- a cheap saloon, especially one in New Orleans in the early part of the 20th century: so called from the racks of liquor barrels originally placed along the walls.
- a vigorous style of jazz originating in the barrelhouses of New Orleans in the early part of the 20th century.
Origin of barrelhouse
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- US a cheap and disreputable drinking establishment
- a vigorous and unpolished style of jazz for piano, originating in the barrelhouses of New Orleans
- (as modifier)barrelhouse blues
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for barrelhouse
Q. What was this place you rented? -- A. It was a room adjoining a barrel-house.
Q. What is a barrel house? -- A. It is a room where barrels of whisky are tapped, a very inferior kind of whisky, and the whisky is sold by the glassful right out of the barrel. It is a primitive coffee house. [Committee Report of the 43rd Congress, Select Committee on Conditions of the South, 1874-75]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper