While I won’t say exactly which one it is, today indeed is my birthday. With out giving away too much, it is a big one and definitely called for a need to celebrate. And so in true Berghoff fashion, we held a spectacular party last night at the Berghoff bar! There were many reasons to celebrate. First it was my mother Jan’s birthday that day, second it was my birthday the very next, and lastly it was the Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition.
78 years ago on April 7, 1933, Prohibition was repealed in the United States and people everywhere were given back their “right to drink”. These were exciting times for my great grandfather Herman Berghoff, because not only was brewing and serving beer his lively hood, but on that day he secured the number one and two liquor licenses in the City of Chicago. Waiting for a Berghoff Beer; the line of men wrapped well down the street and around the corner that day.
Prohibition brought tumultuous times, but out of it came Berghoff Root Beer and even larger, the Berghoff Restaurant. Some things, such as a men’s only bar, however, stayed the same. This was until 1969, when a woman (some of you may know) named Gloria Steinman, marched in, buckled up to the bar, and demanded to be served. My father Herman Berghoff was the manager that day and will tell you that he “hid in the office, while women streamed into the bar”. He was allowing for the transformation of a men’s only bar to one where all were welcome, to happen on its’ own.
One of those very women from that day, Carol, helped us celebrate last night (pictured below with my parents).
And so last night with 150 of our closest friends and family, my Mother and I celebrated our birthdays, the end of Prohibition, and paid a special tribute to women. This is because with the exception of a few men, it was a women’s only party in which we recreated the famous portrait (that hangs next to the bar today) of April 7, 1933. The only difference…the bar was filled with only women (our celebrity bartenders being the only exception.) It was a night filled with laughs, wonderful music and art, beer, great food, Berghoff traditions (including Fresh Baked Pretzels), and a birthday I will never forget. So, like we did last night, let’s raise our glasses and help me cheers to my Mom and me on our birthdays, and the generations that have come before to pave the way to our today. Prost!
Check out the video created by The Chicago Tribune to see the fabulous partyhttp://www.chicagotribune.com/videobeta/?watchId=ce4f8286-166a-4b9e-b3a1-bca88e33dcb1