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The Raided Speakeasies of North Beach

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Public spaces change fast here in San Francisco, and for better or worse, it can be pretty crazy when you see what the City used to look like. Every week, we'll bring you Then & Now, a comparison of historic photos of the Bay Area with current views from the same perspective. Have a suggestion for a photo comparison that looks totally different (or shockingly the same)? Drop us a tip in the Curbed Inbox or leave a comment after the jump.

Quick note: See that vertical green bar in the middle of the then and now photos? You can move it horizontally to see the photos side by side.




[1930 Then photo: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY/ Now photo: Google Maps] While the Prohibition era lasted in the United States from 1920 to 1933, things in San Francisco were a bit more?lax. City voters had overwhelmingly rejected Prohibition, and speakeasies did booming business in North Beach. One such spot was the Silver Slipper Cafe, located at 621 Union Street.

Liquor was shipped into the surrounding Bay Area counties by way of Canada, and was smuggled into SF at night like something out of movie. Hundreds of speakeasies cropped up throughout the city. Saloons were converted to old fashioned soda fountains, secretly swilling booze in the back rooms. Even swanky hotels like the St. Francis and Sir Francis Drake had speakeasies underground and lodged between floors.

Police raided the Regina Hotel in 1924, uncovering two elaborate curtained bars with a system of electric bells that warned bartenders of an impending raid

In 1930, Where were the speakeasies located, what neighborhoods?Prohibition agents raided the Silver Slipper Café (along with Shorty Roberts' Place out at Ocean Beach). In lackadaisical SF fashion, none of the patrons were arrested, but the alcohol was seized. Today the building's brick has been stuccoed over and is home to a residential hotel, as well as the back of the old Joe Dimaggio's steak house.
· Prohibition in North Beach [Found SF]
· Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition [Daniel Okrent via Google Books]
· Prohibition was only a rumor in S.F. [SF Gate]
· Where were the speakeasies located, what neighborhoods? [WNP]