The History of the infamous Basement Bar

Dive Bar: The Oxford English Dictionary indicates that, in the United States during prohibition, the term referred to an illegal drinking den or other place of ill repute, especially one located in a basement

Frank's Eastside Tavern has a long and colorful history. A basement was dug out under a small farm house near the Clinton River over a century ago and the locals used it as a gathering place to visit with friends and enjoy cheap beer.

With the passage of prohibition and the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1919, the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors became illegal in 1920.

This made the covert basement bar an ideal location to sneak a drink without the feds knowing your business. The bar supplied the community with a good time throughout Prohibition until the eventual passing of the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1933 repealing the Eighteenth Amendment.

With the ability to openly serve alcohol the basement speakeasy bar was named "The Eastside Tavern" in 1933. After the rezoning of Mt. Clemens in 1981 the bar was grand fathered into the towns charter and made official. Frank's Eastside Tavern holds the oldest liquor license in the county

The current owner, Frank DeBruyn purchased the farm house in 1991 and has been the host of the most unique bar you will ever find, that is if you can find it. It is still hidden under that small white farm house with the only tell tale being the humble sign near the front covered stairway into the basement and the parking lot next to the house.

The Eastside Tavern is one of the Detroit areas best kept secrets. A rare place where high and low rub elbows. It still hides away under a private residence like it did during prohibition. The 15x30 space is filled up with the small bar and a few tables. The low ceilings make for a quickly acquired art of tilting your head when walking for anyone much over six feet tall. If you want a seat to watch the band on saturday nights you better get there early.

The size is one of the bar's biggest advantages. It forces patrons to interact and no one is a stranger for long. Unlike typical bars where people form into their own groups separate from each other, at the Eastside you are quickly immersed into the family and will find it a fresh escape to an atmosphere lost long ago. It's a magical place that you will bring friends back to after telling them the tale of Frank's Eastside Tavern.

The history of Prohibition in the United States