Arriving at Prohibition, Salt Lake’s 1920’s-themed restaurant and cocktail bar, it was clear I was in for more than beer and big screens. Elegantly attired, Dr. Drink (aka Victoria) welcomed me to “Mary’s Antiques and Oddities” before proprietor Nick Porter escorted me past the secret door.
“Prohibition makes the perfect business model for Utah, with its quirky laws and preemptive feelings toward alcohol,” said Porter, once Utah’s youngest bar owner at age 23.
Best Known for Burlesque
Burlesque nights and awesome food are but two of the interactive nuances customers will find at Nate’s cabaret, a dining club that smacks of The Great Gatsby in a digital age. “I like themed bars and events, and this time around I wanted something a little classier.”
Prohibition serves a “tapas-style” menu on small plates for sharing in the 1920’s way, from Executive Chef, Kimberly Stratton. Porter’s favorites are the Short Ribs Sheba and “Scotch Eggs, done right,” soft-boiled eggs wrapped in meatloaf and fried. “Our two best-selling items are the Moonshine Cherry Wagyu Steak and the Bourbon Caramel Bread Pudding,” said Nate.
“Forty percent of our sales come from food, and that’s a new thing as the line between bar and restaurant blurs,” said Porter, a videographer by trade and DJ/restaurateur by night. “We’re best known for our Burlesque nights.”
Trumpet Dave often plays just enough impromptu horn to make modern songs feel old-timey, while Porter, in his DJ personna, Cat’s Pajamas, spins “electro-swing” music. Stage performances orchestrated by MCs Louie Manhattan and Rosie Rocket have been known to spill over onto delighted audiences.
Alcohol Prescription from the Non-Drinking State
Not only does Nick curate all the antiques from Utah, he also sources ingredients, spirits and brews locally, featuring sixteen Utah beers on tap. “Prohibition is a bridge between fancy restaurant and bar,” Porter said, “a mix of old and young with no demographic, where people can dance and feel like themselves.”
“We very much embrace Utah’s drinking laws,” said Nate, who crafted a Mocktail menu for swing dancing patrons who come for free lessons on Wednesday nights. “Out-of-town people love it; they can get a prescription for alcohol souvenir from the non-drinking state.”
“There’s a romanticization of the 1920’s going on right now because it was a very classy era in American culture. Going into the 2020s, that’s going to become more prevalent,” said Porter. “It’s been wildly successful, and we’re really happy about that.”
151 East 6100 South, Murray