“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”
“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/
Dilla laid it down, and Common spit about it.
It’s been beating down the Mid-Atlantic region the past couple of days.
Jamiroquai had it in his heels. Tonight. Baby.
But I’ve never seen heat like this. Steel Reserve 211 is one thing, but….
“Canned Heat is a cocktail drink made from Sterno. For those not in the know, Sterno is a portable heating fuel, made from what is essentially ethanol and methanol and a couple of other things, none of which is good for you, to put it mildly. The Sterno is poured through a sock or rag to filter out the methanol and mixed with water or alcohol or whatever was on hand. Sterno was especially popular during Prohibition.
The famous blues man Tommy Johnson, was famous for having a penchant for Canned Heat, and one of his most famous songs is called Canned Heat Blues, which, you guessed it, is about a man addicted to Canned Heat.” — Bluescentric
"You know, honestly, I think it’s just too hard to keep track of,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “If you can’t legislate it, if you can’t enforce it then you probably ought to just go ahead and make it legal. I think that’s kind of what happened with Prohibition."
— WV Men’s BB Coach Bob Huggins, on the NCAA’s change in legislation of texting potential recruits
“Hey boy…you drink?”
“Yeah…some rum and some cognac sometimes…”
“You want some Hennessy? Go on and get yourself some…”
*pours Hennessy into ice-filled glass*
*pours cranberry juice into Hennessy*
“Awwww, come on…you’re killing it!”
The shortest month of the year just got a bit longer. February 29th does not come around too often, just every four years, Lord willin’. But while it marks the Leap Year, it also marks the quadrennial extension of Black History Month.
That’s good in some arenas. I can recall learning in elementary school about the work of Garrett Morgan, who invented the gas mask and traffic signal. I learned in my undergraduate studies about great thinkers like W.E.B. Du Bois & Marcus Garvey, and connect them with the work in which Dr. Cornel West & Tavis Smiley are engaged. I can reflect on the works of Julian Abele, Paul Williams, and Robert R. Taylor — African-American architects that did great work in the 19th and 20th centuries — and connect them with the work that Phil Freelon, David Adjaye, & Max Bond (deceased) are completing today on the NMAAHC. And there’s no equal to connecting the work that freedom fighters did to bring about our Black president.
In drinking culture, I’m at a bit of a loss. I have no start and no finish, no connections, no common thread, no alpha and omega. I do not know the person who invented scotch, tequila, or vodka, but I’m pretty sure they were not of African descent. I highly doubt that the person who invented the julep strainer, cobbler shaker, or cocktail glass would’ve been subject to Jim Crow laws. While there are notably historic African-American bartenders, there have just not been enough inroads made in cocktailing and drinking culture on par with other fields. Not sure what I’m searching for, but I guess it is what it is.
This doesn’t mean I have nothing to reflect upon. I reflect upon my personal experiences, like the exchange with my uncle from above, where he schooled me on enjoying spirits neat. The greatly rewarding visit I made to the local pub of my cousin that was born and lives in Somerset, England. I recall a time with a family friend I had a tasting session with — we enjoyed and compared a couple of fruit and grain wines and spirits that his uncle had moonshined. I think of the friends and colleagues I have today, that push me to succeed and further the cause of mixology. If the purpose of Black History Month is to think about how role models of the past inspire you to great things, I can’t help but think about how my family and like-family has set me upon this path. I’m forever thankful for my people.
Many buildings are placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Religious buildings like Quinn Chapel in Chicago; colonial-era buildings like the White Horse Tavern in Newport, RI; sites in the nation’s capital like the Cogswell Temperance Fountain; and Southern showpieces like the Brown Hotel in Louisville. Since the recognition symbolizes national significance, sometimes a flag-raising is in order.
