“The attention of the Middlesex magistrates has been called to the demoralizing consequences likely to ensue in the middling and lower classes from the alarming increase of gin-shops in every direction, in and around the metropolis, by the conversion of what used to be quiet respectable public houses, where the laboring population could find the accommodation of a tap room or parlor in which to take the meals or refreshment they might require, into flaming dram shops, having no accommodation for persons to sit down, and where the only allurement held out was the promise of ‘Cheap Gin’.” — Victorian Pubs, by Mark Girouard
“Ten-year-old Jazimen Warr had nestled on her sister’s shoulder, the two children sleeping in the back of the family’s Cherokee on the drive to a relative’s home in Bowie. She was killed and the rest of her family sustained injuries in the crash.
That was Aug. 21, 2008.
Now, that crash on Interstate 270 could upend Maryland law and allow victims of drunken-driving crashes and their families to sue bars and restaurants if their inebriated patrons cause deaths and injuries.
Moves in the past two years by lawmakers from Montgomery County to create in Maryland what’s known as a “dram shop liability” law — the term essentially relates to a bar or tavern selling alcohol, with “dram” being a small unit of measure — didn’t make it out of the House Judiciary Committee.” — Baltimore Sun, “Maryland court considers liability of bars in drunken-driving crashes”
Oh, not that type of “black liquor”?
“Legislation that would have phased out millions in ratepayer-financed subsidies for mostly out-of-state paper mills died in a House committee Friday, just a day after the Senate passed a companion measure.
The House version of the so-called “black liquor” bill, HB1102, fell one vote short of the 12-vote majority needed to get out of the Economic Matters Committee. The vote in the panel was 11 to 8 for it.
“I think labor played a pretty big role in the vote,” the Baltimore County Democrat said, noting that even some of the bill’s cosponsors did not support it. Olszewski said he was a “labor guy” as well but saw this as a matter of ending subsidies paid for by Maryland ratepayers to out-of-state paper mills.
The bill would have ended in five years lucrative renewable-energy “credits” that paper mills receive for burning a byproduct known as black liquor and other wood waste. Maryland’s renewable energy law requires power companies to get some of their energy from renewable sources, and paper mills can sell their credits to meet those obligations.” — “House panel kills ‘black liquor’ bill”, Baltimore Sun
“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/
Not yet the “dog days of summer”, and still a bit chilly to fully say “spring is here”, but it’s still Opening Day. In Baltimore, that might mean getting up to a bar for 6am soak-up-the-day pancakes, signifying that it’s a great day for day-drinking. So whether you’re knocking down Natty Boh’s at a furious clip, or letting some traditional Punch ease you through the day, enjoy the official first day of Spring. One of the greatest to ever play said, “Let’s play two!” — why not have another after you finish that one? Don’t wait until the seventh-inning stretch to #getcongenial….
Repeal the Affordable Care Act. Repeal the Bush-era tax cuts. Repeal the Civil Rights Act. Repeal the Tuck Rule.
There are more than enough rules, acts, laws, codes, & mantras to worry about repealing. Can’t we just be happy one BIG one got repealed on this date, that allows us to take all the rest of the repeal-worry in stride? The only repeal you should worry about today is the lemon peel spraying oils into your cocktail, which you’ll replenish again, and again, then again again — possibly at one of these 25 wondrous drinking places to celebrate the achievement of this informal holiday. Cheers to legal imbibing. *clink, clink*
Funny how you can happen upon drinking culture and monumental architecture, sometimes without even knowing it…and that’s not due to the drinks. Not entirely.
If you look in the picture to the left, you’ll see a ghost advert for Emerson’s Ginger Mint Julep, in a photo captured after leaving the Pig & Punch picnic/party at Tales of the Cocktail this year. Me, my pork-loving belly, and my punch-sampling palate had a grand time. But I digress.
