10 Aug 2017

How to throw the ultimate 1920s party

When the government bans alcohol, the citizens fight back and have a rip-roaring time. It’s 1920s America, the era of Prohibition – if you know the password to the speakeasy, you’ll find yourself in an illicit establishment with plenty of booze, great music and dancing.

Get in the mood

Virtually a century later, that still sounds like a pretty fun night out – the perfect theme, in fact, for your next party. To get in the mood and pick up a few pointers, binge on The Untouchables (1987), Some Like It Hot (1959) and Once Upon a Time in America (1984). (Not a bad way to spend a wet weekend, in any case.)

Organised crime was more or less a given when it came to speakeasies –when it comes to costumes, you can’t go too far wrong with gangsters and their molls (he’ll be in a pin-striped suit and fedora; she’ll be a flapper with fringed cocktail frock, a classic bob, feathered headband and long string of pearls). For the contrary among you, there are always cops and members of the temperance union.

Make it a secret

To keep within the speakeasy spirit, your party shouldn’t be easy to find. Close the blinds, switch off the outside lights and make your guests use the back door. On the invitation, let them know the password or an object they need to bring (books were popular during Prohibition – if the speakeasy was raided, they could always say it was a reading club).

Setting the scene

Inside, it should be nice and moody, with low lighting, little round tables covered in heavy cloths, candles in empty wine bottles, lots of velvet, 1920s prints on the wall and violin cases (to hold those concealed weapons).

All that jazz

As far as music goes, this was the Jazz Age – Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Josephine Baker and Bix Beiderbecke should be on continuous loop, and you can even have silent movies flickering in the background. Charleston was the dance of the era – check out YouTube tutorials to get the right moves.

The bar menu

On the food and drink front, go for killer cocktails (martinis, mint juleps and manhattans) served in tiny teacups, and clever canapés (devilled eggs, melon balls with prosciutto and caprese sliders).

If all this sounds like too much work, don’t worry – the Sydney Symphony Orchestra has it sorted. We’re holding the ultimate Twenties party – you’ll hear a stack of 1920s hits, including the luscious Rhapsody in Blue, with composer George Gershwin magically appearing via a piano roll. Expect vaudeville, dance, a palm court orchestra, the whole shebang. We promise to let you in on the password.

A Night at the Speakeasy is one of our unmissable Special Events for 2018 – add it to your season package and save!

How to throw the ultimate 1920s partyHow to throw the ultimate 1920s partyHow to throw the ultimate 1920s partyHow to throw the ultimate 1920s party