“Taverns were identified not only by reputation for strong drink, but also by the political backing of its owner…Taverns played a little-known but vital role as an important center of community life and activity…Because the tavern was so well integrated into ordinary, everyday urban and rural experience, few Americans commented on it…Taverns varied widely from one location to another…(In urban areas) tavern moved from a small-scale domestic operation to a more specialized business which emphasized goods and services and required a substantial investment by the proprietor…City tavern became simultaneously a meeting house, market place, restaurant, political arena, social setting, hotel, and communication hub…” — Early American Taverns: For the Entertainment of Friends and Strangers, by Kym S. Rice
“The proposed zoning code also clarifies the definition for alcohol outlets that have BD-7 licenses, commonly known as taverns. Currently, holders of BD-7 liquor licenses are permitted to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on and off-site from 6am to 2am seven days a week, compared to holders of A-2 licenses that are limited to off-site consumption sales and have more restrictive days and hours of operations. The new zoning code requires that all taverns have more than 50% of their sales and floor area for on-site consumption, to ensure that they are not just selling for off-site consumption.” — “The Baltimore City Planning Department’s three-pronged approach to reducing the density of alcohol outlets.” http://www.bsasinc.org/2013/01/bsas-to-testify-at-transform-baltimore-hearing/
I, too, know what it is to treat the hospitality environments of London as a university…
“…but because I am an American, and my country has been said to represent the cosmopolitan blood of other nations; so that in a sense my response is intended undoubtedly to be that of Germany, of Italy, and of many other nations, all of whom are of us as they are at home…the best that any one nation can do for itself cannot be equal to that done by them all working together and interchanging their ideas; and those who have been the most deeply engaged in this work, and most earnest in the prosecution of it, have constantly felt that they need a sort of university which they may attend; and it does not surprise us that London has become such a university…So we come to London as guests; and what do you offer us? Food and wine, flowers, the faces of fair women and noble men. But you do much more than that. Your hospitality is of the kind which affords the greatest opportunity that could now fall to the lot of those who are interested in the study of town planning — the opportunity to meet and to see the best work of others.” — Welcome Statement by Daniel Burnham at RIBA Town-Planning Conference in London, noted in Daniel H. Burnham, Architect, Planner of Cities by Charles Moore, 1921
[Photos by ME]
[Photos by ME]
“Shut down your operation, closed for business/
Leave a foul taste in your mouth, like Guinness…” — Mobb Deep, “Hell on Earth”
You don’t have to be a fan of Bar Rescue to know that countless drinking places close every day…gone forever, lost to the memories of the former patrons. While there is a range of emotions that set in upon the closing — disappointment, heartache, happiness to some, anger to others — it eventually dissipates as we find another bar stool with our name on it at another establishment. Is that all it takes — on to the next one? What does the literal “Last Call” mean to the built and social fabric of our communities?
What does it mean to the patron? To the common visitor or urban transplant, it’s a lost opportunity to make a new acquaintance, learn something unexpected about their new surroundings, or see that new culture “in action”. This may not resonate with residents, as they may not give the same value to certain places that have “been there forever”. However, it’s a problem for them as well — the next time they want to show a visiting friend what their city is truly like, it may look the same as every other city in FranchiseTown, USA. What made that particular city unique passed on right under their noses, as they didn’t lift a finger to try and prevent it.
Let’s discuss the perspective of the changing city. When all this urban energy and social activity is gone, doesn’t it make our cities feel a bit dormant, just a little empty? Maybe lacking for that excitement and experience that you go home and tell someone about, or are able to pass along in recollection to a friend in a fond retelling? Every urban environment may not be like Vine Street in late 19th-century Cincinnati, which had 136 drinking places along its downtown stretch in 1890. That speaks to a certain culture of industry that sustains that level of activity — an industry long gone, with only physical remnants still visible.
Finally, the industry. One truism espoused by Bernard DeVoto was, “The surest proof of the moral foundation of the universe is that you can always find good whiskey if you will go looking for it.” If one places closes, we can surely find another place willing to suit our tastes of fine cocktailing. However, what does that do to the local industry? In these tough times, it’s not easy to just set up shop somewhere. In simple terms, it’s hard out here for a publican. Small business loans, identifying and reaching a target user group, sustaining sales to woo continued supply — it takes more than just pouring a pony of spicy brown into a glass.
So, friends, in the words of Sean Connery, what are we prepared to do? The answer — realize that we can’t do it all ourselves. We must join together to keep our cities alive. About to enjoy that bottle of sweet brown you picked up the other week? Call over your buddy you haven’t spoken to in a month of Sundays to help you, so he knows what to look for upon his next visit to a drinking place. Stopping off for a quick cocktail with your main damie before a snazzy event? Have her girlfriends join you, and soak in their comments on how impeccably detailed a combination your suit and cufflinks make. Had an unexpectedly-informing exchange with the bartender at that corner spot, where you went for a “one and done”? Tell a couple people about it and send some business their way. The city will always be there, but it’s up to us to live in it.
This research discusses how changes to the urban environment has affected the “city center” not actually being the center of the city. We can begin the conversation here, discussing what the “shape” of the city is, and how that allows for connecting people to activity via the interconnections of buildings to sites to neighborhoods. Traditional ways of reading and navigating the city have been altered, due to the ebb and flow of the city and its suburbs, where people choose to work, and where development takes place. When you conceptualize a “city center” or “downtown” where a lot of urban activity is occurring, is that really in the center of the city?
How do you find out what is going on in your city — what does “happening” mean to you and what does it look like? We can continue the discussion by analyzing how the buildings help us find this urban activity; how it contains it, displays it, and leads us to it. Do you happen upon gatherings of people at an establishment, seeking to find a friend and leave the “lonely planet” behind you? Do you feel that the city still caters to smaller, more focused gatherings of people, allowing visitors to engage those groups to find out more regarding the city’s culture, so they can begin to move and shake along with the movers and the shakers? Are you intrigued by the new urban playgrounds of “destination developments”, that open the city up to residents and travelers both near and far?
Traditional means and avenues for design resulted in allowing energy to sift through different layers of the building, avoiding a stark inside/outside relationship. People could congregate directly at the front, or at the side in an exterior garden space, creating “overlapping social networks” that connected to passersby and sidewalk activity. In lieu of traditional means, what is left for the one who seeketh urban energy? Is social media the tie that binds those with common goals and similar perspectives, though separated by miles, subdivisions, and condo boards? Or can you still successfully find a slot to input your two cents on the future path of the city, and help tie into the social fabric? Good luck if you do; we all must keep striving. At times, it seems like there ain’t no love in the heart of the city.
There are three definite things in life: death, taxes, and cities changing. How can you gauge this change, and where can you go to witness the change? Drinking places are the heritage keepers within cities, where you can discuss issues that might not be on the front page of the newspaper or Facebook. A very informal way to find out where your city has been and where it is going. Grab a cold one and enjoy the discussion!
This research discusses the redevelopment of historic urban districts, offering analysis of change at the scale of a neighborhood. Neighborhoods are flexible in terms of city scale — macro-attributes such as socio-economic and changing demographic issues, as well as micro-attributes such as interpersonal relationships and signs & symbols on buildings. Opportunities for redevelopment can touch upon many of these issues as themes, tying together the neighborhood in a way that reflects its past and creates a responsible and promising trajectory for the future.
Contemporary breweries and microbreweries tend to be isolated from the built and social fabric of urban neighborhoods — either located in unadorned, industrial areas or totally unrelated to other services in the vicinity. Historically, breweries were large-scale operations, sustaining the economy of large swaths of a region and creating a need for services that extended down to the neighborhood level. Breweries were connected to local craftsmen for construction and engineering services, to local drinking places for patronage of their products, and to personal customs of the workers and their families. The overarching drinking culture contains objects for architectural commentary and metaphor, which are especially promising for success in redevelopment of historic urban districts, as shown above: historic buildings that reflect the “urban narrative” that future development should follow, building symbols and imagery that reflects cultural ideals, and looking to create a synergy between current professional opportunities and previous crafts & occupations that used to sustain the neighborhood.
