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1920's Style Prohibition Party at Bloomsbury Ballroom

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by Peter Watts (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer, panoramic photographer and keen traveller living in London. See some of my pictures on
Where pearls and spats hide from the Law
Prohibition Party
Prohibition Party, image courtesy of the Bourne and Hollingsworth group

There is nothing like a Prohibition Party for the chance to experience the sumptuous Jazz Age, dress up and let your hair down. The 1920's are forever associated with excess, the Charleston, free flowing dresses and generally letting go. On both sides of the pond, dancing and partying were high on the social agenda. These days, one of the best ways of revisiting the hedonistic antics of the 1920's is to go to one of the spectacular parties put on by the Bourne and Hollingsworth group. Just watch the video below to see.

Dressing up for the period is required. As the invites encourage, "Gentlemen should make like Jay Gatsby in a tuxedo and spats, whilst ladies can channel their inner Daisy; unfeasibly beautiful and exhaustingly glamorous in tassels and pearls." Everyone buys into the idea, and the costumes are fantastic adding to the vibrant atmosphere.

Prohibition Party Dancing
Dancing at the Prohibition Party © Peter Watts

Live Jazz, Dance, Burlesque and Roulette

Learning Charleston © Peter Watts
Learning Charleston © Peter Watts
Party goers were entertained with dance lessons (the Charleston, of course), live bands, DJ's and other acts fitting for the prohibition era. In a nod to the constraints in the US, some cocktails were served from three bars in tea cups, hiding the alcohol from the law. This all took place in the famous, Art Deco Bloomsbury Ballroom, only adding to the event. The dance lesson was the first part of the evening, preparing people for the live music that would come on later. This was followed by DJ music until about 10:30pm when the live acts appeared.

Marianne Cheesecake
Marianne Cheesecake at the Prohibition Party
First on stage was , with an amazing fan burlesque dance. This was followed by the lively jazz band on the main stage of the Ballroom, playing a mixed and varied set. This group is very popular at jazz clubs around London and the South East, and have toured the length of England appearing at clubs and festivals. Later on in the evening the Dixieland Knee Tremblers played in the more intimate Cush Bar.

From abut 10pm the $100 bill we had been given on entrance also came into play as two roulette tables opened, quickly becoming very busy. It was my first roulette experience, learning how the table worked and where the betting lay. The money may not be real, but the excitement and concentration around the table still palpable, no more so than when one punter bet on the correct single number, creating instant towers of chips.

Sunshine Kings at Prohibition Party
Sunshine Kings playing at the Prohibition Party © Peter Watts

A Great Night Out

Prohibition Party
Prohibition Party Nov 2014 © Peter Watts
The Bourne and Hollingsworth group describe the Prohibition Party as, 'a rip-roaring foray into a time in which sumptuous glamour met unbridled mischief with suitable aplomb. Guests are transported back to a bygone era as morals are forgotten, Jazz music demands you to get footloose and the roulette table beckons you to have one last go. Relive this golden age with all its sensation and allure, where opulence, exuberance and wanton waywardness were the order of the day.'

And they are not wrong. It was a fantastic way to let our hair down for an evening, dress up and dance the night away to some great live music.

Prohibition Party Bar
Prohibition Party Bar © Peter Watts

If this has whetted your appetite for a chance to let your hair down, dress up and have a fantastic night then check out for their next event. You can also find them on Facebook and follow them on twitter (@bandhpresents), where they post under #ProhibitionParty.

All that will remain at the end of the night will be to make your way home and plan for the next one. And if you can not wait for that, then maybe Prohibition can come to you for your own private event.
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Why? Getting back to the Age of Jazz
When: See website
Where: Bloomsbury Ballroom
Cost: from £25 entrance, cocktails from £8
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