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"Boardwalk Empire" Promotion Makes Drinking Illegal Again... Sort Of

Jen Winston |
October 4, 2010 | 2:33 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Sponsored by Canadian Club Whiskey (photo courtesy of Cornerstone Promotion)
Sponsored by Canadian Club Whiskey (photo courtesy of Cornerstone Promotion)
Stumble into the right speakeasy downtown this week and you may just stumble into Atlantic City. Say the password at the door and HBO drama Boardwalk Empire will sponsor your cocktail, helping 21-year olds relive the rush that comes with breaking the law. The prohibition-themed promotion is running all this week, and, despite how exclusive it seems, it’s pretty easy to get a password.

If you’ve seen the show, you know it’s a wild ride. Politics and bar fights meet loose women and Steve Buscemi for a Sunday night show that may make you want to DVR Dexter. After the show’s premiere, which was directed by executive producer Martin Scorsese, had the highest ratings of any HBO premiere since 2004, “Boardwalk Empire” was renewed for a second season.

Creator Terrence Winter (of “The Sopranos”) has shown us mobsters do not need to be Italian, though Al Capone and Lucky Luciano are central to the show’s drama. “Boardwalk Empire” is based on politician Enoch “Nucky” Johnson (his character named Enoch “Nucky” Thompson), and Steve Buscemi plays the prohibition mogul with a mission. He interacts with big names like Capone, and entertainment ensues.

The Hooch Hook Up promotional event, which lasts until this Thursday, turns happy hours at various LA bars into underground alcohol distributors during the prohibition era. It feels oh-so-risqué to fake-break the law, and locations like The Varnish, The Edison, and R Bar add to the coolness factor. You’ll receive a wooden token that will get you a free cocktail (made with Canadian Club Whisky), and you’ll feel like a bad ass as you down your choice of one of the four delicious concoctions.

Perhaps the most underrated part of the promotion is the fact that you’ll walk away with a barrel keychain that hides in it a USB drive. In the smallest element of the promotion, the show itself is best reflected: modernity meets the 1920s, and in such a smooth way that you’ll want to talk about it to everyone you know.

Read Roselle Chen's review of the "Boardwalk Empire" series premiere here.

Reach reporter Jen Winston via e-mail, or follow her on Twitter (@jenerous).



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