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The 18thAmendment made the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages illegal. Referred to as the Prohibition Era (1920-1933) illicit liquor store or nightclubs were established in “underground dens or dark saloons” to provide a means for people so inclined to continue their pursuit of alcohol consumption.

The term “speakeasy” was thought to come from the patrons having to whisper (or speak “easy”) when entering these “underground” saloons.

Modern day speakeasies are legal establishment where guests can experience living during the Prohibition Era through creative design elements and updated versions of prohibition-style cocktails.

Once such modern day speakeasy – The Velveteen Speakeasy exists in Stillwater, MN.


This 1920s-like speakeasy owned by Dariush and Sarah Moslemi and opened August 2017, is located on the lower (underground) level of the building that originally housed the Connolly Shoe Company, now home to One23 Events (, one of the largest multi-purpose event venues in Minnesota.

It’s dark and dim (in a good way) and full of character with prohibition-era décor, Victorian furniture pieces, exposed brick, an ebony-stained stone bar, with tufted leather bar stools, curved blue velveteen upholstered booths, and wood-plank tables. You’ll even find a doorway somewhere in the speakeasy to the tunnel that once ran from here to across the street to what was once the Connolly Shoe Store (but, it’s no longer in service.)

The Velveteen continues to serve up delicious small tapas-like plates, contemporary and prohibition-style cocktails and craft beers but their newly expanded menu also includes delectable seasonal soups, sandwich and salad selections. Open to the public: 4-11 pm Wednesday and Thursday; 4pm-1am Friday; 12pm-1am Saturday; and 12pm-11pm Sunday.

In addition to the fabulous inside space that can accommodate up to 70 people per current COVID-19 guidelines, in June they added outdoor seating for 40 between their street-side patio and the Secret Garden complete with a beautiful waterfall.

The Velveteen Speakeasy works great for bachelor and/bachelorette parties, birthday and anniversary celebrations and ­­­­more. It's great for those special couple's occasions or simply after a day of shopping and sightseeing.

The Velveteen Speakeasy

123 2nd Street North | 651.342.2571

Enter the doors on 2nd and “follow the rabbit” plaques and signage and you’re sure to find it.

To inquire about booking a private event, contact: Marcus Clark, GM |

Stillwater, MN is a quaint, picturesque, historic river town located just outside of St. Paul on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border of the St. Croix River with many unique shops and one-of-a-kind restaurants, and only 30 minutes from MSP Airport and the Mall of America (MOA).

What many may not know is that Stillwater, considered the “historic birthplace of Minnesota,” was well known for its lucrative lumbering industry in its earliest years. Visit to learn more.

Prepared by Mary Jo Wiseman, CMP | Author, “The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings”



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