The term “speakeasy” brings to mind smoky bars, flappers in pearls dancing the Charleston, and gangsters like Al Capone rather than Mediterranean Style Doors, with good reason. Interested in finding out the colorful history of a beautiful door element? Read on.
The term “speakeasy” came into use during Prohibition when those looking to consume an alcoholic drink, a crime at the time, were required to do so quietly without drawing any attention to the illegal activity. They were told to speak “easy”, or in other words quietly, about where they went to drink their liquor. The speakeasy establishments were often raided by police and government officials and figured prominently in the culture of gangs where dealing in illegal substances was the norm.
Every speakeasy door had a small opening within the door itself where information could be passed without allowing entrance. With shady activities going on behind the closed door, keeping patrons protected as much as possible became a necessity. Through the metal grill and small closeable window of the door faces and identity could be inspected, confirmed, and messages could be passed.
Prohibition is long gone but the stylish window and grill they gave birth to is still with us. Now, instead of a way to keep out undercover government agents, it’s a stylish addition to the look of your home. It is reminiscent of ancient castles, Mediterranean villas and courtyards. It is a fun element to what otherwise could become a very mundane architectural necessity.
And, if the need arises, you really could open that handy little door and check out who is knocking at your door.