Chicago and the Volstead Act: The Drake Hotel's Coq d'Or Room
By Chuck Sudo in Food on Dec 1, 2008 5:00PM
This week you're going to see articles online and in print noting the 75th anniversary of the repeal of the Volstead Act, which will be celebrated throughout the city on Friday. Prohibition didn't stop people from drinking, particularly in "the city that works." Places like the Green Mill actually thrived during Prohibition (we'll be writing about Green Mill and its Prohibition-era history later this week).
Local history buffs are always quick to note that the Berghoff was awarded the first liquor license by the city after the Volstead Act's repeal. Mighty Marvel No-prizes should go to those who can name who holds license #2. That honor goes to the Drake Hotel's Coq d'Or room (141 E. Walton Pl.). According to current manager Joseph Mendez, the line for people waiting for forty-cent whisky shots went out the hotel and around the block.
Like Green Mill and other bars we'll feature this week, walking into the Coq d'Or room gives visitors a sense of walking into a time warp. Since the Drake is a protected landmark, most of the woodwork and décor is still as it looks 75 years ago. Another Drake only feature are the "executive" cocktails, served in brushed sterling silver martini glasses from lead crystal serving snifters, both made specifically for the Drake. The cocktails are a bit pricey at $18, but pack a serious wallop. The Coq d'Or's Manhattan is one of the best in the city.