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Drinking with Men: A Memoir

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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 railr 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.


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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 railr 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.

30 review for Drinking with Men: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    mark

    Rosie Schaap has written a very honest, insightful, accurate, readable, and interesting memoir – and she’s just in her early forties. Three cheers and five stars, and boy does it make me yearn for the “good old days,” when I was young. Ms. Schaap opens with the statement that she has probably spent 13,000 hours in bars. Well, my number is 50,000. See, I used to tend bar, in my 20s, 30s, and 40s; and I can say with certainty that she tells it as it was, and probably still is, but to a lesser degr Rosie Schaap has written a very honest, insightful, accurate, readable, and interesting memoir – and she’s just in her early forties. Three cheers and five stars, and boy does it make me yearn for the “good old days,” when I was young. Ms. Schaap opens with the statement that she has probably spent 13,000 hours in bars. Well, my number is 50,000. See, I used to tend bar, in my 20s, 30s, and 40s; and I can say with certainty that she tells it as it was, and probably still is, but to a lesser degree; as it seems coffee shops and tea houses have replaced the “neighborhood bar” as informal community gathering places; and also people, in general, seem less inclined to talk with each other face-to-face with loosened minds and tongues, with friends, co-workers, and neighbors —preferring to chat or text or blog online on their electronic devices (laptops, tablets, & smartphones) with anonymity (often), leveled out by prescribed pharmaceutical drugs— with strangers— in safety without risk of being exposed or caught for who they truly are. Which is, of course, ironic because one of the “rules” Rosie accurately writes about is that it was protocol, in the bar, for conversation to remain “superficial.” But the difference is that most real (meaning unscripted and unmeasured without an agenda) communication is non-verbal. Ninety-three percent of communication is tonal and gesture, as well as unseen vibration. It’s true. And that is disappearing with the rise of electronic communication, concurrent with the decline in social drinking, and the neighborhood bar. I find that sad. Many reviewers of this book declare that they think Rosie is an alcoholic. She doesn’t, as she described it, meet my definition. Yes, on occasion she would drink to excess and make herself sick; but she’d never drive, become delusional, hostile, aggressive, or threatening, or miss work or other obligations. If she’s an alcoholic, she’s a functional one so … So what. She’s wrote a heck-of-a book, and seems to have found a place where she’s happy and comfortable. Cheers. One last mention. Rosie Schaap is the daughter of Dick Schaap, a famous sports reporter and writer, back-in-the-day. He was hard working, tenacious, and very good at what he did, but not hard-drinking as the stereotype would suggest. He was also, as the stereotype does suggest, not much involved with “parenting.” He was always working, and Rosie’s mother and father divorced when Rosie was a young child. Rosie was sent to a “shrink” regularly. Why she doesn’t reveal. So Rosie knows things a lot of kids don’t, and one thing she knows is about the Freudian defense mechanism sublimation – the distraction from sexual desire by altruistic behavior, often creative. As a young student, she suspects this being behind the poet Yeats’ work; and looks at sublimation introspectively. She “loved” hanging out with older, smart, creative men, drinking in bars with them, without a sexual component – she was “one of the guys.” This is a very, very, very good memoir.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    I can't say it wasn't what I expected, but it was not what I wanted to read. I like bars, and I like to drink. But none of these recent memoirs about bar culture have satisfied me. (I'm thinking of The Tender Bar and that one by the lesbian New Yorker who buys a bar on the Hudson ....?). Schaap's Introduction successfully got me in the "bar-room door," if you will. But the book didn't deliver on the promise of a thoughtful meditation on bar culture and what it feels like to be a woman who freque I can't say it wasn't what I expected, but it was not what I wanted to read. I like bars, and I like to drink. But none of these recent memoirs about bar culture have satisfied me. (I'm thinking of The Tender Bar and that one by the lesbian New Yorker who buys a bar on the Hudson ....?). Schaap's Introduction successfully got me in the "bar-room door," if you will. But the book didn't deliver on the promise of a thoughtful meditation on bar culture and what it feels like to be a woman who frequents bars. Schaap really likes to drink. Halfway through the book she almost writes some interesting ideas about alcoholism (when she covertly reads a friend's diary entry about her drinking habits). But then she veers away to conclude the chapter with an entirely different subject. (I flipped back a few pages to figure out how I'd missed the transition. I hadn't. It wasn't written.) Opportunity lost. I don't care about a tangent on watching sports, or being a Deadhead, or this woman's dysfunctional relationships. She's got an active G-spot (God-spot) - loving drugs, alcohol, fan sports, religion - but that is not necessarily interesting. It's boring. I don't care about her. I could have cared, if it had been artfully written. Lastly, Schaap values the boozy conversations and cameraderie she finds in her regular bar (she has "serial monogamist" relationships with her current bar). She admits that she seeks "convivial shallowness" ("The bar was not where one went to get deep ..."). But she makes it sounds like everything else in her life is always falling apart (her career, her marriage, her friendships) - so she spends all of her non-working time in her bars (or so it sounds). Thus this shallow bar-world is her universe. Which makes her more shallow.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richard Sutton

