It's been 100 years since Fall River, like the rest of the nation, was in Prohibition. The day before the ban of alcohol became law at the beginning of 1920, there was a fake funeral procession in downtown Boston for all of the empty bottles that wouldn't, supposedly, be refilled.

The Commonwealth was optimistic that Prohibition would be the fix for crime, violence and poverty.

There were two things they never saw coming: bootlegging and speakeasies.

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The speakeasy was a not-so-secret club that served illegal alcohol to more-than-willing customers. Outlawing the booze only made it more desirable and a night at the speakeasy was, somehow, even more fun and wild when it went against the rule of law.

How did people get away with it?  By giving some of the moonshine and money to the police and politicians. That's how the speakeasies stayed in business. Good old-fashioned corruption.

Much more than alcohol has been legalized in the days since, but in 2024, the speakeasy has become a fun new trend. Zeiterion Performing Arts Center is tapping into the carefree excitement from the 1920s with plans to build a basement-level speakeasy below the lobby.

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Now, in Fall River, comes an announcement that a historic building will be turned into a new restaurant "with an ambiance that pays homage to the Prohibition era's speakeasy culture."

The building is located in the Durfee Mills complex, which houses 99 Restaurant and Prima CARE.

The restaurant will be called The Counting House. In its day, the counting house was where over 20,000 mill workers lined up once a week to sign the register, get paid and exit on the other side.

Hidden beneath this stately building facing Pleasant Street will be a modern-day take on a speakeasy.

"The mood in the restaurant lounge is very sleek," owner Brian Corey said. "Gray walls with pops of jewel-tone furniture."

The bar is tucked in front of the original vault.

Corey has teamed up with Chris Parker and Tina Soscia on this venture.

Soscia created the menu, which will feature Portuguese/Italian fusion. Watch for a menu with plenty of shareable plates. Corey and Parker will launch their line of straight bourbon, gin and vodka from their Farm Coast Distillery in Westport. Fans of craft cocktails are likely to be pleased.

Corey says his target date for opening is the last week of April, but in reality, opening will probably be the first week in May.

We're reliving the 1920s in the 2020s.

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