Kempt

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Bartending Icon: Harry Craddock

Harry Craddock

Bartenders. The good ones are impossibly dexterous, effortlessly cool, elegantly nonchalant. And we appreciate that. So we’re honoring the best of the bunch. Next up: Harry Craddock.

Name: Harry Lawson Craddock DOB: 1875 Place of birth: Stroud, England Trade: Bartender Years active: 1897–1947 Locations of employ: Chicago, New York, London Notable employers: The Hoffman House (NYC), The Knickerbocker Hotel (NYC), The Holland House (NYC), The Savoy Hotel (London), The Dorchester Hotel (London) Cocktails invented: 250, give or take Books written: 1 Wax statues at Madame Tussauds: 1

After the jump: 10 highlights from the life of the man who served the last legal pre-Prohibition cocktail in America...»

Dusting Off: The Stylish Fallout Shelter

On October 6, 1961, President Kennedy directed American families to begin building bomb shelters to protect them from atomic fallout in the event of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union. We now know that digging a 10-foot hole in your backyard and stocking it with two weeks’ worth of Spam will not, in fact, save a family of four in the event of a nuclear holocaust.

But that’s no reason to ditch the concept altogether...»

Today Was a Good Day (for the Internet)

If you could just look away from the steady stream of Tumblr, Instagram and blog photos scrolling across your screen for a moment, we’d like to direct your attention to this poorly photoshopped album cover for a nerdy parody pop band. (Stick with us.) Twenty years ago to the day (July 18, 1992), the first picture ever was uploaded to the World Wide Web—by the guy who actually invented the Internet, Sir Tim Berners-Lee. And you’re looking at it. Thanks to the intrepid aesthetics crusaders at Design Taxi, who recently brought the photo to light along with its backstory (as you can imagine, it’s filled with happenstance). All right, now you can get back to uploading that rose-tinted cameraphone snap of your workwear-inspired crotch.

Cowabunga

Sporty Chassis: This year’s installment of ESPN’s Bodies We Want has been burning through the blogosphere, and the gents at Selectism have kindly distilled the slideshow down to the fairer half. [Selectism]

Underdog to the Rescue: The New Yorker sits down with resident scholar/author Malcolm Gladwell to talk about the unexpected advantages of the wily, battle-hardened underdogs of history—from Vietnam to Impressionism. [The New Yorker]

Blazers Can Be Creepy: Jenny Johnson decodes the happy hour crowd at the local watering hole in Anytown, USA. [GQ]

Lucky 13: In case you couldn’t manage staying awake for the duration of the MLB All-Star Game, here’s your 13-moment recap. [Grantland]

When Drug Paraphernalia Had Class

Allow us for a moment to set aside the horrors of drug addiction and bask in the illusory splendor of 19th-century opium pipes. We were first turned on to the nice side of heroin by Alessandro, Principe Ruspoli, Ninth Prince of Cerveteri, last summer while researching our series on the 12 original playboys of the jetset sixties. If you missed Dado the first time around, you’ll want to take a few minutes to watch his delightfully infectious endorsement of the practice.

Today, though, we’re only concerning ourselves with the pipes. As historian Stephen Martin explains, “In no other addictive substance did man’s quest for mood-enhancement reach such artistic heights.” The pipe pictured here is of the ceramic/red-copper variety, made in Southern China in the early 1800s. While it is technically a water pipe, it is decidedly not the bong you bought from your friend’s older brother in 10th grade. In fact, it’s technically not even an opium pipe.

Here’s why...»

The Watch That Got Lincoln Laid

At some point between 1839 and 1842, Abraham Lincoln bought a gold pocket watch and inscribed it with the words “To Miss Mary Todd – A Token of my Everlasting Devotion and Affection – Abe Lincoln.” Miraculously, it’s being auctioned off on Saturday at Morphy’s, amongst a spattering of occupational shaving mugs, vintage Chevrolets and British biscuit tins.

The watch itself is 18K gold, but who really gives a shit? Experts are predicting it will sell for between $30,000 and $60,000, which strikes us as a pretty good price for a solid gold love letter written by the guy who freed the slaves.

And since you already made the trip, why not two-birds/one-stone it and snag a couple British biscuit tins for Dad?

Another One Bites the Dust: RIP Prime Burger

Photo: Molly Woodward

And now, a personal message of discontent from bicoastal Kempt contributor C. Brian Smith.

First, a caveat: I’m hardly the first person to bemoan the fact that things today are different than they were in the past (Andy Rooney cornered the market on this way of thinking years ago). But I’m mad as hell, so I’m going to do it anyway. I’m sick of seeing so many iconic New York City bars and restaurants close—institutions with decades upon decades of history cast aside in order to make way for another bank branch or pharmacy. It’s been bothering me for a while.

But when the Prime Burger on 51st Street closed last week, it got personal.

We each mourn the closing of landmarks differently, since we each experience New York City differently. Some avoid the Bowery altogether for fear of mistakenly walking by CBGB and seeing carefully distressed suede pants in the window. For others, the kick in the gut was Chumley’s crumbling to the ground in 2007. (It will reopen this year. Sort of.) Then there was Elaine’s, and Totonno’s, and the Fulton Fish Market and Bill’s Gay Nineties—sadly, the RIP list goes on and on, each new entry stinging a little bit more than the one before. And with every closing I can’t help but feel we’ve let down the past, and for the very worst reasons. Like we’re forgetting a little more, each time, about what makes a place a place.

Here’s what made the Prime Burger a place for 74 years...»