The Jack Daniel’s Distillery realized this in 1976, and set out to enact a raising of the flag. This ad from that year stated as much. Distilleries are part of a nation’s history, whether it’s Bushmills in Ireland or the Hacienda Corralejo, they showcase a nation’s manufacturing mettle along with its artistic spirit; this is very much a cause d’celebre. As the distillers of Old No. 7 believed, you should wave your flag in honor of your favorite spirit — maybe they forgot that Ol’ Blue Eyes set the standard two decades earlier:
“The legendary residence was host to some of the valley’s most glamorous parties with Hollywood’s brightest stars of the day. The twin palm trees located poolside, appropriately name the infamous estate. Frank Sinatra often hoisted his Jack Daniel’s emblem flag on the flag pole once positioned between the twin palms, which indicated an invite to his Movie Colony neighborhood cronies that revelry and cocktails were in order.”
“A Blind Pig (or Blind Tiger) was, more or less, a juke joint equivalent to a speakeasy. The building the Blind Pig was located in would have a false front; a business, storage, or simply boards over the windows in order to keep the illegal establishment hidden. those that knew the right people or password could gain access to the joint. Often Blind Pigs would have live music, gambling, moonshine and other alcohols.” — bluescentric
“A bit of Bix history lives on in downtown Cincinnati at the venerable Arnold’s Bar & Grill (established 1859)…I learned that there was no live music at Arnold’s during this era, but that when Prohibition hit, the establishment abandoned its public saloon role and became a restaurant. Its presence as an after-hours speakeasy is easy to establish, however, as one of Arnold’s well-known artifacts is their second-floor bathtub, used for bathtub gin, which is still on display, sometimes in the outdoor dining area and sometimes in local parades. So although Bix couldn’t have jammed at Arnold’s, he very well may have partaken of the product of that vintage bathtub.” — Bix Lives at Cincy’s Arnold’s Bar & Grill
Black History Month is the time of year where links to the past are dusted off and remembered. There are many heroes, organizations, experiences, and memories that are circulated throughout the month. But hopefully, you come across something new; something that informs current affairs and contemporary Black culture.
African Americans have several historic and distinct ties to distilled spirits that come from grains. In the years of sharecropping and Jim Crow, and especially Prohibition, some of our grandfathers and forefathers were trying their hand at moonshine — producing gin and whiskey from some of the leftover corn, wheat, rye, and other grains. But in modern times, it seems that cognac has the most significant connection to African Americans. But how? Are there some ties to France that schoolkids aren’t getting taught?
Actually, there is. The company Moet Hennessy, part of the luxury goods conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), was one of the original cogs in the conglomerate that formed the National Urban League. The aim was to improve the plight of Blacks in New York City, but the Urban League has obviously taken that charge across the entire country. A great start to great work — that’s something to toast on the first day of Black History Month!
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]
If it’s two things the good people at The Congenial Hour love, it’s architecture and hip hop. I mean, cocktails and England. Or perhaps it was fashion and drinking places? Oh bother, I can’t seem to remember.
But out of all the connections and combinations illuminated through drinking culture, the tag team of architecture & hip hop has to be one of the most enjoyable. Not only do both of those areas of culture bring joy and happiness to the world over, affecting us on a daily basis, but they’ve also served as personal motivation the last decade or so. It’s a great thing when I can bring instances of these two worlds colliding to the wonderful public.
Here we have one of the elder statesmen of hip hop, Ice Cube, discussing the Eames House, an object of prefabrication included in the Case Study House program and, as Brother Cube so eloquently states, “…going green 1949-style, b*tch.” Architectural theory, indeed.
The good Dr. Ice also mentions that he studied architectural drafting before rapping straight outta the CPT. That must’ve been why he did so much work with Chuck D — who also considered architecture early before switching to graphic design — and the Bomb Squad in his early albums. Maybe they can rekindle their magic and get Havoc from Mobb Deep to produce a new album, as he previously said he would be an architect today, had Mobb Deep not put Hennessy on the front of their jerseys and taken over the world. Or possibly the three of them can get in on some flag football and have Andrew Luck play quarterback. These things can easily be worked out over a nice cocktail….errr, I mean, a couple 40s of St. Ides. Sorry, Cube.
….Prohibition. The Noble Experiment. The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Volstead Act. The day that made men cry — that is, unless they kept a tommy gun at the ready.