    As a man, and a writer and someone who enjoys a drink I'm happy to add this little book to my library of books on bars. Seriously. Here Rosie Schaap's memoir will sit alongside Pete Hamill's A Drinking Life, J.R. Moehring's Tender Bar, and Malachy McCourt's several titles. As a look at the intricacies of the bar culture, Drinking With Men displays a joyful abandon and a new point of view. It arrives at a few important conclusions regarding the unwritten rules of bar conduct that guarantee safe p As a man, and a writer and someone who enjoys a drink I'm happy to add this little book to my library of books on bars. Seriously. Here Rosie Schaap's memoir will sit alongside Pete Hamill's A Drinking Life, J.R. Moehring's Tender Bar, and Malachy McCourt's several titles. As a look at the intricacies of the bar culture, Drinking With Men displays a joyful abandon and a new point of view. It arrives at a few important conclusions regarding the unwritten rules of bar conduct that guarantee safe passage. But there's more here than that alone. Ms. Schaap has considerable skills as a storyteller and overall, the book lurches, leaps, struggles and dances along on her search for a sense of belonging, for home in all it's senses. But one. Permanence. If, as she points out in a pivotal chapter, self-reinvention has its price, then indeed this is the price she acknowledges with little avoidance. Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider can certainly relate to envying those who can move as she does, effortlessly through different social milieu, even if the label of outsider was self applied. There is a great deal to consider in these pages about one's self-worth and self-knowledge. Especially a sense of one's connection with the world around them and the constant need for varying depths of communication. Give and take. In the end, for me, it was very clear that Ms. Schaap has certainly found a substantial home, if not in her choice of drinking haunts, then in the community of writers. I look forward to her next work, especially her fiction, which I hope will not be long in coming.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shaina

    *Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the Goodreads First Reads Program.* This book is advertised as a memoir. I was rather disappointed. Schaap essentially fills nearly 300 pages of a book with ramblings of her drinking escapades. I was expecting to hear great stories of friendships and what not. This book reads more like someone's diary than a memoir. She takes us through her LSD dropping Dead Head days through her current state of what I feel is alcoholism. The quality of writing leaves muc *Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the Goodreads First Reads Program.* This book is advertised as a memoir. I was rather disappointed. Schaap essentially fills nearly 300 pages of a book with ramblings of her drinking escapades. I was expecting to hear great stories of friendships and what not. This book reads more like someone's diary than a memoir. She takes us through her LSD dropping Dead Head days through her current state of what I feel is alcoholism. The quality of writing leaves much to be desired. I read it cover to cover hoping that it would get better. It didn't. It's page after tireless page of where she drinks and what she drinks. Schaap fails to develop any semblance of a storyline. If I knew that this was going to be a book rambling on about someone's drunk escapades with absolutely zero character development outside of the narrator, I most certainly would've passed. Schaap is unapologetically long winded. She goes to a bar. She drinks. She might have a one night stand. A bar closes. She finds a new bar to repeat the same behaviors. The end. I hardly think that justifies writing an entire book. I was stunned when she revealed that she was briefly in an English literature PhD program. She does not write like an individual that has a strong background in English education.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kwoomac

    I quite enjoy drinking in bars and have been a regular at my fair share. But I can't help feeling sorry for Rosie Schaap. A line from U2 keeps playing in my head, " I still haven't found what I'm looking for." She just seems like such a lost soul to me. Constantly searching for a place to feel accepted. Moving on to the next bar when the specialness wears off. I can't believe how much the author exposes of herself while never really examining her motives. I believe we will be hearing more from t I quite enjoy drinking in bars and have been a regular at my fair share. But I can't help feeling sorry for Rosie Schaap. A line from U2 keeps playing in my head, " I still haven't found what I'm looking for." She just seems like such a lost soul to me. Constantly searching for a place to feel accepted. Moving on to the next bar when the specialness wears off. I can't believe how much the author exposes of herself while never really examining her motives. I believe we will be hearing more from this author -when she writes about being an alcoholic (hopefully in recovery), wondering how she missed the signs, why no one encouraged her to get help. Here, Schaap is dismissive of one friend's assertion that she has a serious drinking problem. Yet, she later admits to drinking all night and going to work drunk. She just shrugs it off, saying she knows others who've done the same. She even goes on to say that the class she taught that day went particularly well. I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book, the title is pretty clear. Maybe a fun little sociological study of bars, who sits where, who makes a good bartender, I don't know. I did not expect this cry for help. Rosie admits to spending 4-5 nights a week in her bar du jour. Plus Sunday afternoons, something she sees as a given. There are more troubling facts but reliving her life here just makes me sad. Careful, Rosie.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Smutty McBookwhore

    This book is my world. I have never read something that has touched my soul so much. From the first page to the last page Rosie expresses every feeling I have ever had about bartending and drinking at bars and the relationships that comes from these experiences. I laughed, I cried, I reminisced. Such a beautiful life. Thank you so much for sharing it with me so that I know I am not alone, and that even if it is just you that feels the same way that I do about having a second home in a bar, than This book is my world. I have never read something that has touched my soul so much. From the first page to the last page Rosie expresses every feeling I have ever had about bartending and drinking at bars and the relationships that comes from these experiences. I laughed, I cried, I reminisced. Such a beautiful life. Thank you so much for sharing it with me so that I know I am not alone, and that even if it is just you that feels the same way that I do about having a second home in a bar, than at least that is one other woman that gets me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paul Pessolano

    “Drinking with Men” by Rosie Schaap, published by Riverhead Books. Category – Memoir When I read the promos for this book I was excited about getting a copy and reading it. It looked like a book that was not only interesting but unusual. It is the memoir of Rosie Schaap who took a liking, no a loving, for bars. Bars are usually the haunts of men and few if any women can be found there. Rosie becomes infatuated with the people she finds in bars. She becomes friends with artists, soccer fans, teache “Drinking with Men” by Rosie Schaap, published by Riverhead Books. Category – Memoir When I read the promos for this book I was excited about getting a copy and reading it. It looked like a book that was not only interesting but unusual. It is the memoir of Rosie Schaap who took a liking, no a loving, for bars. Bars are usually the haunts of men and few if any women can be found there. Rosie becomes infatuated with the people she finds in bars. She becomes friends with artists, soccer fans, teachers and many others in various stages of their lives and incomes. She takes us through her journey through several of her more interesting bars. These journeys include drinking too much, conversations that range from one end of the spectrum to the other. The discovering of the perfect bar, but only to see it close after several years of operation, and then looking for the next perfect bar. I found the book lacking in substance. Rosie mentions many of the people she meets by name but fails to tell their story, except for Ed. I was looking for a story of the corner bar, the neighborhood bar, and its place in folklore, a story of the people that frequented the bar and how the bar played an important part in their lives. Although this is a memoir, I found Rosie’s portrayal of her college life to be of little substance, and quite frankly boring to the point that I had to read it several times because I kept losing focus. A book that was a good idea that does not fulfill its promise.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sadie

