Opinions abound when the J SHOES team gathers in Baltimore for a seasonal line review. One thing we can all agree on at the end of a long day discussing colours, sole construction and grades of leather etc, is that we are ready for some thirst quenching margaritas and scrumptious tacos at Bar Clavel. The Sinaloan style Taqueria and Mezcaleria is owned by Baltimore based Restauranteur and Poet, Lane Harlan. Lane also opened Baltimore’s first amaro bar, W.C. Harlan. Both have been praised in national publications including The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, New York Magazine, Thrillist, and Eater. In 2015, In 2015, Thrillist named W.C. Harlan in "25 Best Cocktail Bars in America." and Clavel as one of the “25 Best New Bars in America ".

Read below as we dish with Lane on food, travel and future endeavors.

Photos taken at Bar Clavel
Bar Clavel Baltimore Maryland

If you weren't in the restaurant business, what other career would you pursue or how would you spend the majority of your time?
If I weren't in the restaurant business I would be a full time poet.

How do you maintain a work / life balance?
I work late so I don't have to be in the office until the early afternoon most days. Mornings are often the only time I have to myself. I make really good coffee. I play my classical music records. I light all the candles. I sit.

How do you relax / recharge?
By traveling far and often. I also get regular massages and acupuncture to remind myself that I have a body.
 What was the most memorable trip you have taken recently?
Scandinavia. I have a real affection for the Danish. They don't use top lighting! Duh! It's not even a trend there it's just a way of life. High rise office buildings have pendant lighting and none of it is florescent. They also have a lot of natural wine bars and I am obsessed with natural wine. I also loved Stockholm in the snow. I slept on a boat with my husband. It couldn't have been more grey or beautiful.

What lies on the horizon? What future projects/events are you excited about?
On the horizon, I want to put more into the people I work with. I want better working conditions, more collective creation, more opportunities to educate them and to be educated by them! I am focused on people and it is they who really drive me to sharpen the aesthetic, the product, and the vibrancy of the businesses.

Lane Harlan
Bar Clavel in Baltimore Maryland

How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is based on my mood. Sometimes I'm wearing high waisted linen pants, an edwardian dickie, and an oversized blazer. This is my work attire- comfortable, nostalgic, and business. I gravitate towards loose flowing garments and I love tall hats. I wear mostly variations of white...even if everything ends up covered in salsa and wine. Eras I love- 1930's french work wear and 1980's minimalist chic.

  Lane Harlan

Most treasured item in your wardrobe? 
It changes all the time but right now it's a 1970's era artist's smock with serious billowy sleeves. It makes me feel like I'm Gustav Klimt. By the way, all my alter egos are tragically pompous and artistic men.

J SHOES Cruz Chelsea Boot
J SHOES Cruz Chelsea Boot

What are your 5 essential pieces of clothing for winter?

Very large scarf. In Baltimore it's often not cold enough for a coat and I'm always carrying lots of things and moving around a lot. Leather ankle boots. Oversized men's sweaters. House slippers! Long sleeve robe with pockets.

What items do you feel are worth splurging on?

ALWAYS coats for me. I have way too many of them but there is nothing like a stunning suit of armor to throw over anything ever. In the past couple years I've splurged on cashmere and baby alpaca wool. No regrets.

Lane Harlan

Where’s your favourite place in 1. Baltimore 2. The world?
My favorite place in Baltimore is Sherwood Gardens in the spring with a blanket, a New Yorker, and my husband laying near me. My favorite place in the world is either galloping on the back of a horse far away from cars and people or Basque country, specifically in the Pyrenees which I find more beautiful than the Alps. I love France and I love Spain- these mountains bring the best of both worlds together.
Do you have a travel bucket list?
I always have a travel list. I already have the year 2017 booked up but my big goals for the future are Vietnam and Japan. Vietnam is my number 1 travel lust but my parents lived in Japan in the 80's and have all these good memories- I want to retrace their steps someday.
J SHOES Cruz Leather Chelsea Boot

Where are you headed this summer/winter?
Next week I'm heading to the Hudson Valley to cater a friend's wedding, the following week I'm in St. Thomas, February I'm in Oaxaca with my staff at Clavel, March I'm in Martinique with my staff at W.C. Harlan, May I'm in Ireland for my best friend's wedding then taking off the the Scottish Highlands for some peace- the list goes on...

Bar Clavel in Baltimore Maryland


The past.

Scotch neat or a crisp cold pilsner OR a glass of wine that smells like garbage and tastes like cider...au natural.

Question, simplify, enlighten. This is my work motto.

A small journal in an antique shop in Bordeaux. The owner had the most impeccable cursive, wrote love poems, and drew scantily clad women like Lautrec.

Drop Dead Fred (he reminds me of when I was a hyper young lad).



This is VERY difficult because most of my best memories are food memories oof! Cassoulet in a can baked for my husband (then boyfriend) in my little french apartment in Saintes. It's now our Christmas tradition. Restaurant wise- Au Pied du Cochon (Montreal), Amass (Copenhagen), or Rosetta (Mexico City).

Joanna Brouk "Hearing Music".

Always opening the nice bottle of wine when it's just me alone on a weeknight and I know I won't drink it all...

Edwardian engagement ring from my husband. Old family photos, mostly of my parents who are still together and still in love and so lovely!

Check out Lane’s restaurants on Insta @wcharlan  + @bar_clavel