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  • Writer's pictureKhalid Williams

New Haven's Repeal of Prohibition Party- The Bar Crawl you Need to Experience

Repeal day is the unicorn of American holidays (yes, its a holiday. If National Corn Dog day deserves our attention, this damn sure does.) It is the one observed day that has to do with political decisions that actually helped everybody. The alcohol that was prohibited was being consumed anyway, albeit with a dose of turpentine here and there, and lifting the wrongheaded ban reduced corruption, crime and violence. It also helped us take one step closer to looking ourselves in the eye as a nation.

The day is celebrated in cities with vibrant drinking cultures, and our very own Elm City is a shining example of a damn good time built on a foundation of inspired cocktails, open collaboration and the love of a damn good time.

1920's parties-I will tell you this right here and right now. You should skip at least 50% of the ones you see advertised. In short, they amount to the same 3 swing dance moves, a weak ass Brian Setzer playlist and dudes with black shirts, white ties, and insecurities harder than the part they had chiseled into the side of their head for the occasion.

And then, there is New Haven, and the beautiful, crafty, vibrant evening where the bar crawl is elevated to something from a bygone era when we partied harder yet acted classier (please don't fact check me here.)

Whatever happened in 1933, The Elm City has come together on the first Saturday in December in the name of vibrant drinking culture and legislation that doesn't suck for 9 years.

The originator of the celebration was Ordinary New Haven because, of course they were. The place exudes classic character and new jack creativity, and they have always been the standard by which we can judge our beverage culture acumen, in my opinion. Their owner, Tim Cabral, will probably shy away from this accolade, and that's why the event and his bar have seen consistent success- "It all started organically with 4 or 5 of us from different bars sitting at a table and we asked ourselves, 'why don't we do this together? Now, we have people flying in from all over the country for this. I'm always so surprised at how much of an impact this makes on people who aren't local to the area."

This year, the event boasts 19 bars that are putting on the ritz (if somebody could help me with some wittier remixes of these overused terms from the roaring twentythirtiesfortiesgreatgatbys, please assist. I am all out of puns for the day.) Every bar is running at least a feature menu (Ordinary completely morphs for the day into a yearly experience all its own) and the cocktails are line priced at $10.

Ten Dollars. In 2022. In New Haven. And look at these drinks. All of them clearly have some element which was made by the hands of a faithful bar steward. It seems as if the cocktails did their best to add bells and whistles for a steal of a price, rather than offer some stripped down version of whatever wonky sous vide syrup that didn't make the menu.

Monica Freeman Greene from Anchor Spa loves Repeal Day because it highlights the distinct talent coming out of New Haven. What we do can't be overshadowed by New York (where Monica primarily resides) because we are here to show what we do, how it's different and the deep culture and love for craft drinks that exist right here. You can come in full costume if you want, and you can come in jeans and sneakers if you want." To me, this speaks to the true desire of everyone to give and have a good time, not to posture or exist merely for a photo op or accolades from strangers.

The point is this: 19 different establishments with their own goals, problems and clientele have joined forces to celebrate our emancipation and to further the evolution of thoughtful beverage consumption. They have performed their tasks so well that people leave cities much larger than New Haven with drinks scenes that are top notch to come here, enjoy the company of likeminded imbibers and to silently compete to see who has the best flapper/gangster costume combo.

The first Saturday in December is officially New Haven Repeal Day, and i officially might have found the one reason to be happy that Prohibiton happened, because now we get to celebrate the day that America told Temperance to pack sand.

For more information, please hit up the official

Instagram page of New Haven's Repeal Day, and check out all of the featured cocktails On their Facebook page.

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