Why Clubs Charge Cover Charges

This distinction rarely comes up, but the United States’ Prohibition against alcohol between 1920 and 1933 did not actually ban the consumption and possession of alcohol, but rather, the manufacture and sale of alcohol.

The wording of the now-repealed 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution made this clear:

“After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all the territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.”

In the early months of Prohibition, saloons would claim that they stockpiled beer from before Prohibition’s effective date, and then host events within the saloon that would charge customers for participating in the event and then provide “free” alcohol as a courtesy (these types of events came to be called “blind pigs” after a Pennsylvania … Read the rest of this article!