Prohibition is known as the period of time where it was illegal to produce and consume liquor. Feds running around to safehouses and using axes to crack open illegal barrels of whiskey and beer. Americans were forced to turn to household items, such as the sacred bathtub and pantyhose, to produce spirits undetected. As for the industry, countless breweries and distilleries went out of business, unable to transition to legal products profitable enough to keep their smokestacks churning. Drinking establishments, as was alluded to in the previous post, had to switch to serving products of the legal variety — ice cream and soda pop.
However, was everyone on either the legal/carbonated side or illegal/gangsterrific side of the law? Was there no happy medium? Indeed there was. The language of the Volstead Act prohibits “intoxicating liquors” — isn’t all liquor intoxicating? Not quite, according to Congress. Available for production was a defined amount of “non-intoxicating cider and fruit juice”, originally set to be no more than 0.5% ABV, but then extended, rendering home wine-making basically legal. But who really wanted to fiddle with grapes, just to arrive at a Pinot Noir that was the same color as a mass-produced Pinot Noir, but without any of the convenience or complexity. And all the 99p red in the world couldn’t make up for the lack of an ice cold beer or a nice jigger of brown, right? What’s a man to do?
Go see the doctor, that’s what. In current times, we know of “medicinal marijuana” that allows pharmacists to prescribe narcotics to those who need it, without criminal penalty. In the decade or so of Prohibition, this was also the method used, as pharmacists would dole out “spirituous frumenti”, the medical term for whiskey:
“To persons who are druggists in good faith, to retail spirituous and vinous liquors at the drug store in quantities not less than a quart, the liquor not to be drunk on the premises or adjacent thereto, and to sell in quantities less than a quart, for medicinal purposes only, on the prescription of a regular practicing physician, $50…” — Commonwealth of Kentucky vs. J.W. Fowler
Now that seems right and just. If I need my medicine, law or no law, I should get my medicine! And who would fight over that right? Lawyers?? Of course. They already had their Constitutional Amendment, why not keep fighting? Well, you know what we say to those lawyers? This:
“Everyone has the right to follow an innocent calling without permission from the government. He may do so with his own whatsoever he pleases, so that he injure no one else…So, then, without governmental interference or consent, we say the farmer may till his soil. the merchant may buy and sell, the lawyer and the doctor practice their professions, and the druggist and pharmacist compound their medicines. And if, by reason of shysters and quacks, an injured people demand protection, or if, because ill-behaved druggists or pretended pharmacists debauch the public morals by dealing out intoxicating liquors and nostrums as beverages, yet the pursuit of these callings cannot be prohibited. The innocent and honest druggist cannot be restrained of his liberty by reason of the dishonest practices of others. His pursuit, being in itself harmless, and indeed useful, and capable of being conducted without harm to the public, cannot be prohibited….” — Commonwealth of Kentucky vs. J.W. Fowler
So with that, let’s raise a glass to this glorious Repeal Day. The anniversary of the right of Dr. Feelgood to prescribe you a fifth of brown. Or for you to just go pick one up from your favorite beverage depot. Or for your favorite barkeep to pour you two fingers of Old Forester, the only bourbon produced before, during, and after Prohibition, as it was used as spirituous frumenti. Any way you get your spirits, let’s celebrate the legality of it all. Cheers. *clink, clink*
"Indeed, as far as pleasure goes, I find it better to await desire before I suffer meat or drink to pass my lips, than to have recourse to any of your costly viands, as, for instance, now, when I have chanced on this fine Thasian wine, and sip it without thirst. But indeed, the man who makes frugality, not wealth of worldly goods, his aim, is on the face of it a much more upright person. And why? — the man who is content with what he has will least of all be prone to clutch at what is his neighbour’s."
— Socrates, as recorded by Xenophon in The Symposium
“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.
Inscription in Cittie of Yorke, an English pub located in Holborn in Central London, said to have the longest bar in Britain.
in vino veritas — “in wine, (there is) truth”
“If my language has a touch of turbulence, do not marvel: partly the wine exalts me; partly that love which ever dwells within my heart of hearts now pricks me forward to use great boldness of speech against his base antagonist.”
— Socrates, from Xenophon, The Symposium