Charles William Stache (November 6, 1899- July 11, 1987) was best known as the mastermind behind a string of Speakeasies across the United States. His early start as a young Wall Street executive helped to eventually make him one of the top business owners in America. When the U.S. government passed the 18th Amendment, known as the Volstead Act, banning the production, sale and transport of “intoxicating liquors,” Stache knew he had to act fast. With his love for money, booze and women, he was sure he could create the hottest underground clubs in every major city across the United States. Stache was able to open over 20 locations in one year’s time. His clientele were movie stars, celebrities and the elite members of society during prohibition.
Charles William Stache was born on November 7, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois to Lewis Miller Stache and Margaux Pierce. Lewis Miller Stache was a teacher, a businessman and a philanthropist. Pierce was a writer. Both Lewis Miller Stache and Pierce were conservative and respected in their Oak Park community. Charles William Stache attended Oak Park and River Forest High School where he became great friends with the famous author and journalist, Ernest Hemingway. They became close in their first year of high school. They were both very athletic and competitive and both of them took part in a number of school sports, including boxing and track and field. While Hemingway went on to finish high school, Stache dropped out. Inspired by Mark Twain’s famous words, “don’t let school interfere with your education,” Stache decided to take a chance and move to New York to learn about Wall Street and the ways of the wealthy. Stache and Hemingway remained great friends throughout the duration of their lives despite the fact that each went in his own direction in making a mark on the world. Charles William Stache learned a great deal from Ernest Hemingway and vice versa. Stache, having both a mother as a writer and a best friend as a writer, picked up many skills and techniques to later record his extraordinary life.
On January 17, 1920 at midnight, The National Prohibition Act, informally known as the Volstead Act, came into effect. The 18th Amendment prohibited the production, sale and transport of “intoxicating liquors.” However, it did not define “intoxicating liquors” or provide penalties. Charles William Stache knew that with this act in place, he had a small window of opportunity that he had to grab. He opened up his first speakeasy less than 2 months after the Volstead Act came into effect. His first speakeasy, located in the heart of New York City became so popular, that he opened up 4 more immediately afterward. While quite a few speakeasies started opening up around the same time, Stache drew in the hottest movie stars, models and burlesque dancers. The elite members of society all flocked to Stache’s secret bars because he sold the best quality liquor. This set Stache’s speakeasies apart from many of the others, which generally served cheap bootleg alcohol. In a year’s time he opened over 20 speakeasies across the U.S. He spent a lot of time traveling between the bustling cities of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Miami. People were lured into his romantic and secret underground clubs. As his clubs grew in number and size, Stache became untouchable. Even though the police and the Bureau of Prohibition would often raid and arrest owners and patrons of many speakeasies, Stache’s speakeasies were rarely bothered. His underground clubs became so profitable and popular that nobody wanted to mess with him.
What many people do not know about Charles William Stache is that on top of being a businessman, he was also an explorer. He thrived off of a good challenge and adventure. During the “Jazz Age” Stache took many trips to Europe to not only visit friends, such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who spent quite a bit of time in Paris but also to get artistic inspiration. Stache lived to explore new, exotic cities. He was a charming young man who couldn’t resist the temptation of beautiful women, expensive cocktails, live music and a good time. He was known to be the life of the party wherever he went. He could spend hours sitting at the bar, drinking the finest spirits and meeting new people. During the 1920s he traveled back and forth between cities in the U.S. as well as cities in Europe including London, Paris, Florence, Lisbon, parts of Eastern Europe, and even Malta. There was never a dull moment with Charles William Stache and he took pride in sharing his thrilling stories. He spent much of his time writing about his adventures. In later years, he went on to travel around parts of Central/South America and Cuba, as well as the Caribbean.
Charles William Stache had a vivacious social life. He was always out and about. Stache had just about everything a man could want. He had the looks, the money and a dashing personality. It is no secret that he was a ladies’ man. While Charles William Stache never married, there was no shortage of women in his life. He loved the thrill of meeting new women and he was definitely a charmer. Word has it that Stache could be in a small town halfway around the world where he didn’t even speak the language, but he would still leave the bar with a stunning woman on his arm. Though Stache did not marry, he had four children that we currently know of, though historians suspect there are actually many more. He had one son with a woman named Delphine Rousseau, whom he met in Paris. He visited Paris frequently and was seen with Rousseau on many an occasion. However, he was not a man to stick around for long. He had a daughter in Italy with a woman named Anita Rossi, however, the daughter was taken by pneumonia shortly after she was born. Stache also had a son with an American burlesque dancer whom no one seems to know much about. Stache’s fourth known son was with a woman named Lillian Moreau. Moreau was a beautiful young woman, who unlike most of Stache’s other women, did not come from a wealthy upbringing. Nobody knows much about Moreau except that Charles William Stache met her at one of his speakeasies. It was said that Stache took a strong liking to her and was devastated when she passed while giving birth to his child, Walter Ernest Stache. Charles William Stache kept a strong relationship with this son throughout the duration of his life. Walter inherited his father’s legacy. Walter had a son of his own, Charles William Jr., whom he named after his father. William, Charles William Stache’s grandson is now the heir running the hip, underground bars that have been passed down to him. Charles William Stache also had quite a few affairs with well-known actresses. He is said to have dated Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, and Pola Negri. It is no doubt that women loved him and he loved women. Rumor has it that Greta Garbo was madly in love with Charles William Stache, and his promiscuity drove her crazy. She couldn’t bear to see him fooling around with so many women. Some say that this played a large role in her depression and loneliness. Many even state that he was the reason that she never married. Even though Stache had a lot of respect for the women he dated, his strong sense of adventure and curiosity never kept him in one place or with one woman for long.
Charles William Stache greatly influenced American culture. His speakeasies were the place to be during not only the ’20s and Prohibition but continued to flourish even afterward. To this day, the rich and famous still flock to Stache’s dark, hidden, hip joints. Perhaps his most popular speakeasy in current times is the one that now bears his name. Stache Drinking Den + Coffee Bar, located in downtown Fort Lauderdale, ties together all the elements that ultimately represent what his speakeasies are all about. The scene is mysterious and relaxed, yet curious and upbeat. It is a place to escape. Charles William Stache spent quite a bit of time in Miami during his life and he fell in love with the tropical, exotic vibe that made South Florida so unique. When he opened up the famous speakeasy now located in Fort Lauderdale, he knew right away that this would be the bar that continued his legacy with his name. You can find the top models, musicians, and actors enjoying Stache Drinking Den + Coffee Bar’s elegant craft cocktails in one of the dark corners of the bar. Stache Drinking Den + Coffee Bar is one of the only bars in South Florida that prides itself in playing a seamless blend of Classic Funk/R&B/Funk/Soul spanning the last six decades to the newest of Indie & Electronic/Tech House orchestrate. While Stache Drinking Den + Coffee Bar has continued to remain relatively unknown, it has been growing in popularity since it’s ‘official opening’ in November of 2013. Charles William Stache influenced a great number of people through the duration of his life and continues to influence the art, music, and bar scene today.
Once in a blue moon the stars align. Something new and epic arrives on the scene and changes everything. When the doors opened at Stache in November of 2013, that special something occurred.
Stache is new and fabulous. It’s where the Taste Makers of Palm Beach, Miami and Fort Lauderdale choose to play. Stache will infuse you with the intimate energy of a 1920’s Speakeasy. The scene is mysterious and relaxed, yet curious and upbeat. It’s a place to escape… a swanky downtown drink haven where the walls are warmed with plush tapestries and the drink menu is flush with high-end potables.
At Stache, you’ll come to appreciate an elegant twist on boutique drinks and whiskeys. We take pride in our beautifully crafted cocktails and our craft bartenders will revive your appreciation for the true art of mixology. In addition to perfectly poured cocktails, we have an impressive selection of quality craft beer and wine. Be sure to take notice of our champagnes, all of which have been expertly selected for discriminating palates.
The real game-changer though is in the music. We rock a crossover format and we do it like nobody else can. We seamlessly blend Classic Rock/Funk/Soul/R&B spanning the last six decades to the newest of Indie & Electronic/Tech House. You can count on us to play the music you like to hear, and we’ll challenge you to keep up with what we know is on the brink.
The Nuts & Bolts: we’re a premier, mid-size 5,000 sq/ft, 2 level-3 bar boutique, entertainment and music venue located in Downtown Ft Lauderdale.
See you at the Bar…