Tallahassee Bar & Hospitality


Tallahassee Bar & Hospitality


A Brief History of Alcohol and Government in Leon County

The Silver Slipper, Tallahassee's most notorious speak easy, sometime in the 1940's.

Leon County Sherriff's pour out confiscated whiskey outside the Leon County Courthouse in 1919.

1904- Regional Prohibition forces begin mobilizing in Tallahassee under the guidance of Luella Knott. They began a ballot intiatitve campaign but lose in a 494-372 vote. The county remains wet.

1912- Leon County becomes dry after a 458-347 vote. Liquor was available via the black market. Enforcement of local stills is next to non-existent. 

The Tampa Bay Tribune writes to lobbyists coming to Tallahassee "Arrange to conceal a barrrom somewhere in luggage, or have trousers made with special reference to deep and roomy hip pockets- about one quart capacity"


1916- Florida’s elects the first Proohibition Party Governor Sidney J. Catts .

1919- A statewide prohibition began in 1919. During Prohibition Miami Rum Runners along with moonshiners provided most of North Florida’s spirits.

The 18th Amendment establishing Prohibition is adopted by a majority of the states. Destruction of liquor is rampant in public places to shift public opinion, including in Tallahassee.

1933-21st Amendment repeals Prohibition. Beer under 3.2% alcohol is allowed in Florida and Leon County to be sold at stores. Beer was not very popular as whiskey remained the drink of choice. Bars aren't allowed to be permitted, it's not clear if beer is served in restaraunts during this time period.

1938- Tallahassee’s Silver Slipper opens, notoriously known as North Florida’s speak easy. The original location was on South Monroe street. Despite Prohibition being repealed, Leon County was still a dry county until the 1960’s.

1960- Liquor stores becomes legal in Leon County, while on-premise consumption remains illegal.

1966- The first bar on the strip, Ken’s Tavern opens.

1967- On-premise consumption of alcohol becomes legal in Leon County after a succesful ballot initiative campaign. The move's success is in large part due to the on-going conversation of moving the Florida capitol to Orlando. The conflict was seized upon by restaraunteers wanting to operate bars and was passed with huge margins (6,277 dry vs 12,187 wet).

1984- City of Tallahassee overhauls alcohol laws from County control, adopted laws on a 2 AM last call for bars within city limits.


1999- The Princeton Review releases it's yearly ranking and names FSU to be the top party school in the nation for the first time. FSU President Sandy D'Alemberte encourages FSU faculty to launch the Partnership for Alcohol Responsibility through a grant with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

PAR succesfully bans alcohol advertisements on FSU's campus, but does not achieve several of their policy goals, including banning advertising to 18-20 year olds, and outlawing drink special advertisments in Tallahassee.

FSU's Partnership for Alcohol Responsibility desolves in 2003. This article is a good overview of the issues around it's dissoultion. 

2000’s- CollegeTown, Gaines Street Renovations, Midtown construction and development begins.

2009- Sound Ordinance discussions begin during the construction of Cascades Park


Diagio funds the Responsible Hospitality Institute's study of sound ordinance proposals across the country for the City of Tallahassee's sound ordinance.

2012- Proof Brewery becomes the first Craft Brewery in Leon County.

2016- Ordinance 15-O-26 is passed to level playing field of SRX and Quota licenses. Sound Ordinance with an Urban Core exemption is passed. Creation of the Tallahassee Bar & Hospitality Association.