21 Days of Chicago Lightning – Teasers, Tidbits, Trivia (Day 13 – Speakeasy) by Kaye Spencer #roaringtwenties #romanticsuspense #prohibitionera

Chicago Lightning is a romantic suspense novel that begins with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago on February 14, 1929 and ends around midnight two days later in Five Points, New York City.


The Roaring Twenties…

  • Jazz
  • Radio
  • Flappers
  • Al Capone
  • Vaudeville
  • Prohibition
  • ‘Charleston’
  • Bathtub gin
  • Bootlegging
  • Scopes Trial
  • Black Tuesday
  • Movie palaces
  • Tulsa Race Riot
  • Organized crime
  • Wall Street Crash
  • Harlem  Renaissance

These words and events bring images to mind of the 1920s. Yet, there is another word that is as integral to the Roaring Twenties as pages are to a book.


A speakeasy was an illicit business that sold alcohol during the Prohibition years (c. 1920-1933). The term evolved from the general understanding that one didn’t speak of these establishments in public and, once inside, you kept your voice low so police and neighbors weren’t alerted by noises. Blind pig and blind tiger were common nicknames for a speakeasy. Although police raided speakeasies and arrested owners and patrons alike, when one speakeasy closed, another one (or more) opened. Law enforcement couldn’t keep ahead of them, and nightlife as we know it today was invented.

The Green Mill Speakeasy in Chicago was one of the few speakeasies that operated openly due to the mob payoffs to the police. This place was Al Capone’s favorite, even though he owned a speakeasy nearby. He like to go to the Green Mill to listen to his favorite singer, Joe. E. Lewis. Read the full article HERE.

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, Chicago
CC BY-SA 4.0

Generally, a successful speakeasy had these five components.

  1. Secrecy kept its door open, metaphorically speaking. Passwords and demonstrating a relationship with a trusted patron were common. (Tony sent me.)
  2. It operated behind a cover or front such as a legitimate restaurant in the main part of the building and the bar in the back or in the basement.
  3. Accessibility was critical for patrons and for receiving alcohol shipments without either being detected by the police – often located near sewers, tunnels, rivers, or an adjoining building that was also ‘legit’.
  4. The owner/operator had to have the right connections (network) to achieve alcohol transport, police pay-offs, bouncers, lookouts, and so on.
  5. Emergency escape plans and routes were as important as the alcohol in the event of a police raid. Many had half-sized escape doors for patrons and employees and peep holes in walls and doors to watch for undesireables or police.

In Chicago Lightning, Ceara and Hagen get caught up in a gangland showdown at the site of an abandoned, and fictional, New York City waterfront speakeasy called Clauncy’s,

Perhaps Clauncy’s looked something like this.

Image: Lockport Journal website






Available for Pre-Order on Amazon.com

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer

Look for Kaye here—


Day 1 – Jan. 25th – Chicago Lightning – book video
Day 2 – Jan. 26th – Popular Songs of the 1920s
Day 3 – Jan. 27th – Notable Events of the 1920s – 1920 through 1924
Day 4 – Jan. 28th – Notable Events of the 1920s – 1925 through 1929
Day 5 – Jan. 29th – Chapter 1 Micro Excerpt
Day 6 – Jan. 30th – Slang – 1920s era
Day 7 – Jan. 31st – Pre-order
Day 8 – Feb. 1st – 1920s Kitchen
Day 9 – Feb. 2nd – ‘Roaring 20s’
Day 10 – Feb. 3rd – Chapter 2 Micro Excerpt
Day 11 – Feb. 4th – 4 Roaring Twenties Movies
Day 12 – Feb. 5th – 1928 Phantom 1 Rolls-Royce
Day 13 – Feb. 6th – Speakeasy
Day 14 – Feb. 7th – Chapter 2 – Micro Excerpt #3
Day 15 – Feb. 8th – Pre-FBI – brief history
Day 16 – Feb. 9th – 1920s radio
Day 17 – Feb. 10th – Release Day, Micro Excerpt #4, and bullet resistant clothing
Day 18 – Feb. 11th – “The Hedge”
Day 19 – Feb. 12th – What did it cost? 1925-1929
Day 20 – Feb. 13th – Hello? Who’s calling?
Day 21 – Feb. 14th – 1920s reference books and book video

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