As the new year begins, let’s take a look back at some of the best retail projects of 2013. There were several great brick & mortars (and one bus) that launched in 2013…hopefully a sign of more great shops to come in 2014.
Todd Snyder X Champion: City Gym
Harry’s: The Corner Shop
Shinola: Detroit Store
Warby Parker: Class Trip
Monocle Café: London
Hospitality branding is my favorite thing. I once read that “Good design tells a story. It doesn’t have to have a beginning, middle and end, but some kind of narrative must exist. Some sense of time and place – context is everything. The best restaurants exemplify this, portraying the vision of their creators in each light fixture, each piece of flatware, each choice of seating.”
Deep, but very true. I would add branding and marketing collateral to the mix as well. It all must work together. Art of the Menu is a site by the folks at Under Consideration dedicated to showcasing the best in restaurant branding and identity design.
Freehand, a new hostel brand, has opened its first location in Miami at the former Indian Creek Hotel. The concept is a partnership between the Sydel Group, the developer behind the Ace New York & Palm Springs properties and Yucaipa Companies. Created for a new generation of urban travelers, Freehand will incorporate innovative design, a local food and beverage experience, and a comfortable community atmosphere, all offered at an affordable price.
The interior design was done by Roman & Williams, who have done killer work for the Ace among other.
Sydel and Yucaipa have plans to open at least ten more locations within the next few years.
Flipping through the new issue of Monocle I came across an article about the newly opened Oyster Inn on Waiheke Island in New Zealand. Similar to Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk, the owners put thought into every element. I love places like this.
Inspired by the old world utilitarian ideal of making something that is “built to last,” Izola and Aesthetic Movement have curated a collection of whimsical objects with a masculine sense of antiquity.
Made with great care and attention to detail, this series of functional every day staples is designed to be the perfect gifts for men. The products include flasks, soaps, candles, laundry bags, bamboo toothbrushes, handkerchiefs, shoe brushes, shower rings, ceramics and shower curtains.
Started in 2009 by brother and sister Tyler and Kari Morris, Morris Kitchen is a hand crafted syrup company based in Brooklyn, NY. Their signature and original product, Ginger Syrup, makes a damn fine Dark & Stormy. The brand has since extended into a range of syrup offerings perfect for cooking and cocktails such as Lemon, Apple Cider and Rhubarb.
They hit the mark on every aspect…I see them expanding into other categories very soon.
See additional recipes here.
Dark & Stormy Cocktail
- 2 oz dark rum
- ½ oz Morris Kitchen Ginger Syrup
- 1 oz lime
- 3 oz seltzer water
- Pour seltzer, syrup and lime over ice
- Stir and let drink settle
- Slowly add rum on top
- Serve over ice in a highball glass
- Garnish with a lime wheel
The Mason Jar is having a moment.
Developed in 1858 by Landis Mason as a food preservation device, The original Mason Jar was a marvel of home economics. It allowed people to easily preserve food and see what they stored thanks to the transparent manganese-bleached glass, which wasn’t common at the time.
Today, the Mason Jar is still being used for food storage, but they’re also being re-purposed in every way possible from a cocktail glass to a picture frame. Not only do they look cool, but they sell for about $2 a pop.
I hit Boston this weekend with some friends. Prior to this trip, the majority of my time in the Boston area had been spent in Cambridge (with the occasional trip to Newbury Street). Cambridge is a great town on it’s own, but it was nice to dig deep into Boston and really get a taste of the city.
If you’re looking for good Seafood in Boston (and why wouldn’t you be?), look no further than Neptune Oyster. Located in Boston’s North End, this quaint spot hits the mark on every detail. The lobster roll came highly recommended (for good reason). I went hot with butter.
Bobby’s from Boston is probably the best vintage store I’ve ever been to. Amazing men’s clothing and accessories from all eras…and at can’t miss prices. I need to plan another trip and dedicate it entirely to this store.
Craft cocktail bars continue to be the hot trend in drinking culture. Drink is Boston’s best offering. No menu, just tell the bartender what you’re looking for and they’ll craft something specific to your wants and desires. It was a hot day, but I whisky…they worked based off those two points and served me what was probably the best cocktail I’ve ever had.
The bar snacks are pretty killer too.
Ball & Buck is a new shop on high-end Newbury St. It’s a refreshing and relevant break from the designer and chain stores prominent of the block. Stacked high with Bill’s Khakis, Gitman shirting and other brands of that ilk, Ball & Buck only stocks brands that are made in America.
They also operate a one chair barber shop in the back.
“Since the time it was introduced in the seventeenth century, the modern suit has been about two things: power and sex. If you doubt us, try this simple experiment. Some evening, go to a nice hotel bar where you don’t know anyone, wearing jeans and a t-shirt. The jeans don’t even have to have holes in them, and the t-shirt can be clean. Now, return to the same bar the next evening wearing a nice suit. Take note of the difference in reaction from the bartender and of the other patrons in the bar. Remember them.” - Esquire Style Handbook
“It’s good to not have plans”- Valentino (my barber)
In many cases, it’s very easy and inexpensive to make an aesthetic upgrade. In addition to serving as great water bottles for the dinner table, these air tight bottles look much better on your bar for storing mixers like soda, tonic and juice. Pick them up on the cheap at Crate & Barrel.