Drinking with Men : A Memoir
by Rosie Schaap

Overview -
"NPR" "Best Books of 2013"
"BookPage" Best Books of 2013
"Library Journal" Best Books of 2013: Memoir
"Flavorwire "10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2013
A vivid, funny, and poignant memoir that celebrates the distinct lure of the camaraderie and community one finds drinking in bars.

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More About Drinking with Men by Rosie Schaap

"NPR" "Best Books of 2013"
"BookPage" Best Books of 2013
"Library Journal" Best Books of 2013: Memoir
"Flavorwire "10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2013
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 Manhattan's 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 Schaap's refuge, and a celebration of the uniquely civilizing source of community that is bar culture at its best.

  • ISBN-13: 9781594487118
  • ISBN-10: 1594487111
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books
  • Publish Date: January 2013
  • Page Count: 288
  • Reading Level: Ages 18-UP

Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-10-22
  • Reviewer: Staff

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. (Jan.)

BookPage Reviews

A toast to friends near and far

Sidle up to the bar, order a shot of your favorite whiskey, trade friendly greetings and engage in some warm chatter, then listen transfixed as Rosie Schaap, a kind of Irish bard, regales you with tales of the bars in her life, the regulars with whom she has hoisted a few or closed down the place, the moments of love and affection she’s experienced, and the enduring freedom to be herself that “being a woman at home in a bar culture” brings.

In Drinking With Men, Schaap, a cracking good storyteller, takes us along on her journey as she comes of age, follows her heart, falls in and out of love and discovers who she’s meant to be. From sitting on the bar car (at 15 years old) on the Metro-North train, where she discovers her kind of people—commuters drinking enough to get a little buzzed, telling dirty jokes and smoking—through her years as a Deadhead in search of freedom, and into her college and grad school years, when she finds a local bar that serves as more of a community than her college and where the regulars become like family to her, Schaap gets “another kind of education altogether” in the bars she frequents.

Some expand her horizons: Puffy’s is “a protracted, whiskey-soaked lesson in art history and New York culture, a repository of downtown lore and legend.” Some offer a lesson she’d rather not learn: At Else’s in Montreal, she begins to understand that “self-reinvention has a cost, and it is high, and it is terrible.” Each bar teaches her something about the world she loves to inhabit: “There are loud bars where conversation is not a priority. . . . There are quiet bars, lit low and engineered for tête-à-têtes. And at the Man of Kent, which was neither of these things, but a place both brightly festive and undeniably civilized . . . I started to understand, with greater clarity than ever, how to behave in a bar.”

Schaap delivers an affectionate and loving tribute to the bars she has known—with names as varied as Grogan’s Castle Lounge, The Pig, Good World and The Liquor Store—as well as to the many fellow regulars with whom she has become lifelong friends over a pint or a shot.

BAM Customer Reviews