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c. 1947

Birth of the Handlebar Club

The club's founding principle was to demonstrate that "men with moustaches are men of good character."

Long before herds of hirsute gentlemen were parading up and down the streets of Brooklyn displaying their self-created facial wares, there was the Handlebar Club.

Formed in a dressing room of London’s Windmill Theatre in 1947, the Handlebar Club’s founding principle was to demonstrate that “men with moustaches are men of good character.”

How to become a member? Simple. All you required, and still require, as a matter of fact, is — and I quote — “a hirsute appendage of the upper lip and with graspable extremities.” In other words, you need to have cultivated a massive moustache, one so big you can grab it.

And please — if you have a beard, turn back now.  No can do.

Over the decades, the Club has spread from its London beginnings into Scandinavia and across the Atlantic and into America. But should you wish to show off your growth at the original Club in London, it continues to meet, as it has for more than seventy years, on the first Friday of the month. 

The current venue, the Heron Bar in Norfolk Crescent, is filled with moustache memorabilia dating back to the Club’s inception, when these pictures were taken.

Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images
Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images
Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images
Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images
Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images
Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images
Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images
Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images
Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images
Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images
Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images
Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images

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