It seems like it’s hard to escape from some periods of time that make us want to revisit it. As the new year approaches, some places are looking to the 1920s for inspiration. One of those is Renaissance 2020 at the Clubhouse On Highland in Birmingham on December 31st.

Highland Clubhouse

The 1920s is famous for passing the Volstead Act, which prohibited alcohol throughout the entire country. It’s hard not to find any fictional depictions of that time period that doesn’t mention prohibition with books like “The Great Gatsby” and shows like “Boardwalk Empire”.

Alabama was certainly no exception when in outlawing the sale and distribution of alcohol. In fact, according to Encyclopedia of Alabama, prohibition was enacted much earlier in Alabama than the rest of the United States, having been passed in 1907 – twelve years before the federal legislation in 1919. But, as you can imagine, that didn’t stop people from engaging in the iconic practice – or rather crime – of bootlegging.

If you’ve ever seen the film “Lawless” with Shia LaBeauf and Tom Hardy you’ve gotten a (albeit somewhat fictionalized) glimpse into bootlegging in the Southeast during the 1930s. At that time Birmingham was the site of not only numerous bootlegging operations but corruption that enabled it. Called the “wickedest place in Alabama,” Birmingham saw the indictments of multiple people accused of manufacturing alcohol, including federal agents that were tasked with stopping them but were apparently taking bribes.

1920s prohibition image

Of course, that all eventually ended once support for prohibition waned and the Volstead act was repealed. But the 1920s and all of the crazy stuff that went on still lives on in American pop culture. If you’re looking to scratch the nostalgia itch, Renaissance 2020 is a 20s-themed event that encourages people to come in their best vintage outfits.

You can read all the details on Eventbrite but the event looks to be quite the spectacle with fire breathing, dancing and casino games, although fake money will have to be used for that.

Clubhouse On Highland is located at 2908 Highland Avenue in Birmingham.


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