Greenwich Village and Prohibition

NYC Washington Square Club, 19 N.

Several speakeasies and night clubs were in Greenwich Village during Prohibition.

Washington Square Club

Barney Gallant’s elegant speakeasy was called the Washington Square Club. It was at 19 N. on Washington Square.  “Speako de Luxe” is a lithograph showing  the interior of the club during Prohibition. This lithograph can be seen at the City Museum of New York.   Stanley Walker, in Night Club Era,  explains Gallant insisted his club be exclusive as he believed the exclusivity would contribute to its success. He we was right. (The site today is occupied by  New York University’s Abu Dhabi headquarters.)

Club Gallant

Earlier in Prohibition, Gallant ran  Club Gallant on the south side of the Washington Square, its more commercial side. Club Gallant was at #40. It was not an exclusive club. (Today the New York University Laws School is located on that site.)

Other nearby sites

At the start of Prohibition, Gallant managed the Greenwich Village Inn on Sheridan Square. This Inn served illegal liquor. Its waiters were arrested and jailed. Gallant insisted they be freed and that he be jailed instead. The “Free Barney Gallant”  protest was probably the first such protest during Prohibition.

There were several speakeasies on Macdougall Street and Minetta Lane as well.
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[For more information, see Smugglers, Bootleggers, and Scofflaws; Prohibition and New York City (SUNY Press 2013). The book is scholarly with narrative text, photographs, extensive footnotes, bibliography, index, and primary documents packed into less than 200 pages. ]

Club Gallant, Washington Square S. replaced by NYU Law Building