Secret Speakeasy turning the clock back to 1923 in San Francisco

Dan Ashley Image
ByDan Ashley via KGO logo
Monday, May 22, 2017
EMBED <>More Videos

It may be 2017 for most of us, but every Friday and Saturday night a secret spot in the Bay Area turns the clock back to 1923.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It may be 2017 for most of us, but every Friday and Saturday night a secret spot in the Bay Area turns the clock back to 1923.

Dozens of actors and 250 audience members live out the story of a night during prohibition when alcohol was outlawed and illegal saloons were everywhere.

"The audience really becomes part of the world of the 1920s. They dress in costume. A lot of them assume personas and from time to time get invited into the action and become part of the play," General Manager David Gluck said.

It could be easy for a moment to might think you're stepping into an old movie. "Genuine bootleg liquor; Gin - I made it myself," one actor said.

It's immersive theater.

Sometimes it's hard to tell the customers from the actors. Everyone is free to move through a suite of rooms, recreated in vintage style.

The intricate plot plays out in real time.

"The beauty of it is the story all kind of slowly comes together towards the end of it," Carleigh McDonald said.

The speakeasy show was created by Nick Olivero. "There's a lot of little nooks and crannies that the audience can explore - and there's a lot of hidden secret passage ways and little spaces they can discover," Olivero said.

"I wanted to see everything that was happening, so we were all over the place. Something like sneaking around, being undercover that was really exciting about it, audience member Darren Brown said.

It's a mix of 1920's comedy and drama.

"This is my third time in the last four weeks. Every time I come back here it's been a different experience," audience member Aiden Mai said.

For the actors it's a dream come true. "You never go off stage. You are always on the stage, always moving and acting which is the goal ultimately as a performer, so it's great," Actress Megan Wicks said.

The speakeasy had a short run in 2014, and was reborn in a more elaborate version a few months ago.

It came at a cost of $3.5 million to put it all together. Producers used new regulations started under the Obama administration to recruit investors.

"We hope to run here for many, many years and one day be mentioned alongside great tourist attractions such as Beach Blanket Babylon and Alcatraz," David Gluck said.

The speakeasy is in San Francisco in the North Beach-Chinatown area, but the exact location is kept secret until a ticket is purchased, and the secret to getting inside is revealed. Prices range from $55 to $145.

Click here for more information.