    Ok- here is the thing. If you write a memoir, you should at least have enough insight to show that you are growing and learning. Your story should enlighten (at best), resonate, or entertain (at the very least) your reader. Sadly Schaap's memoir did none of the above. I got exactly two laughs out of this book- one about a hard turd paddy and the other about 12 southern Baptist ministers. Interestingly, my book club did have a rich conversation about this book, so I guess that is something- on se Ok- here is the thing. If you write a memoir, you should at least have enough insight to show that you are growing and learning. Your story should enlighten (at best), resonate, or entertain (at the very least) your reader. Sadly Schaap's memoir did none of the above. I got exactly two laughs out of this book- one about a hard turd paddy and the other about 12 southern Baptist ministers. Interestingly, my book club did have a rich conversation about this book, so I guess that is something- on second thought, maybe it was the margaritas and not the book that got the conversation rolling.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Squirrel Circus

    Drinking with Men is a collection of Schaap's recollections of her favorite drinking holes, beginning as a teenager in New York City and ending, um, in New York, with a notable absence of personal growth in between. Harsh? Maybe. Maybe I'm being especially hard on Schaap because I "get" everything she says about the amazing feeling of fitting in somewhere, somewhere, to quote Cheers, "where everybody knows your name". I've been a girl who loves bars, who enjoyed heated discussions and heart to h Drinking with Men is a collection of Schaap's recollections of her favorite drinking holes, beginning as a teenager in New York City and ending, um, in New York, with a notable absence of personal growth in between. Harsh? Maybe. Maybe I'm being especially hard on Schaap because I "get" everything she says about the amazing feeling of fitting in somewhere, somewhere, to quote Cheers, "where everybody knows your name". I've been a girl who loves bars, who enjoyed heated discussions and heart to heart soul dumping over a nice Scotch or pint of ale. I've been "one of the guys" with a lot of the same upsides and downsides that Schaap describes. I learned a lot about people and even more about myself. I made some lifelong friends, some mistakes and missteps, and I MOVED on. I guess that's what I hoped Schaap would do.....and she doesn't. She moves on, to another.....and another....and another bar..where, each time, she builds a new substitute family (a deep need, obviously..she doesn't have much to say about her actual family) spends every night there for months, and then picks up and starts somewhere new. Throughout the whole memoir, she holds down an interesting array of jobs and even marries, but nothing sticks. The individual bars start to sound the same, and I wish she had spent more time showing what sets each, and the characters within, apart. At the end of Drinking with Men, Schaap is bartending, parttime, and starts to make some interesting observations from the other side of the rail...for about two paragraphs, and she's done. YET, when you read her bio on the back, you find out she has plenty going for herself, professionally, as a writer, but nothing really makes it into her memoir that doesn't happen inside the four walls of a bar. Too bad. I think she has more to say....

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    I have a soft spot for bar culture and bar characters, but "Drinking with Men" was frankly a chore to finish. Rosie Schaap is a contributor to "This American Life" and her memoir reads like a 269-page segment of the show: earnest, eccentric-in-a-NPR-sort-of-way, episodic in nature. She gives us a collection of neat little bow-tied anecdotes; the writing is... efficient, tangential at times, and almost never particularly evocative. Schaap includes what may be the most boring story published in th I have a soft spot for bar culture and bar characters, but "Drinking with Men" was frankly a chore to finish. Rosie Schaap is a contributor to "This American Life" and her memoir reads like a 269-page segment of the show: earnest, eccentric-in-a-NPR-sort-of-way, episodic in nature. She gives us a collection of neat little bow-tied anecdotes; the writing is... efficient, tangential at times, and almost never particularly evocative. Schaap includes what may be the most boring story published in the 21st century to date (she was at this one bar, right? and these totally scary bikers are staring her down! and then one comes over and wants to buy her hat, but she doesn't want to sell her hat, except then he REALLY wants to buy the hat, and that's kind of weird and intimidating, but then finally she gives him the hat because she sees it really means something to him, and he buys her drink and OH, HUMANITY, HOW SPLENDID). The depth of reflection seldom goes beyond "As graduation approached, terror crept in. What on earth would I do with the rest of my life?" and "Bruce Springsteen is right: there IS magic in the night" (actual quotes).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I love a memoir, and I love a cozy bar. But I was a little bit anxious about reading Rosie Schaap's new memoir, Drinking With Men, because I was afraid it would be a gritty memoir of alcoholism and ugly bar encounters. Nope. Not even close. Drinking With Men may be about bars, but it is engaging, gentle, and strangely wholesome. It's a happy-family memoir, only in this case, the family is the cheerfully raffish crew of bar regulars with whom Schaap has made common cause over the years. Schaap dev I love a memoir, and I love a cozy bar. But I was a little bit anxious about reading Rosie Schaap's new memoir, Drinking With Men, because I was afraid it would be a gritty memoir of alcoholism and ugly bar encounters. Nope. Not even close. Drinking With Men may be about bars, but it is engaging, gentle, and strangely wholesome. It's a happy-family memoir, only in this case, the family is the cheerfully raffish crew of bar regulars with whom Schaap has made common cause over the years. Schaap devotes a chapter to each bar, and each bar represents - and represents beautifully - a chapter in her life; people encountered, tales told, lessons learned. She's a fine storyteller herself, and her stories are memorable, from the 15-year-old girl trading Tarot readings for beers to her life as "bar chaplain" after 9/11. I felt warmed while reading it and finished the book thinking I would like to share a beer with Rosie Schaap - and just listen to some more of her stories. Thanks to LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Program for my ARC of this book!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dr. Detroit

