Seeking release from COVID restrictions, illegal speakeasies are popping up in Northeast Philly

Music, dancing, alcohol – illegal gatherings taking place in the Roaring 20s.

No, not the 1920s. It’s happening in 2020, while people are supposed to be social distancing because of COVID.

Police say the gatherings are becoming increasingly dangerous. They aren’t trendy speakeasies that are actual bars. They are 100 percent against the law.

“The parties start at, maybe, 12:30 at night,” stated Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum with Northeast Detectives.

By day, it looks like any local neighborhood auto body repair shop, but by night, police say, the building turns into a big party spot, or as police are calling it, an illegal speakeasy.


“There was a full nightclub. I mean, lights, DJ equipment, you name it. Money all over the floor. A bar with alcohol,” Detective Rosenbaum remarked.

“They’ve been very bad neighbors,” stated a resident.

Neighbors near the Adams Avenue site the nighttime hot spot all too well. They’ve been complaining about the noise, crowds, parking and violence for months.

“They go until six in the morning. Then they have a brawl, then there’s a fight. Parking cars up and down the street. Gun shots,” another neighbor said.

“They make a lot of noise all throughout the night,” a third neighbor added.

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Police say no one inside was wearing a mask or social distancing. Parties were being promoted on social media so the site was shut down by L and I. Investigators say illegal speakeasies have been popping up since COVID-19 curfews and 10 p.m. mandated shutdowns went into effect.

“This is the new thing. Bars are shut down. People want a place to go so we’re starting to see them pop up,” Det. Rosenbaum added.

Detectives are also trying to determine if a string of recent home invasion robberies may have a link to the illegal, cash friendly speakeasies in the Northeast.

“There’s a lot pf money in these places. They’re popping up wherever they can – store fronts, garages. They’re making a quick buck,” Det. Rosenbaum went on.



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