So outside of being a huge fan of “Cheers,” I’ve never been much of a bar guy.
Didn’t really like them too much when I was in college; much preferred fraternity parties or just drinking at someone’s house or apartment.
I go to a bar every Sunday during football season, but that’s only because that’s where the games are. If NFL Sunday Ticket games were suddenly being shown at museums, that’s where I’d go (Though I’d probably need some greasy food, not some healthy crap they serve in museum cafeterias).
But a strange thing happened as I read J.R. Moehringer’s fantastic book, The Tender Bar: I wished I had a drink while I was reading it. Then I wished I had loved anyplace, ever, as much as the author loved Publicans, the Manhasset, N.Y. pub he spent much of his life in.
Moehringer, who now works for Los Angeles Times, is a tremendously gifted writer; for a sample of his work check out this award-winning story called “The Champ,” which tells the story of a down-and-out former great boxer (It’s long, but well worth it). I remember that I wanted to read The Tender Bar when it first came out, but never got around to it. Then, after finding out that Moehringer co-wrote Andre Agassi’s brilliant autobiography, I knew I had to read his memoir of growing up fatherless on Long Island.
The book is beautiful. It’s lyrical, it’s heartwarming, it’s funny and it’s wise. It’s one of those books that stays with you for a while; I have a feeling I won’t be forgetting Cager or Uncle Charlie or Bob the Cop, just a few of the many memorable characters in the bar, for quite a while.
Here’s just a taste, a throwaway insight, from The Tender Bar:
“I was well aware of the upcoming middleweight title fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler … Every bar has some affinity for boxing, because drinkers and boxers sit on stools and feel woozy, and measure time in rounds.”
Great, right? I can’t recommend this book enough. Check it on Amazon or the library or whereever. Just read it, and you’ll wish you were there.
And just because I can’t talk about “Cheers” without having a laugh:
*** One of the many great things about live television: You never have any idea what’s going to happen next. One minute, you’re watching a professional poker tournament in Berlin, Germany. The next? Six armed guys bust in and steal the jackpot, and whatever else they wanted.
Shouldn’t there be, you know, a pretty high level of security at these things? I’m thinking maybe with millions of dollars lying around, you might want to watch the door or something. Check out this footage: