The 18th Amendment forbade the “manufacture, sale and transportation of intoxicating liquors”—not their consumption. By law, wine, beer, or spirits Americans had stashed away in January 1920 were theirs to keep and enjoy in the privacy of their homes. For most, this amounted to only a few bottles, but some affluent drinkers built cavernous wine cellars and even bought out whole liquor store inventories to ensure they had healthy stockpiles of legal hooch.

The Volstead Act included a few interesting exceptions to the ban on distributing alcohol. Sacramental wine was still permitted for religious purposes (the number of questionable rabbis and priests soon skyrocketed), and drug stores were allowed to sell “medicinal whiskey” to treat everything from toothaches to the flu. With a physician’s prescription, “patients” could legally buy a pint of hard liquor every ten days. This pharmaceutical booze often came with seemingly laughable doctor’s orders such as “Take three ounces every hour for stimulant until stimulated.” Many speakeasies eventually operated under the guise of being pharmacies, and legitimate chains flourished. According to Prohibition historian Daniel Okrent, windfalls from legal alcohol sales helped the drug store chain Walgreens grow from around 20 locations to more than 500 during the 1920s.

"I FINALLY got to check out Barrique and the upstairs 18th Amendment Lounge with a great group of friends. I started out with a delicious Red Wine Whiskey Sour and the fried green tomatoes (both were to die for) and ended with Surf n Turf. Perfectly cooked medium-rare ribeye with a juicy lobster tail served over herb mashed potatoes and asparagus. Delicious food and drinks, relaxed atmosphere and great people to make you feel right at home! Shoutout to Tony and Eli for accommodating us."

-Melissa J via