A speakeasy bar in Tallahassee, Florida? You bet, but only if you can find it and know the secret word.
First make an online reservation and receive a special return message. Arrive at the Midtown Filling Station and pass a storefront of blacked out windows. Then, locate the correct doorman and say the code word. Ours was “Fitzgerald.”
You’ll be led down a clandestine alleyway to a gatekeeper. The gatekeeper stands before an unmarked door. He explains that Alchemy follows traditional speakeasy etiquette: proper attire, no men in hats, and gentlemen must go through the bartender to ask for an introduction to a lady.
Following the rules is the only way to be admitted into Midtown Tallahassee’s Alchemy: a revival speakeasy bar paying homage to those who found a way to circumvent outlawed liquor during Prohibition. A speakeasy is actually defined as,”an establishment that was used for selling and drinking alcoholic beverages during Prohibition (1920-1933, longer in some states), when the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol was illegal.” The term comes from a patron’s manner of ordering alcohol without raising suspicion – a bartender would tell a patron to be quiet and “speak easy”.
When I thought of Kansas I imagined mile upon mile of corn and wheat fields. Of course, I knew I’d find cities, too, but I didn’t expect the world-class meal I was served at Row House Restaurant in Topeka.
Should you walk down Van Buren Street, I bet you’d never guess there’s a restaurant from the exterior of the building. Indeed, number 515 is a row home, a charming one with three levels plus a garden and patio– all that work well for small group and intimate dining experiences. Many of the fresh ingredients are grown in the garden just steps from the kitchen. The ground floor includes a small bar with an atmosphere conducive to camaraderie.