that date back to a department store in this location in 1868.

The space is quaint and cozy. The pictures on the walls are circa 1930’s and you just want to walk around and look at everything in sight. The bar is in the middle of the room, inviting you to belly-up.

Our first order of business, a drink. I ordered a Belgium Chocolate Truffle. The mixture of Stoli Vanilla, Godiva Dark and Baileys was smooth and delicious. I felt inclined to drink with my pinky in the air.

Trina ordered a Framboise Martini made with Framboise, Stoili Razz, Chambord and orange. It was fruity and refreshing. If you weren’t careful, you could drink it right down, but you’d feel it when you got up from your seat.

Next on our list was food. We ordered a mixed olive platter of oregano, chili, garlic and lemon olives and a bianco pizza with garlic, mozzarella and olive oil. The pizza was baked in a stone oven and was perfect. The assorted marinated olives were a nice compliment to everything. Thumbs up on the food and the service. Our bartender was attentive and patiently answered our various questions. Never once did he roll his eyes or tell us to scram.

The sign out front

The Bier Markt and Speakeasy are located at 1948 W 25th Street, Cleveland, Ohio. You dont need reservations, but beware that the Speakeasy does private parties, so you may want to call ahead and make sure it will be open to the public when you want to check it out.


What Are Speakeasies?

Speakeasies were essentially secret bars that sprang up when the United States outlawed alcohol in 1919. 

Most speakeasies were housed in unmarked locations, many required a password to get in and some may have even moved from place to place to stay ahead of the law. Many think the name came from patrons being told to "speakeasy" or to lower their voices so no one suspected they were serving alcohol. 

Today, there are many modern speakeasies that retain some of these traditions. Usually they feature fresh ingredients in their food and drink, and though the secrecy is no longer needed, many are in discreet locations that lack signage. Some even require passwords.

You can read about Mystery Playground's other speakeasy adventures here.  


  1. What a great post, Kim! I had no idea this place existed and I can't wait to check it out :) especially that Belgium Chocolate Truffle *Yumm-o*

  2. Thanks Julie. I think we need to have a SinC meeting there! And the drink was fabulous. It didn't even seem liked alcohol.

  3. HI Julie Anne - thanks for topping by. Kim did a great job!

    @Kim - Maybe all the Sisters in Crime meetings nationwide should take place at speakeasies. What a great idea.

  4. Kim, what fun that must have been. I loved the ambience shown in your pictures - especially the paintings.

  5. I've been to the Bier Markt & had no idea there was a Speakeasy downstairs!

  6. This was a great night! I could totally see having a private party in "prohibition" era garb in the Speakeasy. So fun!

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