Monday, May 20, 2013

Denver Speakeasy: Gatsby’s

My name is Kerry Hammond, and this is my first guest blog appearance at Mystery Playground.  When I heard that MP was celebrating the 80th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, I knew I had to be a part of it. 

I began an initial search for Speakeasies in my home town of Denver, and was pleased to find that there are quite a few to choose from.  I picked Gatsby’s, located at 1527 Wazee Street in Denver’s Lodo neighborhood.   One of the reasons I chose Gatsby’s was because I had just re-read S. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel of the same name.  The fact that a new movie recently came out, starring Leo Dicaprio, just added to the fun.

This speakeasy has a very elegant feel, decorated with wood and brick throughout.  The atmosphere is relaxed early in the evening, but it gets quite busy as night falls and it fills up.  There is no password required for entry, much to my disappointment.  But the large neon martini out front is like a beacon, making you want to enter.

The bartender was very helpful and friendly. He walked us through some of their signature drinks and even made some recommendations.  My husband Ray and I were looking to try something we’d never had before.  I was drawn to a drink called, appropriately, The Great Gatsby.  Ray went with the Queensboro Smash, as he is a big fan of rye whiskey.

The Great Gatsby
Kettle One Oranje Vodka
Lillet Blanc
Special Syrup
Grapefruit Juice
Garnished with Orange Zest

Queensboro Smash
Bulleit Rye
Splash of Soda

We did not order food, but their menu offers a wide variety of hot and cold appetizers, meals, and desserts.  Not to mention the $50 Sandwhich, and as the menus describes, “Gatsby himself would be proud of the excessive nature of this delicious creation.”

Since my visit, I have heard from several sources that I chose poorly by not ordering food.  I guess I will have to go back.

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.
The 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition is December 5th, 2013. You can read about Mystery Playground's other speakeasy adventures here


  1. Hmmm, a drink there on my next Denver visit? Or perhaps try a new place and we can co-author a post by the sisters Hammond.

  2. I'm excited to try one in Miami. What did they put in that $50 sandwich?

  3. @Rebecca - That's an excellent question. What did they put in the $50 sandwich?
    Great post Kerry!