While it may be hard to reconcile the almost reverence some have for all things mob culture, we have to appreciate that, like it or not, organized crime has played a major part in American history. In this episode, Scott Deitche guides us around some of America’s major cities, uncovering which local watering holes once had ties to some famous faces in organized crime and some playing up a mob culture theme. We visit my hometown of Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas (of course), and more.
Scott is an author specializing in organized crime and the Mafia with seven books on the topic to his name. His latest book is Garden State Gangland: The Rise of the Mob in New Jersey. For the purposes of our conversation, we referenced his book Cocktail Noir: From Gangsters and Gin Joints to Gumshoes and Gimlets which takes a look at the intertwining of alcohol and the underworld.He has been featured on History Channel, A&E, Discovery Channel, AHC, C-Span, and the Oxygen Network. Now, he gets to add my show to his ever impressive CV.
Here are a few of the spots Scott highlighted in the show:
Lounge and cocktail bar with an old Chicago feel. Al Capone was a regular visitor. In fact, there’s still an “Al Capone” booth. A fan of neon will appreciate this classic Chicago bar’s exterior.
A dive bar with ties to the old Chicago Outfit and nods to famous mob pop culture.
Italian chain on North Rush was a popular hangout of the Chicago Outfit.
In the Oxford Hotel, this fantastic art deco bar sits in a popular prohibition era hangout for gangsters.
Founded by the Smaldone mob family, they really play to the ties to organized crime. Provides great ambiance of a classic gangster hangout. Tunnels leading to Denver are now sealed.
Amazing cocktails with historic ambiance just off Bourbon St. No real mob ties per se, but a shoutout to a fantastic bar.
You have to walk through a back alley to find the entrance. A very industrial bar once owned by Frank Caracci. A known “hoodlum hangout” in the 60’s and 70’s.
One of the oldest bars in New Orleans was once a popular hangout during prohibition. Now a modern upscale mixology bar. Keeping with the theme, pictures of famous mobsters decorate the walls.
Formerly Eddie Trascher’s Ringside Liquors. A conman and master bookie, Trascher was once a dealer who figured out a way to rip off chips and organized crime associates. Now a prime dive for late night karaoke and cheap drinks.
One of the oldest bars in Las Vegas with great history and has really upped its game with impressive drink offerings and new kitchen.
A new speakeasy opens in April 2018 which will tie into the museum and the rich history brought to life in the exhibits.
Thanks, as always, for checking out the show! Scott and I hope we helped you add a new stop on a future travel itinerary.