The Hyde Review- Now You’re on the Trolley!

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At midnight on January 17, 1920 the National Prohibition Act, also known as the Volstead Act, took effect and prohibited the sale of “intoxicating liquors” a year after the 18th amendment was ratified. Any beverage containing over 0.5 % alcohol was considered intoxicating liquor. Soon after bootleggers, those that illegally made and or sold liquor, and speakeasies popped up by the hundreds. Speakeasies were named after the need to whisper a secret code word or name through a locked door in order to be allowed in.

Chicago had nearly 7,000 speakeasies back in the 1920s, some served food and had floor shows with live bands playing jazz music, people danced the Charleston. Gangster lifestyles were prominently displayed and in 1927 alone the infamous Al Capone made a cool $60 million. Flappers came to the scene during this time with bold fashion demonstrated by their sequined, sparkly, swinging dresses, make-up, and shorter hairstyles like the ever bouncy bobs. Transport yourself back in time to the roaring twenties with a visit to the Hyde, the newest speakeasy secret in Chicago.

Jovanis Bourgoub, the owner, recreates a relic from the jazz age. At the Hyde’s unassuming entrance, 16 rules must be read thoroughly and in good jest.  After informing the gentleman at the door of the code word to get in, you gain access inside the prohibition-themed speakeasy. The first rule prohibits cell phone usage. This is a simple way to practice and encourage yourself to becoming more present. One of the key steps in learning how to be more present involves limiting distractions. In this day and age, a major distraction is mainly in the form of cellular phones. So kindly turn them off and get ready to experience a blast from the past.

The Hyde brings an authentic vibe that is true to the time era with a modern twist. Exposed brick walls, candlelit seating, a piano by the caged bar laced overhead by tulipped glass light fixtures and live music for entertainment make this spot perfect for a night out on the town. The crowd is an eclectic mix of trendy and professionals with respect for low-key environments. Refreshments such as seafood appetizers with oysters sprinkled with a pico de gallo type salsa or shrimp in a creamy sauce on a sliced baguette were served, as the nightly menu rotates. Liquor choices are heavy focused on cognacs as over 100 from around the world are offered as well as small-batched gin and bourbon. Other options include wines from California and France and craft beer. Plenty of seating as well as an elevated VIP area ensures room for you and your group to partake in dressing up like gangsters, flappers, and any other 1920s style you would like to try to get into the spirit of this speakeasy.

Flapper style ensemble

After the 18th Amendment was repealed, ending the prohibition era, President Roosevelt toasted “What America needs now is a drink.” Bottoms up at the Hyde where a dark, cozy space provides plenty of privacy, yummy food options, live intoxicating instrumentals and classy cocktails to boot!

For more information, and the entrance password, visit:

The Hyde
5121 S. Harper Avenue, (815) 320-7500, open 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Photo Credit: Tom Wells

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