Green’s Dictionary of Slang

drum n.3

[ety. unknown; ? the image of the hollow drum resembling a hollow house or room or the use of drum n.2 as a fig. house for wandering gypsies and tinkers]
(orig. UK Und.)

1. [late 18C–19C] a social gathering, a party.

2. [mid-19C] a casino.

3. [mid-19C–1950s] a saloon, a drinking house, a speakeasy, a nightclub.

4. [mid-19C+] a brothel.

5. [mid-19C+] a house, a home.

6. [late 19C] a travelling salesman’s stall.

7. [late 19C+] a prison cell, a prison.

8. [1900s; 1980s] (Aus./US) a room.

9. [1920s] (US) a place, a town.

10. [1930s] (US tramp) a safe.

11. [1960s] (US prison) a criminal’s hide-out.

In phrases

break a drum (v.)

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) to burgle a house.

speel (on) the drum (v.) [speel v.1 ]

[mid–late 19C] to go off with stolen property.

square drum (n.) [square adj. (1) ]

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) a public house (mainly) frequented by non-criminal customers.