One on One: Jerry Hartley and Mary Clayton Carl

Style, food, and where Birmingham is headed factored in to this month’s One on One conversation between stylist and entrepreneur Mary Clayton Carl and restaurateur and bar owner Jerry Hartley, whose J. Clyde has earned accolades as one of the top beer bars in America.

One on One

Photos by Beau Gustafson

Carl has wanderlust and a big appetite. After graduating from the New College at the University of Alabama, she gained her intro to eating well, entertaining, and the fashion world while interning at Harper’s Bazaar magazine in Paris. She assisted with photo shoots and acted as a liason for the magazine and Parisian fashion houses. Once back in the States, she worked as a prop and photo stylist for a commercial photographer in Washington, D.C.

A few years later, she had the opportunity to work on a start-up magazine in New Orleans, where she continued her love affair with food and culture. She went on to be Sandra Lee’s full-time photo stylist for her magazine.

Now freelancing,  the Alabama-born stylist has collaborated with extraordinary editors, photographers, food stylists, chefs, and other clients and colleagues. In June of 2014, she opened Prop Shop South, a prop house and photo studio. It is a full-service studio equipped a kitchen, surfaces, props, and linens, as well as grip and computer rental. She is planning to expand to a larger studio in the future with even more amenities.

In addition to her styling and prop rental, she and her fiancé, Paul Jones, opened Pepper Place Pop Up—a pop-up shop featuring Southern makers, craftsmen, and designers. Every first Thursday of the month, they keep their doors open late to host a band and introduce new designers. The shop is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hartley was born just west of Atlanta and raised in Birmingham, his character shaped with an appreciation of what it is to be Southern. His high school fascination, America’s Colonial period, led him to enroll at the University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson.

Like many college students, he learned about beer—cheap beer, but beer nonetheless. After college he was hired by a Charlottesville company, where he worked for a Scottish boss. He attributes his love of beer to his tutelage. “Traveling across the country in the mid-’90s, I tried the new offerings from many of America’s burgeoning craft breweries and brewpubs,” he says. “Trips to Europe afforded me the opportunity to try the ‘forefathers’ of American beers. More importantly, I was able to see and experience ‘beer culture’ at its most excellent. I found Trappist monasteries where modern day monks still practice the art of brewing.”

Hartley moved to Germany and immediately had access to most, if not all. of the world’s best beer styles: Belgian Dubbels and Tripels, German Doppelbocks and Schwartzbiers, Czech Pilsners, Irish Stouts, Scottish Ales, and English IPAs and Barleywines.

He moved back to Birmingham in 2005 and quickly realized that this town needed a restaurant that had both good food and great beers. The J. Clyde was born on Cobb Lane on the city’s Southside. “It’s a place I wanted in Birmingham. If I didn’t own it, it would still be a frequent pit stop for me,” Hartley says.


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