Where did Dylan Thomas drink during the last day of his life?
What bar has seen the likes of Willa Cather, Allen Ginsberg, Dylan Thomas, and Jack Kerouac all within its walls (though not at the same time)?
Where can you get a “Serpent’s Nectar?”
New York City has always been a hub in the artistic world. Writers, artists, dancers, and actors congregate to “the city that never sleeps” as one of the cultural centers of the world. What Storied Bars of New York: Where Literary Luminaries Go to Drink by Delia Cabe has gifted us with is part historical / part tour guide where readers and writers can immerse themselves in the places where words went to grow, both inside the book and inside the bars.
Walking around Book Expo early this month, this treasure caught my eye professionally. Even though the book was displayed prominently, I’m not exactly sure why it caught me as a possible review. At first I did not want to take the book because I was not sure I would do it justice as our site leans more towards geeky pop culture. However, I decided to review it because…
1. I am NYC based.
2. I am also a writer.
3. I like bars.
4. The book is super interesting.
Besides being chock full of rich details about bars, both open and long since closed, the pages reveal the habits and quirks of some of the most acclaimed writers of all time. As a bonus gift, the book includes the signature drink recipe(s) from these pubs, such as the “Chaplin” from Chumley’s on Bedford St, a scotch-based libation.
I have a new tour to propose based on my reading, although I am sure it is already in the works. The literary bar tour would take you throughout Manhattan with a few stops in Brooklyn (and one in Queens), ending wherever you had your 18th whiskey (or 6th – read… you’ll get it). Some of these bars I have already been to, not recognizing their rich literary history, like The Algonquin/Blue Bar, Kettle of Fish, and McSorley’s. There are so many in here that I haven’t yet seen, and the descriptions pull at me.
This book is so highly recommended, that I am going to purchase another copy as my lending book for 2 people I already know are going to want to read it. And I cannot be the only avid reader that buys 2 copies of favorite books so I can lend with an untroubled heart, can I?
Explore the fabled past and vibrant present of New York’s literary bar scene.
Want to know what it’s like to pull up a stool with the likes of Hemingway, Updike, or Capote? Curious how Jay McInerney takes his martini, or where to find Colson Whitehead’s favorite neighborhood bar? For well-read drinkers and boozy bookworms everywhere comes Storied Bars of New York, a photographic and historical celebration of the best literary pubs, cocktail bars, and taverns of New York City. Every chapter profiles an influential bar and comes complete with photographs, a laundry list of the writerly clientele, a recipe for the establishment’s signature cocktail (as well as which authors were likely to order it), and a snapshot of its place in New York culture at the time of its eminence, as demonstrated by quotes from authors and excerpts from magazine reviews.
In a city where there is almost too much to explore, this guide will make finding your favorite erudite-cool drinking spot that much easier.