A successful example of an urban redevelopment that brought all these attributes together is the Distillery District in Toronto, which successfully maintained the heritage of the area and its inhabitants, creating responsible development with smart and compatible uses.
[Research by ME]
[Photos by ME]
“Given that many convivial spaces seem to have grown organically through an accumulation of adaptations and additions, can we design such places at the drawing board? Critics of formal architecture and planning such as Bernard Rudofsky [Architecture without Architects (1964)] and Christopher Alexander [A Pattern Language (1977) & The Timeless Way of Building (1979)] suggest that we are better off ‘growing’ good places and spaces, rather than trying to build them from a blueprint.” — Convivial Urban Spaces: Creating Effective Public Spaces, by Henry Shaftoe
Drinking culture surrounds us; a great and tangible thing, it is. All the tacit nuances that exist within urbanity express this — examples are too vast and numerous to relegate drinking places to indirect objects of common culture and unworthy of analysis. Their centuries-old history is not akin to a tree falling in the forest….
“Even the most perceptive writers about them have tended to treat them as folk-art and taken it for granted that exact dates, names or architects and craftsmen, or particulars of what they cost or who commissioned them cannot be hoped for…
In the center of London, they still exist in abundant numbers…In Victorian days, their abundance was reckless and, in the eyes of the Temperance reformers, scandalous.
As the streetlights dimly lit up in the twilight the pubs lit up far more brightly; long rows of monstrous lanterns stretched out into the street on curling and caparisoned tentacles of wrought iron and underneath them walls of sinuously bending and elaborately engraved glass were lit from the inside by an inner row of blazing globes…” — Victorian Pubs by Mark Girouard
[Photos by ME]
Soooooo, when we last saw our hero, he was pushing a soft, light, colorful, regal liqueur. A month later, he’s saying that wasn’t “pure” enough — the best expression for mixology is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Say whaaaa???
To each their own — and I have no Grammy’s, Pritzker Prizes, or Spirited Awards to my name — but let’s think about this for a moment. Is a “blank canvas” really sought after for design creativity? Would architects rather design an object in an open field, or an infill within an urban environment with a distinct history and a definite trajectory? Would a fashion designer rather produce a non-gender concept design, or construct a new look for an after-hours menswear line? Would you rather start with a base spirit designed to blend better with mixers and modifiers — Wild Turkey 81, Pierre Ferrand 1840, or Hennessy Black, to name a few — or drink a Blank Canvastini? A search for “purity” should not hide or mask the merits of the spirit itself.
Philadelphia has the distinction of being the first place in this country where lager beer was brewed. It was brewed by George Manger in 1846, on New Street below Second. It was dispensed at Wolff’s saloon, Dilwyn Street below Callowhill.
While an employee at the Haas and Wolf sugar refinery, Manger convinced his boss, Charles Wolf, and fellow employee Charles Engel to brew lager for private consumption in the sugar plant. Manger then established his own brewery on New Street.
The brewing history of cities from the “German Triangle” — Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Milwaukee — hangs heavy over the regeneration of their urban cores. The shells of the historic breweries remain, akin to huge, masonry headstones. Has Philadelphia resolved the fate of its historic breweries, working them into the built and social fabric of its contemporary culture?
This research/diagram is about “convivial urban spaces.” In making connections to the conviviality of drinking places, I wanted to show where similar opportunities take place within urban environments, specifically in this particular area of Cincinnati. (What area is it?) Around this site in particular, similar to many residential/mixed use areas, people tend to congregate on street corners, steps, doorways, building portals/gangways, etc. By showing photos of people actually congregating around this site, I was showing my precedent to create the same comfort that made this area convivial for them, which would guide the design of the new spaces.
[Design/Research by ME — see book link for quotations]