Prohibition: A Refuge for Grown-Ups in the Gaslamp

It’s around 10pm, and Lee, Greg, and I are looking for a bar. Not just any bar; we’re surrounded by bars, actually, with thumping music and flashing lights, and crowds of people who look and act like they just turned 21, whether they’re in their 20s, 30s, or 40s. We are in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, and we are looking for Prohibition.

We pass a nondescript doorway wedged between two nightclubs. No sign, just an address. Lee squints at it. Is that the one? No. We keep walking, past a group of eight or ten young guys, all wearing polo shirts with the collars turned up, all walking unsteadily and staring off into space with the vacant look of someone so drunk they can’t hold a coherent thought.

Another doorway. It is also flanked by unpleasantly Gaslampy bars. The frosted glass window displays the name of a law firm. This is it, Lee says. We walk past a small gate, ring a doorbell, and wait.

The door opens a crack. Nobody comes out. Lee looks around the corner. There is a man in a suit.

“Can I help you?”

Down the stairs behind him, I can now make out red lighting and cool jazz.

“We have a reservation,” Lee says.

“What are you names?”

“Dunteman, Bass, and Keller.”

He checks a clipboard. Then steps back from the door.

“Welcome.”

He leads us downstairs to the basement-level bar, carpeted and wood-paneled, with a jazz trio evoking Kenny Burrell’s “Midnight Blue.” The music was loud enough to provide vibe, but not to overwhelm conversation.

People are behaving like adults; enjoying each others’ company, enjoying the quality, hand-crafted cocktails, enjoying being grown-ups.

This is Prohibition.  One of San Diego’s new, speakeasy-inspired bars that focus on well-made drinks and low-key atmosphere.  And in the Gaslamp Quarter, where boys will be boys and girls just wanna have fun, it’s welcome refuge for ladies and gentlemen.

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