While the image of that advert might have you searching the French Quarter for a barkeep named Emerson that mixes up the stiffest, sweetest, spiciest ginger-enhanced bourbon cocktail, it’s actually closer to a mint-enhanced ginger ale — check the definition of a julep in this previous post. But after a bit more research, I found that this Emerson fellow was into a bit more mixology, a little closer to home. One of the more architecturally-notable buildings in Baltimore is the Bromo-Seltzer Tower, built in 1911 and one of the tallest buildings in the city for the early part of the 20th century — you can check the stats on Wikipedia to be sure. The company mainly produced a granular salt headache remedy, which I’m sure was useful to factory and shipping workers by Inner Harbor and Fell’s Point — possibly a hangover cure to a night drinking after second shift? Maybe so, but the final link in the drinking chain is explained in an anecdote on how they concocted their julep mastery:
FIZZIES® was also invented by Emerson Drug Company. The idea derived from scientists working with chemical formulas similar to “Bromo Seltzer” and wondering if a fun, fruit flavored drink could be developed the same way. “Wouldn’t it be grand if we could drop a tablet in a glass of water and have an instant soda pop?” After long hard work, they finally figured out how to combine the right combinations of fruit flavoring, sweetener, citric acid and sodium bicarbonate (a substance that is much like baking soda) into a magical tablet that when dropped into water, turned water into an instant sparkling, effervescent fruit drink!
Aha!! So to bring this whole cross-country carbonated connection to a close…while you may have gotten warm thoughts of a craft soda jerk taking finely shaved ginger, muddling that with the finest crystals of Demerara sugar, giving a loving and playful spank to heavenly-grown mint, then pouring carbonated water akin to Niagara Falls into a tall glass with ice that only a mother’s heart can make — you’d be on the wrong side of the bar. Imagine a cloudy glass with tap water, then taking what amounts to a “Sea Monkey” and dropping it into the glass. A few bubbles and voila — ginger mint julep. Sounds tasty. Harrumph.
I gotta go find Emerson — maybe he’s got a pill for a Gimlet. Or a Negroni. Or an Old Fashioned. Hope springs eternal.
We’ve all seen how my namesake feels about Punch.
Moving a bit closer to home, and away from classical times, we see what Baltimore’s barkeeps are stirring up with the P-funk. A truly classic mixture for a city with a truly American heritage, Punch is shaping to be the drink of the summer. With the recent “Sailabration” of the War of 1812, a colonial essence is still wafting over the city, and the combination of oleo-saccharum and the devil’s elixir carry it far and wide. Maybe you’ll find it in a city or picnic near you soon?
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!
There are two transitions in the day when drinking occurs. One of them is “The Hour”, which Bernard DeVoto so eloquently detailed about the happenings of six o’clock. Another transtion in the day that has a connection with drinking is what happens after late-night drinking. Not quite after the last drop is gone, but in the next hour or so following it.
Let’s set the scenario: You get clean/spiffy/appropriate at home before heading out with spouse/significant other/brohams/wingwomen. You head to a neighborhood spot/Da Club/hotspot and get it in, having a most glorious and congenial evening. It’s at the point where the heels of the people in your group near the threshold of the establishment that someone asks the prescient question….
“You all wanna go grab something to eat?” *sound of the angels singing*
The main point of that question is on the surface quite easy to figure out — the person is hungry and wants to grab a bite to eat. But if the time is 2am, 3am, 4am, or even later, who is thinking about their sustenance & nutrition? No one! Which is precisely why I’ve argued that the point of going out to eat after drinking is not to eat, but “to extend the night.” Who cares about rushing home to brush their teeth or hang up their slacks? We want to spend a bit more time with our best buds & favorite people, and what better way to do that, if we can’t drink, than by sharing some food?
Hummus and pita will have to wait for another meal. The main approach to “soaking it up” post-quaff is to get fat into your system, as it slows your body’s absorption of alcohol. Anyone can return home to a bag of chips. But after a night of quaffing mint juleps, why not go, or return to The Brown Hotel for a Hot Brown? After all, it was CREATED for fourthmeal — what food can say that? Isn’t it always nicer to go to an authentic place, a “one of one” instead of a corporate rehash? If the Brown is a bit too posh for your t-shirt wearing brigade, why not go to your favorite late-night restaurant or diner? At Tempo in Chicago, Sip-n-Bite in Baltimore, Chau Chow in Boston, or House of Pie in Los Angeles, everyone has times that resemble Schrevie, Boogie, and the guys. That McDonald’s or Burger King might beckon, but you can spend time with them during the day — why not head to White Castle, that family-owned bastion of sliders? Or go with the “tree theory” at your fave pizza window and throw three oil-laden slices on a separate plate and nosh while taking in the scenery. Nothing is funnier than the street talk that emanates from people post-clubbing. Add a Maxwell Street polish sausage or a Philly cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz and you’ve got yourself live television in HD!
