CELLAR & LOFT

There are few places I’d rather be on a windy, rainy, cold, overcast October afternoon: The first is on my couch next to the front window, drinking coffee whilst wasting time on the Internet. The second is in a warm brick cellar tasting whiskey with a good friend who’s as knowledgeable as the peat is smokey.

That cellar specifically being that of Cellar & Loft in the River Market district just north of downtown Kansas City (Missouri). Opened in 2010—well, it was originally opened in the Brookside neighborhood in 2004—and owned by former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Eddie Kennison, Cellar & Loft has been working on its identity and slowly becoming an up-and-coming hot spot for wine and whiskey.

My aforementioned friend, Dominic Petrucci, is the newly appointed store manager and has been at the helm of buying spirits. This guy knows his stuff. He’s also very generous with his knowledge and his pours. As I walk through the door on this particular day, Dominic greets me with a smile and a firm handshake and say: “Come on. I have something for you.”

We saunter into the actual cellar, complete with original-to-the-building wooden plank floors and brick walls. Dominic disappears into a locked back room. When he returns, he hands me a glass with about two fingers of something delicious, very delicious. This elixir is Masterson’s 10-Year-Old Straight Rye Whiskey (Batch #005, Bottle 20397). Crafted with 100% rye from the Pacific Northwest, this Sonoma, California, rye whiskey is hands-down the best I’ve ever tasted (smooth, with notes of vanilla and cinnamon). It’s not a surprise that Whiskey Advocate named Masterson’s 10 the #1 whiskey earlier this year.

Then Dominic hands me a glass of Aberlour A’bunadh single-malt scotch. I’m very green at tasting sipping whiskeys, but this one was simply beautiful. Here’s how the Aberlour website describes it:

“A’bunadh, Gaelic for ‘of the origin’, is matured exclusively in Oloroso ex-sherry butts. It is a natural cask-strength malt whisky produced without the use of modern-day chill filtering methods or the addition of water.”

I’m losing you, aren’t I? Anyway, all you need to know is that it’s a great whiskey. Thinking my tastings were over (as my only intention coming in that day was to say hello and to take photos for this post) he surprised me with one last pour: Laphroaig 10. What I’m trying to say here is that Dominic and the folks at Cellar stress hospitality to the utmost.

The atmosphere is warm and inviting, yet urban and cool. They have wooden lockers for members of their clubs (wine, whiskey, and/or beer) to store their personal caches of provisions whether it be liquor, beer, or cigars. They have giant plasma screens to watch your favorite game (ahem, 9-0 CHIEFS!). And they are currently in the process of finishing their upstairs pizza kitchen where they’ll make simple, traditional pizzas.

The bottom line is this: If you live in Kansas City, get thee to Cellar & Loft. If you’re visiting Kansas City, get thee to Cellar & Loft. And if you don’t have plans to visit Kansas City, you might want to reevaluate.

How To: Keep a good (and warm) head on your shoulders

Let me go ahead and cut right to the chase. It’s getting cold. You know it, I know it.

So, now the question: “What do I put on my head?” I’m going to give you a handful of options I think should encase the spectrum, whether you’re wearing a stocking cap for fashionz, or if you’re actually needing it because your head is cold. Oh, both you say? Good call. When it comes to throwing a new cap into the mix, there are basically a few groups: real affordable, the $100 range, or that luxe life.

First off, for the newly appointed genre of menswear…on that ramen budget. I’ve got you covered, #peasantmenswear types. (Thanks, Cam.) For this group, there are a good number of brands out there slingin’ hats (“like, whoa”) to keep you outfitted. MujiTopman, Carhartt, and American Apparel, just to begin—options on options on options. Here are a couple to highlight:
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Target: Merona did it again. A number of colors, and it’s hard to beat $4.99 #targetdoesitagain. It’s kind of like when those TY Beanie Babies were being considered “investments.” You kids of the 90′s remember that, right? Well, if you’re like Jeff and me, you’ll buy one of these Merona caps in at least 5 colors. I can’t say the return on your investment will be all that great, but compared to how it worked out for those Beanie Baby collectors, the odds are in our favor.

 

Zara has a slew of options (patterns, stripes, dots, you name it) under $20:
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For that next group not afraid to spring a little dough for something to cover your mug but also not trying to break the bank (cause beanies have a tendency to fall out of coat pockets when not on said head), you’ve got options: APC, Norse Projects, Journal Standard, Beams+, the list goes on. Here’s a few:

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Club Monaco : Kensington Cashmere (multiple colors, but this blue is the favorite), $79.50.
Italian cashmere with cuff detail, warmth, and comfort.
Pretty much everything one might need.

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Marc x Marc Jacobs, $120.
Merino wool that will provide warmth and comfort, and also let everyone know: “Hey, look at my awesome new hat!” (If you’re into that sort of thing, we won’t judge you.)

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And for those of you with the money tree in the backyard, or money just ain’t a thing (we’re not mad at ya), you’ve got some options: Moncler, Nigel Cabourn, or what’s that hat, Margiela? At a cool $295, this slouchy cashmere beanie does it all. Well, ok, so it really only sits slouches off your head. But hey, it will make you look cool, so there’s that.

