The prohibition era of the 1920s was a time of great political upheaval, but it was also a time of significant growth and opportunity for notorious gangsters. 

During this period, speakeasies began popping up all over the country, offering illegal alcohol to those who were brave enough to take the risk. These speakeasies were often run by gangsters of the era, who used them to facilitate their illicit liquor distribution business. 

In this blog post, we'll look at some of the most notorious gangsters of the Prohibition era and the speakeasies they used to conduct their business.


Al Capone

Al Capone was a prominent mobster during the prohibition era. He was well known for running an extensive illegal business empire in Chicago, including the famous speakeasy, The Four Deuces. 

He was also notorious for his violent tactics and numerous criminal convictions. He eventually served 11 years in federal prison for income tax evasion. He died in 1947 at the age of 48.


Lucky Luciano

Lucky Luciano was one of the most prominent gangsters of the Prohibition Era. He is known for helping establish organized crime in the United States and using his influence to coordinate a national crime syndicate. 

Luciano ran numerous speakeasies in New York City, which allowed him to gain control of the illegal alcohol trade in the city. He was also known for his close relationship with mob boss Meyer Lansky.


Meyer Lansky

Meyer Lansky was a Jewish-American mobster and criminal mastermind from the 1920s to the 1960s. He was important in developing the National Crime Syndicate, uniting the Jewish and Italian Mafia. 

Lansky was known for his role in the illicit alcohol and gambling business of the Prohibition Era, running a vast empire of speakeasies across the country. His casinos in Cuba were also a major attraction for celebrities and tourists alike.


Salvatore Maranzano

Born in Italy, Salvatore Maranzano was a prominent gangster and one of the pioneers of the American Mafia during the Prohibition era. He is known for his role in creating the Commission, an organization responsible for organizing criminal activities and disputes among mafia groups. 

He also ran a significant bootlegging and gambling empire from several speakeasies throughout the United States. Maranzano was eventually murdered by order of crime boss Lucky Luciano.


Key Takeaways

The Prohibition Era was tumultuous in American history, marked by gangsters and illicit activities. Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and Salvatore Maranzano were some of the most notorious gangsters of this time. 

They ran bootlegging operations from speakeasies nationwide and made millions of dollars from the illegal liquor trade. While the period was defined by corruption and violence, it has since become romanticized in popular culture and serves as a reminder of America's complicated relationship with alcohol. 

With the end of the Prohibition era, speakeasies and the gangsters who ran them have long since been relegated to the pages of history. However, visitors to New York City can still experience a glimpse into this fascinating era with a 1920s-style car tour. 

The Nowaday Car Tour in the city looks at the Prohibition Era; guests ride in a fully restored classic car through an unforgettable loop of Manhattan's most iconic sites. The cars are designed to offer a head-turning vintage look but come complete with all a modern car's safety and comfort features. 

It's a unique way to experience the rich history of these infamous drinking establishments and learn about the gangsters who used to frequent them. Whether you're a local or visiting from out of town, this classic car tour from Nowaday is an unforgettable experience.

April 25, 2023 — Myrat Saryyev