People sharing stories, serendipitous conversations about who-knows-what, trying to see if you can make that quick couple of minutes turn into something special — it all resembles a fine drinking place, probably the one that got us at our favorite eatery in the first place. Stay congenial!
“Colonial tavern keepers were required by law to hang a tavern sign outside their houses “obvious for the direction of Strangers”; signs were usually hung on iron hooks or from a wooden/metal pole…Isolated taverns which established themselves initially for travelers later became the nucleus of settlements.
Tavern signs are the only artifact from the 18th century tavern to survive in any numbers…Inn signs, a British tradition, were flat wooden boards decoratively painted with a symbolic representation of the name of the house…Were an instant visual orientation in an age when many citizens were semi-literate.” - - Text from Early American Taverns: For the Entertainment of Friends and Strangers by Kym S. Rice
The 5-story historic American Brewery, topped by three irregular pagoda-like towers, was built in 1887 as the Wiessner Brewery and was occupied by The American Brewery from the 1930s until 1973. Since then the building has been empty, towering over East Baltimore. The structure has been rehabilitated for use as the new headquarters of Humanim, a social services non-profit organization. The project used state and federal historic tax credits, new market tax credits and other community development grants. — Cho Benn Holback + Associates website
Large-scale brewing was prevalent in the development of many cities, with locations like Cincinnati having a very active brewing history during the 18th and 19th centuries. But looking at a calendar will show that it is no longer 1870 — what are we to do with these monolithic houses of hops? I’ve asked this question for Philadelphia, and have shown propositions to produce movement and activity around them in Cincinnati, but Baltimore looks like it’s really created something notable here. No matter how much you love your favorite craft beer producer, the company isn’t working at the same scale of economy that Christian Moerlein was in the heyday of the “German Triangle”. Is the answer to bring in unrelated private sector companies or non-profits? Or is that akin to letting the rooster in the henhouse and waving a white flag to teetotalers, in effect giving Carrie Nation a prime seat at your bar? Is this the wave of the future — how can we keep the spirits in the building? Maybe we should pray on it.
Steps are a key component to many houses, turning them from mere buildings to objects of endearment. Many of us can attest to the heartwarming feeling of walking up the steps to your home after a hard day’s work, envisioning the comfort you’ll soon feel upon entry. Others have felt that extra bounce whilst skipping down the steps en route to a favored hotspot, looking oh so fresh and so clean. But something else transforms steps into much more, into an object that brings together not just the homeowner, but friends, family, neighbors, sometimes the entire community — a stoop.
A previous post alluded to convivial urban spaces within a residential/mixed-use neighborhood, with a stoop being one of these devices. The stoop has the character to exude comfort for ungodly amounts of time, holding court for conversations and arguments that range from your favorite girl to your favorite car. They also serve as informal drinking places, as beer is often retrieved from the inside of the house and passed out to the stoopiphiles: this happens from classic bungalows in Chicago to brownstones in Harlem. I’m sure many a Southerner has taken a bourbon Presbyterian outside on a warm day as well.
But what other significance does the stoop hold in drinking culture? When Absolut and Spike Lee collaborated on Absolut Brooklyn, a stoop was integrated into the bottle design, as it spoke directly to what the borough means to so many Brooklynites. The etymology of the word itself comes from drinking culture, ranging from such associated meanings as a bucket, a jar, or a cup, to getting straight-to-the-point in meaning “a vessel of liquor” or a flagon. Even that Shakespeare guy asked for “a stoop of liquor” once….
So the next time you’re observing The Hour with just one or two friends, firmly ensconced in your living room, why not slide a little further outside and take a sit-down….you’d make Ms. Jacobs proud with those extra “eyes on the street” — or at least on the stoop.
(Source: Apartment Therapy)
This is from a vendor I saw at the HonFest in Baltimore. Bottles are flattened for use as display art, trays, or cheese/cutting boards. I didn’t take the name of the vendor, but there are many similar companies online. The design of spirit bottles varies, with all different types of sizes and shapes, and this seems like a good method of reuse, other than simply tossing them away. So the next time you go to throw away that pretty blue bottle of Bombay Sapphire, or the slender and elegant bottle of St-Germain or Galliano, you might want to think twice. Look at it as reclaiming memories of glorious experiences….