 

Some final thoughts: All in all, I’m not big on the whole “beanie with a brim” thing. My mom always said if you ever have to second guess, “Just say no.” And I think that motto fits appropriately in relation to beans with brims.

 

As for the slouchy beanie, I think when done right it can be a good look. Keywords: “when” and “done” and “right.” I personally tend to go with something that has a little more form, but I think there are some good options out there if you want to get your slouch on. Urban Outfitters has you covered. Herehere, or here. Hey, what else says you’re channeling your inner Justin Bobby, Johnny Depp, or Becksy than a nice slouchy beanie?

 

What did I miss? Is there a brand or style of sharp looking, head covering awesomeness you find yourself loving/wearing the most?

WARBY PARKER: The Winter Collection

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Because Warby Parker makes some of our favorite glasses, we wanted to introduce the new Winter Collection, debuting today. We’ve long been fans of this transformational eyeglasses company, and they’ve gone and surprised us again with a tasteful offering for the chillier months, featuring brand-new colors as well as staples with updated cool-weather hues.

But enough from us. We liked this imagery:

“They make good companions for rooting around a bookcase, dashing through the snow, getting up to indoor mischief. The possibilities stretch on as shorter days give way to longer nights.”

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“Edgeworth” in Whiskey Tortoise, $95.

Cinder Block Brewery

Cinder Block Brewery

Remember that time when Boulevard was the only true stand-alone brewery in Kansas City? Sure, we have 75th Street, McCoy’s, Free State (Lawrence, KS), and 23rd Street (Lawrence, KS)—I’m not even going waste keystrokes speaking of Granite City and Gordon Biersch—but they are all brewpubs that focus on both beer and food. Furthermore, they’re always packed on weekends for brunch.

I’m talking about a place that only does beer—and does it well. I’m talking about a place where instead of smelling greasy friers you smell piney/citrusy hops, bubbling yeast, and milled malt and barley. Well, wait no longer my Midcoast beer-loving bretheren, Cinder Block Brewery is here!

Located at 110 E. 18th Ave., in the warehouse above-river district known as North Kansas City, the 15bbl CBB has become my newest favorite place to drink. The brewery opened on Friday, September 27, and they are already turning heads with their solid lineup.

Cinder Block Brewery

Weathered Wit: This one will be for all you lovers of Boulevard’s famed Unfiltered Wheat Beer.

Pavers Porter: Pleasantly smokey, but definitely not overwhelming.

Prime Extra Pale Ale: This one mostly resembled an English Bitter to me rather than an American Pale Ale; but I love English Bitters, and I really enjoyed it!

Northtown Native (California Common): Yes! Finally a brewery in Kansas City makes a California Common (steam beer)! For those of you that aren’t privy, the California Common was created by the American craft beer stalwarts Anchor Brewing, in San Francisco. The pour is big and heady; the taste is crisp and light, yet malty; and at 5.0% it’s one-tenth of a percent stronger than it’s San Fran relative.

Block India Pale Ale: It’s always great to see a brewery that has a 7.2% IPA on their tap list year round. It’s bitter and hoppy, and it’s what you want to cut through the sorrow of watching your favorite team lose (I’m looking at you Chicago). Coincidentally, it’s also pairs well with your (I should say my) new favorite team (8-0… HOLLER, KANSAS CITY!)

What’s more, they began their barrel-aging program prior to opening their doors to the public, and I was informed by owner/brewer Bryce Schaffter that we should be expecting a Barleywine and a Russian Imperial Stout within the next couple of months.

Cinder Block Brewery

Now to my favorite part: Once a week, Bryce will allow home-brewers to come in a brew on his old home-brew system—wait for it—FOR FREE! And get this: If you’re confident with your beer’s turn out, he’ll even allow you to put in on tap so other patrons can sample and critique it. How effing cool is that?! Finally, catering even more to the home-brew society, he’ll have an entire library of beer and brewing books at the disposal of anyone who cares to read them. So not only do we have a brand-spanking-new brewery that makes solid beers, but we also have an incubator for home-brew/craft-beer enthusiasts.

I’ll be bragging about these guys for a long time, folks!

Find Chris (@thehydeparker) on Instagram or Twitter.

Cinder Block Brewery

(Photos by Chris Ciesiel, with a surprise cameo by two of our college roommates. Hi, Zack! Hi, Zach!)

Every Day Carry: Coach Field Bag

 October marks one year since I encountered Coach leather goods firsthand. Since then, the Legacy Field Bag has become the carrier I reach for nearly every day. Each dent and ding it picks up seems to add a little character, and in spite of a few scuffs it’s held up remarkably well. If that’s a preview of the quality, I’m should be in for a couple of good decades. (Side note: My one complaint with the bag is that both of the iconic Coach turnlock fasteners have popped off at one point or another. The folks at Coach quickly replaced the first one [+1 for customer service], but I have yet to call about the second. Hardware aside, the leather is top class.)

Let’s have a look under the hood and see what’s inside. Spoiler alert: There are a lot of nerdy magazine writer/editor things in here.

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Top to bottom, left to right. First row:

Second row:

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