In the roaring 20’s, prohibition made events with alcohol go underground and speakeasies with special pass codes and hidden entrances became the norm. I used that as the inspiration for my Great Gatsby party entry way with these speakeasy party entrance decor ideas.
As I mentioned in my last post about how to add the wow factor to your party decor, I think making an entrance to your event is important for setting the tone for the whole celebration.
Which is why I wanted to do something special for my Great Gatsby party.
And since the Great Gatsby was set in the 1920’s during prohibition, I decided to set up the entrance like a speakeasy.
By making an alley out of my garage and having people come in through the garage door instead of the front door, I created a “hidden” entrance like you might find for a speakeasy during that time.
If you want to get a tour of my speakeasy party entrance decor, you can watch the video, and take a look at the pictures below.
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The first trick was to figure out how to create an alley in the garage.
I decided that brick wall scene setters* would be the way to go for the walls.
They come in 4′ x 30′ rolls, so I taped two of them together to create an 8′ x 30′ length. For my garage, I needed 2 of the 8′ x 30′ walls to create the alley (so 4 of the scene setter rolls altogether).
Then I positioned some shelves and stacks of storage containers so that they created an alley way down the middle of the garage (with a curve so that you couldn’t see the door from the driveway).
Finally, I stacked cardboard boxes along the top of the shelves and used a stapler to attach the scene setter to the boxes.
I think it made a pretty convincing alley.
The Misleading Sign
When I was looking for ideas for my speakeasy party entrance decor, I ran across a great idea from Diana at Paint Sew Glue Chew where she created a misleading sign outside here Speakeasy party entrance. (She has a lot of other great speakeasy party decor ideas, too, so make you check them out, too.)
And I loved it so much, I decided to do something similar.
Then you can tell your guests to meet you at the book club meeting…wink, wink…
Click HERE for the step-by-step tutorial on how to make this sign and learn to create perfect writing on chalkboard (with no hand-lettering skills required).
The Shady Characters
What’s a 1920’s party without some shady characters and gangsters?
I used scene setters to create the illusion of silhouettes by taping them to my wall.
They’re a little shiny in the daylight (they are plastic), but you don’t really notice the shine when it gets darker.
(These exact silhouette scene setters aren’t available any more but I found these ones* that are similar).
To emphasize the entry, I put one on either side of the alley.
I also created a “speakeasy entrance” sign just in case people weren’t sure where to enter. (It’s one of the printables available from our resource library…get the instructions below).
The Industrial Lighting
Because it did get pretty dark in my alley in the evening, I needed to add some lighting. But I didn’t want to be too bright.
So I hung a few outdoor patio lights* with Edison bulbs from the ceiling. (I will use them on my patio in the spring, too…I love party decor that I can re-use somewhere else).
I like the industrial look. And they plugged into the electric outlet in the ceiling (where my garage door opener is) so I didn’t even have to run long extension cords.
The Spooky Butler
My spooky Halloween butler just seemed to fit in the alley, so he greeted everyone as they came in.
But I also think it would be pretty cool to have a real person acting like a bouncer, if you can talk someone into doing it 🙂
The Speakeasy Party Photo Op
This part of my speakeasy party entrance decor was the photo op of choice for my friends. Here’s how I put it together:
The House Rules Sign
The house rules sign is a printable that you can also get from the resource library.
I printed it on gold paper*.
Then cut it to 8″ x 10″, and put it in a black frame that I already owned.
Finally I used a gold sharpie marker* to create the gold outline around the inside of the frame.
It’s amazing how much difference that one little gold line makes!
The Liquor Stash
Of course, a speakeasy wouldn’t be a speakeasy without stacks of liquor.
So I made these cases out of paper boxes wrapped in kraft paper*.
Then printed out some labels that I glued on the front of them.
Finally, I added in a couple of wooden crates* and some empty wine bottles to mix things up a bit.
You can get all of the printable labels from our resource library. If you’re already a member, you’ll find the password at the bottom of every email that we send out.
If you’re not a member and want to be, use this form to sign up.
Adding a stack full of cash (okay, fake cash) was the last detail.
Then I filled the bags up most of the way with toilet paper to make them look like they were full. And added a few of the bills to the top of each bag.
I put mine in a small treasure chest that I already owned. But you could just lay them out on top of the box, or put them in one of the wooden crates.
The Speakeasy Door
The last step was to put up another scene setter on the door* that makes it look like the club is closed.
I think it was the perfect end to my speakeasy party entry. Don’t you?
Now that we have the entrance out of the way, I’ll be posting the rest of my Great Gatsby decorations and party ideas in the coming weeks so be sure to stay tuned for that!
In case you missed the links above, here are all the speakeasy props we used in our decor:
- brick wall scene setters*
- speakeasy gangster scene setters*
- outdoor patio lights*
- gold paper*
- gold sharpie marker*
- kraft paper*
- wooden crates*
- fake cash*
- canvas money bags*
- speakeasy scene setter on the door*
Other Roaring 20s Party Ideas You Might Like
- DIY Laser Cut Roaring 20s Party Invitations
- How To Make A Roaring 20s DIY Feather Centerpiece
- Great Gatsby Party Decor Ideas
Have comments or questions about our speakeasy party entrance decor? Tell us in the section below.
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This post was originally published on December 20, 2019 but was updated with new content on July 24, 2023.