Barrel house is a form of music, crude jazz, or a type of blues performed originally in low-class night clubs.
The name itself came from any rough or low booze joint in which drinks were drawn from the barrels in which the liquor was delivered or where such barrels were prominently displayed.
It is at least seventy-five years old.
Peck’s Bad Boy (1883) has the “Boy” tell that his “Pa . . . thought he had a snap with me in the drug store . . . ; but after I had put a few things in his brandy he concluded it was cheaper to buy it, and he is now patronizing a barrel house down by the river.”