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Two and Two

McSorley's, My Dad, and Me

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

One of Thrillist's Best Books of 2017

A deeply stirring memoir of fathers, sons, and the oldest bar in New York City

Since it opened in 1854, McSorley's Old Ale House has been a New York institution. This is the landmark watering hole where Abraham Lincoln campaigned and Boss Tweed kicked back with the Tammany Hall machine. Where a pair of Houdini's handcuffs found their final resting place. And where soldiers left behind wishbones before departing for the First World War, never to return and collect them. Many of the bar's traditions remain intact, from the newspaper-covered walls to the plates of cheese and raw onions, the sawdust-strewn floors to the tall-tales told by its bartenders.

But in addition to the bar's rich history, McSorley's is home to a deeply personal story about two men: Rafe Bartholomew, the writer who grew up in the landmark pub, and his father, Geoffrey "Bart" Bartholomew, a career bartender who has been working the taps for forty-five years.

On weekends, Rafe Bartholomew would tag along for the early hours of his dad's shift, polishing brass doorknobs, watching over the bar cats, and handling other odd jobs until he grew old enough to join Bart behind the bar. McSorley's was a place of bizarre rituals, bawdy humor, and tasks as unique as the bar itself: protecting the decades-old dust that had gathered on treasured artifacts; shot-putting thirty-pound grease traps into high-walled Dumpsters; and trying to keep McSorley's open through the worst of Hurricane Sandy. But for Rafe, the bar means home. It's the place where he and his father have worked side by side, serving light and dark ale, always in pairs, the way it's always been done. Where they've celebrated victories, like the publication of his father's first book of poetry, and coped with misfortune, like the death of Rafe's mother. Where Rafe learned to be part of something bigger than himself and also how to be his own man.

By turns touching, crude, and wildly funny, Rafe's story reveals universal truths about family, loss, and the bursting history of one of New York's most beloved institutions.

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 13, 2017 – In this big-hearted memoir of a lifelong romance with New York City's oldest (continuously operating) saloon, editor and sports writer Bartholomew describes a McSorley's immersion that began with his bartender father's tales and ends with Bartholomew pulling taps there during Hurricane Sandy. Venerability and quirks have made McSorley's a legend: only house ale is served (two mugs per single order), women were banned until 1970, and staff irascibility is so celebrated that tourists feel insulted if they aren't insulted. McSorley's has been a watering hole for artists, politicians, and oddballs, a storehouse of oral tradition passed through generations of staff. Bartholomew chronicles this history and demonstrates how a crude, unforgiving, and extremely macho camaraderie sustained his family through suffering and loss. New Yorker legend Joseph Mitchell, a McSorley's regular for over 60 years, wrote about the bar and inspired Bartholomew (among many others). Caution seems to play a role in Bartholomew's approach, as he praises the owners and his coworkers with great indulgence. His description of his mother's harrowing death from cancer jarringly shifts the register and introduces pathos and intensity that infuse the following pages. Bartholomew never ignores the darkness inherent in public drunkenness and jobs without health care or pensions, so his portrayal of the rough humor and blue-collar warmth feels completely earned.
Two and Two
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: May 09, 2017
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Seller: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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