Jack Rabbett's Whisky Bar
The Legend of Jack Rabbett's Whisky Bar
The legend begins back in 1895 when a young man named William Duncan gathered two of his friends to form the Basin Springs Hotel Company of Eureka Springs. This syndicate owned several local businesses, including controlling interest in Ozarka Water, which was shipped water to restaurants and railway dining cars in surrounding states. The Basin Park Hotel opened its doors on July 1, 1905.
Liquor was a staple in Eureka Springs by the time the hotel had opened, and three years later the temperance movement, which started locally in 1886, became most active when Carrie Nation, head of the National Women's Christian Temperance Union, moved to Eureka. Undaunted, local saloons continued to thrive. Even the 18th Amendment that established nationwide prohibition could not slow down the sale nor the consumption of alcohol in Eureka Springs, thanks to a bountiful, local bootlegging industry.
Thanks to this ample supply of liquor, when Joe Parkhill of Cicero, Illinois (a neighbor of the Al Capone family) took over the hotel in 1944, he had no problem luring northern visitors. Guests would ride the train from Chicago to Monett, Missouri, and then ride the hotel's shuttle bus down to Eureka. A clean, Ozark community with a plethora of outdoor activities, coupled with a quality hotel that (illegally) offered liquor by the drink, plus gambling, (also illegal) kept the hotel humming for the next eleven years. It was during this time when Parkhill hired Jack James Rabbett as night manager, even though Joe always kept a close watch on the profits (a.k.a. cash) by working behind the bar himself.
Rabbett was at the helm in 1951 when at midnight on a June night during the Barefoot Ball, the hotel was raided by Carroll County Sheriff Erton "DeWeasel" Deweese for "operating a bar and selling intoxicating liquors without a license". Alcohol and slot machines were confiscated and destroyed in the street by the sheriff and his deputies. According to the Eureka Springs Times-Echo, arrested with Parkhill were John Doe and Jack Rabbit (sic).
Following the raid and his arrest, Parkhill soon lost interest in the hotel and sold the Basin Park back to its previous owner, Claude Fuller. It is said that when Joe left, his night manager left as well. When hotel regulars would ask, "What happened to Jack?" they were told, with tongue in cheek, "Jack disappeared into 'the Rabbett hole'"!
The origins and success of the Basin Park Hotel have always surrounded the sale of alcohol by the drink. Today, customers can get "a taste of history" by stepping into the hotel's Jack Rabbett's Whisky Bar... with no fear of "DeWeasel" crashing through the door.
Jack Rabbett's Features...
Classic Drinks Done Right, Craft Beer, and
Upscale Bar Food
- Lounge Seating
- Upscale Bar Food
- 3 Big Screen TVs
- Pool Tables
Jack Rabbett's Whisky Bar
Open 7 Days a Week:
Monday - Friday 5pm to 10pm
Saturday & Sunday 12pm-10pm
George Dickel Whisky, Craft Beer & Wine.