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The restauranteur Barney Gallant (dates unknown) was a long-time Village resident who made a successful business of attracting outsiders to his Bohemian speakeasies and nightclubs in the 1920s. Originally from Hungary, Gallant was a member of the Liberal Club in the 1910s, worked for a time as the business manager of the Greenwich Village Theater, and was Eugene O’Neill’s first roommate after his arrival in New York. In 1919, as a partner in the Greenwich Village Inn, he made the news when police enforcing the brand-new Volstead Act, popularly known as Prohibition, prepared to arrest several of his waiters for serving alcohol. Gallant gallantly took full responsibility, refused to comply with the law, and was sent to the Tombs for thirty days. He was the first person in New York arrested for breaking the new law, and became an immediate celebrity. Gallant went on to open swanky speakeasies and nightclubs, popular among locals and visitors from uptown alike. The names of his venues are peppered throughout the advertising sections of Village periodicals and histories of the era: Club Gallant, Barney’s, Speako de Luxe. In his 1933 history, The Night Club Era, Stanley Walker describes the clientele at Club Gallant as follows: "youngsters with strange stirrings in their breasts, who had come from remote villages on the prairie; women of social position and money who wanted to do things--all sorts of things--in a bohemian setting; businessmen who had made quick money and wanted to breathe the faintly naughty atmosphere in safety, and ordinary people who got thirsty now and then and wanted to sit down and have a drink."
An issue of Gargoyle (September 1921)
Gallant had his hand in many Village goings on; he is listed in the masthead as the “sole New York Distributor” of this Paris magazine aimed at American expatriates.