Outfitted & Equipped: Linking Up at The Barrelhouse Flat in Chicago

by A Manly Guest Contributor on April 3, 2013 · 9 Comments

in Dress & Grooming, Outfitted & Equipped, Style, Visual Guides

Barrelhouse Flat 2

Brought to you by Jameson Black Barrel.

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of three editions of Outfitted and Equipped where I’ve asked three of my favorite men’s lifestyle bloggers to curate an edition based on what they would wear and carry when linking up with friends at their favorite hometown hangout. This one is from Seth Putnam who resides in Chicago and blogs at TheMidwestyle.com.

The Barrelhouse Flat is a bustling corner den of Prohibition-era cocktail alchemy in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. It’s a perfect place to meet up with an out-of-town colleague, a first date, or a friend who enjoys the finer things. Though it’s relatively new, it brings a decidedly familiar feeling, with a bottom level where antique tile and big, farm-style tables invoke the atmosphere of a comfortable community watering hole. Upstairs offers a different story: an intimate speakeasy with plush furniture and hardwood accents. If this were the 1930s, you could envision an old Chicago mayor revising the city’s tax structure on the back of a napkin while sipping a Negroni.

How does Outfitted and Equipped work? The FAQ.

1. The Watch: Timex Weekender. I finally did the adult thing and bought a watch a couple of years ago, and now I glance at it for the time, not my phone. This one’s been serving me well, and the red second hand gives it a little extra personality.

2. The Shirt: Slim-Fit Plaid Edward Shirt. Blue is my color, but I need a little extra noise with some color. Sleeves rolled way up. It’s finally spring, after all. (Or at least I wish it felt like it.)

3. The Belt: No. 150 Claw Buckle Belt. This belt was inspired by a rifle strap and the fixtures on a horse’s bridle. Shooting and horseback riding—two pastimes rooted deep in my Missouri upbringing.

4. The Pants: Dockers Alpha Khaki in Riffle Green. The fit is perfect for my soccer-playing thighs and my skinny calves. In fact, I like these so much I’ve got two pairs; one in green and the other in their signature British Khaki. They look like trousers, but they wear like jeans. And they’re affordable, too.

5. The Money Clip: Slim Clip. I converted to the money clip when my college roommate generously gave me an extra that he got from a botched order. I know something you get off an infomercial doesn’t really fit with the “curated lifestyle,” but it’s been 5 years and the clip shows no signs of slowing down.

6. The Comb: The Comb from Buckshot Sonny’s. A couple of years ago I never thought I’d be one to carry a comb. But since embracing the side-part (the same one I used to loathe during childhood haircuts from Dad), it’s become essential. This one is sold by my good friend Max Wastler, and it gets its tagline from a Charlie Daniels song. Oh, and one comes free with every order.

7. The Drink: Jameson Whiskey. Having spent some time in Dublin, the taste is a nostalgic reminder of the Emerald Isle.

8. The Pen: Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen. As a journalist, I never really know when I’ll need to record an idea. That’s why I always have a pen. (Plus, I write most of my stories in longhand for the first draft.) Lately, I’ve been working with these disposable fountain pens, which don’t sting as much when you lose them.

9. The Pocket Notebook: Field Notes. Not that they need the exposure, but it really is the perfect size to slip in a blazer or a back pocket. And writing is so much more fun than thumbing a phone.

10: The Shoes: Grenson Sharp Boots. They’re expensive, but this level of quality and detail comes at a premium.


Seth Putnam is a magazine writer and editor who works regularly for Chicago magazine, and the Sun-Times, among many others. He’s the editor of TheMidwestyle.com, and the co-proprietor of the Overserved Society, a roving cocktail party. He lives in the Windy City, where he writes about living well—reporting on everything from Jay Leno’s garage to folks who dress up in medieval armor and go to war on the weekends.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shane W. April 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I have had the Timex Weekender watch for close to a year now and I love it! It has a simple design, nothing gaudy or flashy, is quite durable, has interchangeable wrist bands, keeps good time, and is very inexpensive! I would definitely recommend this watch to anyone that is looking for a good watch without spending too much.

2 Rooster C. April 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I have that same problem with pants and jeans. Appreciate the tip.

3 Steven G April 3, 2013 at 1:55 pm


I am an undergraduate student and currently looking to get some outfit ideas to expand my wardrobe beyond the ol’ jeans and trusty hoodie. When you decide to do another Outfitted & Equpped article, I would definitely appreciate a college edition.

Kind Regards,

Steven G.

4 Steven P April 3, 2013 at 5:05 pm

I was never one for light tone plaid colors. I always have dark tone plaids. Personally I would switch that out for a dark green plaid.

5 Dean Marano April 3, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Ha! This place is 5 minutes from my house and I’ve never heard of it. Looks like I’ll head on over, thanks for the tip!

6 Elliot April 5, 2013 at 9:13 am

The Barrelhouse Flat is located in the neighborhood of Lincoln Park – probably one of Chicago’s least “manly” neighborhoods. If we’re talking extensive drink selections, Longman & Eagle in Logan Square would have been much more appropriate.

7 Barrett April 5, 2013 at 11:24 am

Steven G,

Good choice in leaving the hoodie behind. Like everything from Hollister, American Eagle, Abercrombie, and Aeropstale, you’re too old to be wearing that sort of thing. A ceremonial burning of your entire collection would be appropriate.

As someone who was in undergrad just a couple years ago, I highly recommend a look that emphasises simplicity. You want to be able to wear these clothes for years to come and not look dated or like you’re trying too hard.

The sport shirt is going to be your best friend here. Since you’re not wearing a tie, you want a button down collar. You can pick up about a thousand of them for $100 when Joseph A. Bank has another sale. In general, solids and plaids are good, while stripes are bad.

Next, restock your pants collection with a couple pairs of chinos. Avoid super bright colors and instead go for green, navy, tan, khaki, etc. Target sells some great ones for cheap. Please just don’t roll the cuffs. It may be trendy now, but it’s a trend that looks ridiculous.

Summer is just around the corner though, so you’ll want to pick up a few pairs of cargo-pocket-less shorts that hit above your knees. Personally, I think polo shirts look good with shorts, but they’re best to avoid with pants.

For shoes, you’ll need a pair of standard Sperrys. Loafers and drivers are great, but you’re in college and probably won’t be THAT dressy.

If you rehang your clothes (or at least throw them over a chair), you can grab a shirt, throw on your pants, and slip into your Sperrys in 5 minutes or less. Assuming you don’t smell like a hobo, you’ll look way more sophisticated than your peers with minimal effort.

Your professors will probably treat you better too.

8 Pete April 8, 2013 at 4:02 pm

That CDB song is one of the first songs I ever learned to play on the guitar. It has a great intro riff that is easy to learn. Thanks!

9 Brad October 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

I’m not sure how large “soccer-playing thighs” are, but in my experience Dockers Alpha Khakis are not for those with legs larger than 25″.

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