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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Have you ever been to a bar (or other entertainment establishment) named after some part of the Constitution?

I'd like to second Rick Garnett's endorsement of Daniel Okrent's book on Prohibition called Last Call.  It's a great read, and I relied on it a lot when writing the chapter of my forthcoming Odd Clauses book on section 2 of the Twenty-First Amendment, which says that "The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited."  As Larry Tribe once pointed out, this is one of only two instances where the Constitution directly regulates private individuals rather than the government, with the other instance being the Thirteenth Amendment's prohibition on slavery.

I should probably say that I enjoyed Okrent's book somewhat more than the Ken Burns special on Prohibition that's been airing over the past few days, but that might be the historical present tense, wildly overused in these kinds of documentaries, tends to make me vomit.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, there are a lot of bars around the country named after the Twenty-First Amendment.  We have one here in Boston, and there are also such places in San Francisco and Washington DC.  Not to mention Fayeteville, Arkansas.   I've been thinking of doing a tour of them to promote my book.  Not really. 

This makes me wonder whether there are other bars, restaurants, or different kinds of entertainment establishments named after parts of the Constitution, and if not, whether there should be, and what they would look like.  I've thought about opening up an Incompatibility Clause Theater here in Beantown next to my new Letters of Marque Clause teahouse, but frankly, I don't have any idea what would play there.   Thoughts?


Posted by Jay Wexler on October 5, 2011 at 12:53 PM in Culture, Jay Wexler | Permalink


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"Letters of Marque" should be a bail bondsman.

On a partial non-sequitur, my favorite joke name is "The 13th Step" as a name for a bar (in NYC).

Posted by: AndyK | Oct 6, 2011 12:03:46 PM

18th Amendment in DC

Posted by: Lisa | Oct 5, 2011 11:51:56 PM

There are lots of English pubs named the so-and-so "Arms." Presumably all signaling respect for the Second Amendment.

Posted by: Ed | Oct 5, 2011 9:12:56 PM

Another Fifth Amendment bar in Brooklyn ("Jackie's Fifth Amendement" in Park Slope)

Posted by: anon | Oct 5, 2011 7:06:40 PM

This is kind of off track, but there's a hot dog place in Chicago called "Felony Franks."

Posted by: Debbie Borman | Oct 5, 2011 6:49:22 PM

I always thought "Corruption of Blood" would be a great name, along these lines.

Posted by: Anon | Oct 5, 2011 5:01:35 PM

There was a bar in my hometown called "The Fifth Amendment." I didn't get it then, but I think I do now. (I don't think they were referring to the Takings Clause).

Posted by: Michael J.Z. Mannheimer | Oct 5, 2011 4:54:50 PM

Tonnage Clause (Annapolis MD)
disorderly Behavior (Tempe AZ)
yeas and Nays (Austin TX)
Lay and Collect (Ft. Lauderdale FL)
high Crimes (Santa Cruz CA)

Posted by: andy | Oct 5, 2011 3:28:24 PM

There are many such places named after institutions created by the Constitution -- President, Congress, etc. -- if that counts.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Oct 5, 2011 2:29:14 PM

Two nearby southern California establishments come to mind (that I've seen, at least): "First Amendment Tattoo" in Simi Valley, and "The Fifth Amendment," the nickname of a bar in Santa Monica (which, apparently, was the bar's speakeasy name: its Web site is pleadfifth.com).

Posted by: Derek Muller | Oct 5, 2011 1:02:25 PM

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