    There's only one thing I can think of that's worse than sitting around a bar listening to a bunch of drunks talking about poetry, literature, and the fucking Grateful Dead and their misguided, stoned and hygienically questionable followers and that's reading about a bunch of drunks sitting around a bar talking about poetry, literature, and the fucking Grateful Dead and their misguided, stoned and hygienically questionable followers. Scabies? Gimme a break. You've been warned.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    There seems to be a lot of complaints about this book that "all she did was tell drinking stories", that she made bad or dangerous choices, or that she is a lost soul who needs serious help and doesn't reflect on her choices. Well, the title to me literally hints at nothing but drinking stories so not sure what the complaint is there. As far as bad or dangerous choices, sometimes, but she never claims to be a role model and frequently questions her choices and possible alcoholism. I can't help b There seems to be a lot of complaints about this book that "all she did was tell drinking stories", that she made bad or dangerous choices, or that she is a lost soul who needs serious help and doesn't reflect on her choices. Well, the title to me literally hints at nothing but drinking stories so not sure what the complaint is there. As far as bad or dangerous choices, sometimes, but she never claims to be a role model and frequently questions her choices and possible alcoholism. I can't help but wonder if we would say the same if a book was written by a man. For example, The Tender Bar. It has a higher overall rating and less concern in reviews about his choices, excessive drinking, etc. To be fair, I have NOT yet read this book but it does sound similar. Admittedly it may be leaps and bounds better, but at the core it sounds like more tales from a bar. Gotta read it soon to compare. Point being, all negative reviews are wrong because I LOVED this book ;). She lives a life so outside of anything like mine. I am married, with a career I went to college for, I own a house, and so on. These are ALL things I wanted, but it is fascinating to be plunked into another existence and personality so opposite of mine. And while I have “regular” status at exactly zero bars, I also love the vibe of bars and am fascinated by mixology. I love upscale ones with craft cocktails and weird ones with unique histories and decor. I love to people watch. Something about going out--going to the bar--always feels like a fun adventure (and obviously the buzz of the alcohol helps). What drink am I going to try? What are we going to talk about? Who’s gonna go with us or who will we meet? I feel like she captured all that perfectly. I LOVED following her through each city and each bar with it’s specific vibe and clientele. I don’t think I know a single person in real life who I could compare to anyone in “her” bars and while some did at times have a whiff of the sad sack, alcoholic or oddball vibe you may expect from someone who frequents a bar multiple times a week, I still loved them. I hate to keep coming back to other reviewers but more than one person had complaints along the line that they did was sit around and talk about literature, poetry, and music. Um... so, heaven? Not super productive, sure, but seriously, I only get to regularly talk about books on Goodreads, with my mom, or at my book club. If other people in my life read much, they sure don’t talk about it OR I have started conversations about books and had them go nowhere. It’s just not something I have in my daily life. It’s silly to me we would scorn this in a day where so many people are caught up in their to-do lists, rarely taking time to consider and reflect on art or literature, and glued to their phones. I also think this is one of the most feminist books I have read. It’s been about two months since I read it, and I’m not even sure if she mentions feminism at all, although she definitely comes pretty close by talking about how her gender can affect her experience at the bar. Often we think of feminism and the first images that come to mind are the big powerful themes that would work well in an ad or will go down in history as ground-breaking. Powerful women politicians. Female athletes who push their body to the limits. Thousands of women in hot pink knitted hats marching on Washington. Suffragettes starving themselves to get the vote. I would never claim these events and women aren’t absolutely important and vital. But I think we need room to recognize this as feminism too. To make feminism solely about high ambitions and ideals is noble, but not enough. Feminism is literally just wanting to be equal to men, warts and all. We need to make stuff for stuff like this too--things and experiences that could honestly be argued as pointless, dangerous, unproductive, etc. The sheer fact of her wanting to exist, be herself and be safe in her local bar is revolutionary in it’s own way. We need to be equally allowed to have flaws and make poor choices. As I said, I don’t think men would get as much scorn for this habit. And I know I myself would never think to do this (I can’t even remember ever getting a drink alone, much less doing it regularly) because of fear, personal safety, societal norms, and so on. What a brave and fascinating life and read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Williams

