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A vivid, funny, and poignant memoir that celebrates the distinct lure of the camaraderie and community one finds drinking in bars.
Rosie Schaap has always loved bars: the wood and brass and jukeboxes, the knowing bartenders, and especially the sometimes surprising but always comforting company of regulars. Starting with her misspent youth in the bar car of a regional railroad, where at fifteen she told commuters fortunes in exchange for beer, and continuing today as she slings cocktails at a neighborhood joint in Brooklyn, Schaap has learned her way around both sides of a bar and come to realize how powerful the fellowship among regular patrons can be.
In Drinking with Men, Schaap shares her unending quest for the perfect local haunt, which takes her from a dive outside Los Angeles to a Dublin pub full of poets, and from small-town New England taverns to a character-filled bar in Manhattans TriBeCa. Drinking alongside artists and expats, ironworkers and soccer fanatics, she finds these places offer a safe haven, a respite, and a place to feel most like herself. In rich, colorful prose, Schaap brings to life these seedy, warm, and wonderful rooms. Drinking with Men is a love letter to the bars, pubs, and taverns that have been Schaaps refuge, and a celebration of the uniquely civilizing source of community that is bar culture at its best.
"Schaap, a writer who writes the 'Drink' column for the New York Times, sought out an early kinship with adult company and alcohol, a lifelong pursuit she fondly chronicles as she recounts the homes and families she's made in bars around the world. With an absentee father and a complicated relationship with her mother, she gets satisfaction from the interest other adults took in her, utilizing that dynamic when she briefly becomes a tarot card reader as a teen in the bar car of the Metro North commuter train, trading readings for beers. Feeling out of place at home and at school, she drops out at 16 to follow the Grateful Dead full-time, ending up on the West Coast. In college at 19, she goes to Dublin for a summer study abroad and it's there, at a cozy, smoky bar frequented by writers and storytellers, that Schaap feels the sense of belonging and community she's been thirsting for. Back in the U.S., she discovers bars near school in Vermont and later in New York that offer a 'safe haven, my breathing space... where I figured out how to be myself.' Feeling like a regular matters to her, providing her with an anchor and a code of kindness and decency to live by learned from how patrons and bartenders treats one other. Schaap estimates she's passed 13,000 hours in bars, and judging by the warmth and camaraderie she evokes, it clearly has been time well spent." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Rosie Schaap has been a bartender, a fortuneteller, a librarian at a paranormal society, an English teacher, an editor, a preacher, a community organizer, and a manager of homeless shelters. A contributor to This American Life and npr.org, she writes the "Drink" column for The New York Times Magazine. She was born in New York City and still lives there.