Feuer's Homewood Inn, Homewood Illinois 1930s Menu Art
For decades, women were prohibited from drinking alongside men in the United States, with bars and saloons regarded as strongholds of masculinity. Men argued that bars were too rough and boisterous for women and that these were sacred spaces where men could talk business or sports in peace.
During Prohibition, ironically, this separation of the sexes ended because underground Speakeasies were co-ed and men and women mixed freely.
But as soon as alcohol became legal again in the 1930s, women were again largely restricted from bars. Signs said MEN ONLY or NO UNESCORTED WOMEN. Sections of bars were blocked off as men-only.
In some states, women could be arrested for drinking alongside men they met at bars – the clear inference being that they were professional ladies out to lure men for sex or they they were in danger of becoming "fallen women." If women were found to be intoxicated, they could be charged with “disrupting the social and moral order.”
Not surprisingly, women (and some men) chafed at these restrictions and this menu reflects that frustration. It depicts an ideal world where women take up all the seats at the bar – the modern ladies in their flapper dresses are already ensconced there and the previous generation of ladies – in their long gowns – have joined them.
In 1949, a group of women stormed the men-only Sazerac bar at the Hotel Roosevelt in New Orleans demanding the right to drink there. In truth, Seymour Weiss, the owner of the esteemed hotel, had already decided to allow women to come into the bar. It was a publicity stunt to gain attention and it worked.
However, women still struggled to get seats at bars elsewhere. In 1969, feminist Betty Friedan and a group of women descended on the bar of the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel in New York City which excluded women during the three hours of weekday lunches so men would not be distracted from deal-making. Waiters refused to serve the women
After four months of protests outside the hotel, the 60-year policy of prohibiting women was overturned. In the 1980s, the famous bar El Vino on London’s Fleet Street- center of the newspaper industry – finally overturned its ban on women drinking at the bar amid loud celebrationCourtesy Private Collection.
Gallery quality Giclée print on natural white, matte, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson K3 archival inks. Custom printed with border for matting and framing.
All printed in USA.
Each product is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu where available.