    I remember the first time I became a “regular” at a bar. Every Wednesday after work, my roommate and I would make the long trek across the river (about a mile from my former residence) to the local TGI Friday’s in the heart of downtown. We had not picked a chain restaurant on purpose, but the bar was the only place in town that had a chai liquor called Voyant, which came in a orange bottle with flames on the sides. We called shots of the drink “Phoenix Tears,” claiming their slogan to be “I am r I remember the first time I became a “regular” at a bar. Every Wednesday after work, my roommate and I would make the long trek across the river (about a mile from my former residence) to the local TGI Friday’s in the heart of downtown. We had not picked a chain restaurant on purpose, but the bar was the only place in town that had a chai liquor called Voyant, which came in a orange bottle with flames on the sides. We called shots of the drink “Phoenix Tears,” claiming their slogan to be “I am reborn.” After a couple months, we had systematically drank the whole bottle of Voyant and the bar refused to reorder more for us. But by that time, it didn’t matter anymore. We had befriended most of the wait staff, and they had even created a drink in my roommate’s honor called “AHHHHH,” because after a long day of work, your first drink came to signify that the day was finally done and it was time to relax. However, we could not sustain the lifestyle of a regular. The drinks at Friday’s were expensive (and they never had drink specials! You should not be so greedy TGI Friday’s CEO.) After my lease was up, I moved to the other (and nicer) side of the city, which was a slightly longer and lonelier walk. There were closer cheaper local (non-chain) bars that captured my interest. On top of all this, our favorite waiter, Matt, who my roommate had nicknamed Derrick after he served us without a nametag, got a “real” job at a marketing firm and quit Friday’s. No other waiter quite remembered how to make “AHHHH” like Derrick. I have been a regular at other places since then, but nothing beats the first time you walk into a bar and everyone knows your name. SOOOOO this is why I decided to read “Drinking with Men.” I felt that Rosie and I were like kindred spirits. Sometimes, “regularhood” at a bar is frowned upon and people may see it as a sign of alcoholism. But to my roommate and I, this was not the case. We never drank more than two drinks on Wednesday night; since we are responsible (young) adults. Being a regular is like attending church on a Sunday. People you care about surround you; they invest in your life, in your stories; and you invest in them too. Rosie feels the same way, and I’m glad she decided to write a book about it. SOOOOO you can imagine my disappointment when I did not like Rosie. In her book, she came off as a type of girl, a specific type of girl, who I went to high school with and I COULD NOT STAND. She was self righteous narcissist, who would claim others’ identity as her own. She was just so….. fake. As I was reading this book, I could not shake the connection between these two people. It seemed like sometimes Rosie was quoting VERBATUM that self absorbed high school girl. All in all, it ruined my experience. SOOOOO obviously this is my subjective experience of this book. Which doesn’t mean that other people would not find this enjoyable. It is not poorly written and her stories are interesting enough to keep some entertained. So I recommend this book to anyone who has been a regular at a bar; and hopefully you did not have to deal with someone like Rosie in your high school. Because MY GOD, I don’t care that you just got a new Celtic tattoo.

  15. 4 out of 5

    J

    I was expecting a charming nod to bars, a la Cheers. Disappointingly, this was really about the author’s messed up life, not the bars she visited. Each chapter is like an epic “stupid drunk” story. The author started frequenting bars at 15. At 16, she drops out of high school to follow the Grateful Dead. She devolves further into alcohol, drugs and sex. And it goes on from there … she consciously seems to place herself in dangerous and unhealthy situations. The memoire is frequently gritty and vu I was expecting a charming nod to bars, a la Cheers. Disappointingly, this was really about the author’s messed up life, not the bars she visited. Each chapter is like an epic “stupid drunk” story. The author started frequenting bars at 15. At 16, she drops out of high school to follow the Grateful Dead. She devolves further into alcohol, drugs and sex. And it goes on from there … she consciously seems to place herself in dangerous and unhealthy situations. The memoire is frequently gritty and vulgar. She seeks out damaged and mal-adjusted people to become her peers and drinking companions. Her only requirement for someone to be present in her life seems to be that they don’t demand anything from her or challenge her to better herself. Like watching a train wreck, there was something interesting here and I felt compelled to continue reading. But I was overwhelmed with the ick-iness of it all before the end. Like watching Jerry Springer for more than a few moments. It was just too much. The chapter on finding religion and 9-11 toward the end, which should have been the most relatable for me, just killed the book. The author’s perspective on religion made it seem pointless and suspect like everything else in her life. It felt like a profound desecration of something sacred. The author’s stated goal was to introduce readers to the charms of bar life, but the book had the opposite effect on me -- opening a door to view previously unimagined disfunction and diseased humanity. My view of bar regulars has darkened after reading this book. And knowing that people like the author exist, makes the world in general seem a bit darker and more depressing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Wegner

    The first half of my time reading this book was spent finding fault with Rosie because I was angry at her for writing this book before I could write this book. The ways she is similar to me, like being a female who likes to drink in bars alone, to her overuse of the em dash--all of it upset me. But then I got into her story. I love how she changes, moves on, copes. I love how drinking with men is a constant that helps her get through. I love how it's not about sex. I love how it's not about alco The first half of my time reading this book was spent finding fault with Rosie because I was angry at her for writing this book before I could write this book. The ways she is similar to me, like being a female who likes to drink in bars alone, to her overuse of the em dash--all of it upset me. But then I got into her story. I love how she changes, moves on, copes. I love how drinking with men is a constant that helps her get through. I love how it's not about sex. I love how it's not about alcoholism. It is her story told from a unique perspective. I fantasize about finding Rosie on a bar stool next to mine. Even though we are both more comfortable drinking with men, I'm sure we'd have a lot to talk about.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    I can't say that I ever connected with Rosie. Much of the time, I thought that this is a book about "nothing". And maybe, that's what it is intended to be. I like her writing style, and that is what kept me going throughout (and the OCD desire to finish something that I started), but often, I thought, you know, this is not a lifestyle that I would be bragging about. Hey, I like bars and talking to men as much as the next person, but it is kind of sad when your day often revolves around, and begi I can't say that I ever connected with Rosie. Much of the time, I thought that this is a book about "nothing". And maybe, that's what it is intended to be. I like her writing style, and that is what kept me going throughout (and the OCD desire to finish something that I started), but often, I thought, you know, this is not a lifestyle that I would be bragging about. Hey, I like bars and talking to men as much as the next person, but it is kind of sad when your day often revolves around, and begins, when you are able to step foot in "your bar". But, that's just me--no judgement here.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    A fun read really. I felt that I empathized with the author a lot as my history has similarities. I went to a hippie college that sounded similar to the one Schaap attended in Vermont. I've always loved a good bar and drinking with men. I like being one of the guys. It did have an east coast vibe for sure. If I wrote this book there'd be a lot more concentration on great NW beers/microbrews, but I appreciated the glimpses into what makes a good bar - maybe because I agree. The regulars, the stor A fun read really. I felt that I empathized with the author a lot as my history has similarities. I went to a hippie college that sounded similar to the one Schaap attended in Vermont. I've always loved a good bar and drinking with men. I like being one of the guys. It did have an east coast vibe for sure. If I wrote this book there'd be a lot more concentration on great NW beers/microbrews, but I appreciated the glimpses into what makes a good bar - maybe because I agree. The regulars, the stories - and there's nothing better than stories and she tells some good ones. But I agree with Kwoomac who said that she gives you these intimate details of her life and then quickly glosses over them. (view spoiler)[ When she goes to Montreal and seems to suddenly realize she shouldn't be married any longer. That really killed me. Especially when in the epilogue you see her write that her husband whom she was separated from had been diagnosed with cancer and died. Maybe it struck a chord because I'm engaged and will be married in a matter of months, but it really made me do a double take. It seemed representative of most of her life though, bouncing from one adventure to the next. As far as the "plot", overall, it kept my interest, but I felt sort of lost after the big 9/11 section At least this peaked my interest in finding other bar books to entertain me with and got me thinking about how I'd love to have a new "3rd place" to feel comfortable in. If anything, it helped me reminisce a bit. It is good to know there is another woman out there who likes to drink in bars too. (hide spoiler)]

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    As a west coast woman, I felt like this book, and Ms. Schaap, was very East-coast centric. The idea of a neighborhood or "corner bar" (and the distinction between the two) doesn't exist as much outside of the big city. It seems that Schaap has a wildly romantic notion of what bars are like - perhaps influenced by her stint in Ireland as a college student - that many intelligent, educated, females don't share. I've been an almost regular at a bar only because the guy I was involved with had a fri As a west coast woman, I felt like this book, and Ms. Schaap, was very East-coast centric. The idea of a neighborhood or "corner bar" (and the distinction between the two) doesn't exist as much outside of the big city. It seems that Schaap has a wildly romantic notion of what bars are like - perhaps influenced by her stint in Ireland as a college student - that many intelligent, educated, females don't share. I've been an almost regular at a bar only because the guy I was involved with had a friend who worked there and he enjoyed bar camraderie. But once we broke up, finding a new bar to regularly patronize was not at all a priority of mine. Spending that much on drinks that I could have at home for a lot less is unappealing, as is having mundane conversation with lecherous men. The part of the book I enjoyed the least was her entire chapter on soccer... or what Europeans refer to as football. Ok, I could care less. Maybe this is what makes me not a good candidate for a bar regular. But really?! A whole chapter about your bar buddy's favorite team?! All this book did for me was really illustrate how a smart person can have a mildly satisfying but mediocre life if they become a regular drinker. One example - Schaap visits Montreal and then goes to a bar... ummmm if I'm in a new city and there are things to do and see, I go do them... I don't spend my time whiling away in a drinking establishment making false friendships! I understand that it's one way to meet the local crowd, but you're meeting only a certain kind of local... you can meet new people on mass transit, at the park, in an art museum, etc. I wonder what she missed out on experiencing in that city because she spent it in a dimly lit bar? I have a friend I'm going to send my copy of the book to. She is the only person I know who might be able to relate... and she's been an alcoholic since the age of 15.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dyana

    I think the writing itself was very good but I did not like the story line. If the author wrote a fiction novel I would likely read it though. This book was basically the authors life story with plenty of drinking, some drugs and some sex. I thought it was going to be about friendships and meeting people but that is not what I found upon reading. On page 34 the author wakes up with her own feces on herself after a night of drinking. I fail to see how this truly disgusting piece of information ha I think the writing itself was very good but I did not like the story line. If the author wrote a fiction novel I would likely read it though. This book was basically the authors life story with plenty of drinking, some drugs and some sex. I thought it was going to be about friendships and meeting people but that is not what I found upon reading. On page 34 the author wakes up with her own feces on herself after a night of drinking. I fail to see how this truly disgusting piece of information has to do with the camaraderie and community that is stated on the back of the book. On the next page she tells of a trick she plays at bars with coins. She comments that the poor idiot (refering to whoever she is doing the joke for) gets it wrong 9 times out 10. She fails to tell the answer to this trick and as I don`t get it I feel like the author just called me an idiot. I only kept reading because I won this book from GoodReads and felt the least I could do in return is read the book and give the review. If I had been reading the book for any other reason I would not have gone past page 34.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    Back about half a dozen years ago, I was lamenting to my now-husband that "there aren't many drinking role models for women." Which sounds strange, but what I really meant was that while I loved hanging out in bars and had my regular places, I often felt like I didn't quite belong, because when I looked around I didn't see too many women who had the same kind of relationship with drinking establishments that I did. It seemed like something Not Done. These days I don't really think about that as m Back about half a dozen years ago, I was lamenting to my now-husband that "there aren't many drinking role models for women." Which sounds strange, but what I really meant was that while I loved hanging out in bars and had my regular places, I often felt like I didn't quite belong, because when I looked around I didn't see too many women who had the same kind of relationship with drinking establishments that I did. It seemed like something Not Done. These days I don't really think about that as much, because due to geographical and financial necessity, my own relationship with bars has changed. But reading Rosie Schaap was a bit like coming home. She GETS why a good bar is such a gorgeous thing. She also gets how becoming a regular somewhere is both glorious and sometimes can be a source of stagnation. And she gets the uneasy feeling of being someone who quite likes booze and hanging out with other people who drink, in a place and time where that is rather suspect. This is a funny and sweet book that gave me shocks of recognition, both happy ones and ones that made me cringe in sympathy. I would happily have a drink or two with Rosie any time.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Boy, it's hard to describe my reaction to this book - really mixed feelings. On one hand, I was pulled into the stories because of her descriptive scenes and engaging storytelling; on the other, I was completely put off by the way she romanticizes drunkenness and "regularhood." I can think of few things LESS appealing than sitting on a bar stool night after night, year after year... and I couldn't really let go of that opinion long enough to relate to her experience. Though she's holding up these Boy, it's hard to describe my reaction to this book - really mixed feelings. On one hand, I was pulled into the stories because of her descriptive scenes and engaging storytelling; on the other, I was completely put off by the way she romanticizes drunkenness and "regularhood." I can think of few things LESS appealing than sitting on a bar stool night after night, year after year... and I couldn't really let go of that opinion long enough to relate to her experience. Though she's holding up these experiences as her "coming of age," and she wants to be seen as incredibly creative and adventurous as she navigates the hidden world of drinking men, these stories were ultimately depressing and pathetic. I wanted to see some kind of self-realization or insight by the end, and mainly it seemed like she kept trying to change her interests to impress the men around her. Maybe it's my own background and bias - I just don't admire drunken blackouts, no matter how many luminaries of art and literature and soccer are sitting on the neighboring barstools.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Suniru

    Drinking with Men extols the pleasures of the neighborhood bar. For the author it goes beyond pleasure and becomes a necessity. Within bars Schaap finds community and a safe, fun place to hang out. I know people seek out bars to drink..and the same bar to feel at home. Yes, I have seen Cheers, the Boston bar-centric TV show where "everybody knows your name" . Now I have insight into what a bar can mean to a real person. Schaap's memoir is presented in chronological chapters, each centering around Drinking with Men extols the pleasures of the neighborhood bar. For the author it goes beyond pleasure and becomes a necessity. Within bars Schaap finds community and a safe, fun place to hang out. I know people seek out bars to drink..and the same bar to feel at home. Yes, I have seen Cheers, the Boston bar-centric TV show where "everybody knows your name" . Now I have insight into what a bar can mean to a real person. Schaap's memoir is presented in chronological chapters, each centering around her favorite frequented bar at the time. She has led an interesting life and bars figure prominently in her everyday existence. I would have enjoyed the book less if she had children. The specter of serious alcoholism looms in the shadows here. As it is, I admire that she does what makes her happy and shares her enthusiasm through writing. Definately recommended. I received my copy through LibraryThing.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Meh. For many reasons not worth getting into here, it's not easy for a woman on her own to walk into a bar and make herself at home, so having learned how to be the only woman at my pub (because it aired English Premiere League soccer games,) I was hoping Rosie Schaap was going to share interesting if not similar experiences of being that solo lady in a room full of men and alcohol. In the interview which put Drinking with Men: A Memoir on my radar, Schaap concentrated more on the great relations Meh. For many reasons not worth getting into here, it's not easy for a woman on her own to walk into a bar and make herself at home, so having learned how to be the only woman at my pub (because it aired English Premiere League soccer games,) I was hoping Rosie Schaap was going to share interesting if not similar experiences of being that solo lady in a room full of men and alcohol. In the interview which put Drinking with Men: A Memoir on my radar, Schaap concentrated more on the great relationships and sense of community women can have with their neighborhood bar and less on the memoir aspect of the book. My bad for paying more attention to that interview and less to the title. I simply did not care for her story.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Annemaria

    disappointing. the title could have been "drinking with me; the annemaria story", however it seemed like the author more wanted to show off her charisma and friends and stories about being a bar darling. Was hoping for something more in depth and less "omg look how cool it was when i was ONE OF THE GUYS". also i guess it was too much to hope that she would go into some of the societal/gender issues surrounding bar culture and being a woman alone anywhere, above all a bar.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laureen (Ms. Bibliophile)

    Whether you love the subject matter or not, Rosie Schapp's passion and true love for bars comes through clearly. The writing is evocative and can transport the reader to these bars that were a second home, a second family, and can make you feel just as at home.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amy Lively

    "If you contribute to the culture of the bar in some way, the bar will want to keep you around." There is a significant and distinguished canon of drinking memoirs. They often sink into a whiskey-soaked pathos that is painful to read and, on some level, leave me embarrassed for the author's behavior. This is not that type of memoir. Rosie Schaap has written a memoir about the pub, bar, tavern, inn...but never the nightclub. While alcohol is a supporting character in this story, the community one c "If you contribute to the culture of the bar in some way, the bar will want to keep you around." There is a significant and distinguished canon of drinking memoirs. They often sink into a whiskey-soaked pathos that is painful to read and, on some level, leave me embarrassed for the author's behavior. This is not that type of memoir. Rosie Schaap has written a memoir about the pub, bar, tavern, inn...but never the nightclub. While alcohol is a supporting character in this story, the community one can find at a bar is the main attraction. She writes lovingly of the details of her favorite bars, which any lover of the right bar can appreciate and recognize. I could see the worn floor of one of her favorite haunts in my mind's eye. However, without the friends she makes and how they form a collective of chosen family members, even if only temporarily, the bar would simply be a room with booze. She reminds us that a bar can be and by right out to be more than that. In a memoir that spans many years of her life, there are bound to be challenges and outright heartbreak. Death, rocky relationships, and the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, all have a prominent place in her story. Yet, Schaap is an engaging storyteller (I listened to an audiobook, so it felt like we were having a conversation on my ride to and from work everyday), and even the bad times are told in a way that is not quite resigned, but not quite accepting, either. Of course, the title is "Drinking with Men," so it is never lost on us, as readers, that she is a woman in what has historically been a man's domain. It is fascinating to hear (or read) how she navigates that world and balances being "one of the guys" with still being Rosie. No doubt many women feel self-conscious going into a bar alone, let alone going in often enough to become a regular. Let this serve as inspiration for women who doubt that they can find their own place drinking with men. Cheers!

  28. 5 out of 5

    H.R. Hobbs

    Last week a friend sent me an email around the theme of bar books (an inside joke between the two of us). She frequently sends me book recommends, despite my lack of recommends back, and I always check out what she sends me because I'm rarely disappointed. As I perused the list I found that all the selections appealed. So, I downloaded the first one "Drinking with Men: A Memoir" by Rosie Schaap. I expected a book with raunchy stories of men behaving badly, but what I got was so much more. Schaap' Last week a friend sent me an email around the theme of bar books (an inside joke between the two of us). She frequently sends me book recommends, despite my lack of recommends back, and I always check out what she sends me because I'm rarely disappointed. As I perused the list I found that all the selections appealed. So, I downloaded the first one "Drinking with Men: A Memoir" by Rosie Schaap. I expected a book with raunchy stories of men behaving badly, but what I got was so much more. Schaap's book details her many experiences as a lover of bars and the role they play in her life. As a self-proclaimed introvert, the concept of a woman regularly seeking sanctuary in a local neighborhood bar is out of my realm of experience. I can't honestly say that I've ever gone to a bar alone for the primary purpose of having a drink by myself. I'm horrible at small talk especially with strangers and it would leave me uncomfortable and self-conscious. Through her stories of various bars she frequented, Schaap shows what the appeal is all about. Whether it's a bar in Dublin, Montreal, or New York, she highlights what keeps her going back to those places that make her feel at home. What struck me the most were the people she meets. College professors, writers, artists, ironworkers make up the eclectic family members that she introduces us to. Her stories revolve around what she learns from them, how they become part of her life outside the bar and the lasting impression they have on her. I laughed at the crazy antics and cried at the heartbreaking moments. With much of the book taking place in New York, it made we want to visit again with the The Fish Bar on the top of my list of places to go. Over the past year, a girlfriend and I have taken to weekly girl’s nights. With only two bars in our little town, we make our weekly treks to the local bar where we go not to be seen, but to have a few drinks without judgement of half the town. After reading this book I have a new appreciation for our local bar: the bartender who is a former student, the owner of the nearby restaurant who chronically complains about his wait staff or the young workers we like to give a hard time and where I’m simply known as “teacher.” We are all looking for the same thing: a brief respite from the day to day and the comfort that provides and there is nothing wrong with that. This book left me with a book hangover (pun intended).

  29. 4 out of 5

    AngryGreyCat

    I was really, really excited to finally get my copy of this book from the library (I had been on the waiting list). I anticipated a literary version of Cheers told from a female perspective. I thought of life long friendships with an interesting cast of characters set in the warm, dark smoky confines of pubs and bars, not exactly what I got. The first quarter of the book is all about a seriously messed up childhood, think teen years, as a Dead Head high school dropout touring the country fueled b I was really, really excited to finally get my copy of this book from the library (I had been on the waiting list). I anticipated a literary version of Cheers told from a female perspective. I thought of life long friendships with an interesting cast of characters set in the warm, dark smoky confines of pubs and bars, not exactly what I got. The first quarter of the book is all about a seriously messed up childhood, think teen years, as a Dead Head high school dropout touring the country fueled by booze and drugs and probably lots of casual sex, although that isn’t discussed. A rape is discussed, but in an almost dismissive manner, which led me to assume sexual assaults were so prevalent that it was nothing remarkable. I almost stopped reading but there were hints that the author turned her life around so I persevered. The rest of the book highlights the authors quest for “regularity”, that is the state of being a “regular” at a bar. The memoir does swerve into other areas of the author’s life such as college, marriage, religious training, and work. I think my disappointment with the book is the lack of depth. It is like a running narrative of: this happened, that happened, this happened, etc. None of the characters are developed, other than some detail about Ed, we don’t really get to “know” any of the characters. I guess I expected more of a focus on relationships and people, not this running cast of “strangers” just passing through the story. Upon reflection, perhaps I expected too much. Maybe Drinking with Men is an accurate reflection of the nature of the “regular” bar relationships. Having never been a “regular” perhaps I have an overly romanticized vision of the neighborhood bar environment? Still I expected something more than a running account of a relatively young woman’s life to date.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Haley

    If you are hesitant to read Drinking with Men: A Memoir, don't be! The title may seem slightly weird and make you think immeadiately of ugly bar scenes and sexual content but this book has none of it. Instead, it speaks of a fifteen year-old girl who goes off on her own, taking drugs and drinking alcohol. BUT soon after that, she comes to her senses and gets her GED and goes to university. But that doesn't mean she doesn't go to bars! She still enjoys going to pubs, relaxing with others and star If you are hesitant to read Drinking with Men: A Memoir, don't be! The title may seem slightly weird and make you think immeadiately of ugly bar scenes and sexual content but this book has none of it. Instead, it speaks of a fifteen year-old girl who goes off on her own, taking drugs and drinking alcohol. BUT soon after that, she comes to her senses and gets her GED and goes to university. But that doesn't mean she doesn't go to bars! She still enjoys going to pubs, relaxing with others and starting new friendships. At first, I had to force myself to keep reading. All it seemed to me was a whole bunch of jabbering about her days when she took drugs and drank- lots. But it started to improve. It's not Rosie Schaap's writing that's bad: it's quite good. If she were to write about a different subject, like a fiction book or something, yes, I would read it. But this book . . . well, yeah. It's a light read and you'll start to like Rosie Schaap, the author and the main character. If someone told you memoirs are boring, this one isn't too bad. This book includes some profanity but I think this book is appropriate for teens. It comes out on January 24th so be sure to look out for it! :) NOTE: I did not finish this book because it's one of those books where you read and you know the ending. Like, it's one long rant on how much Rosie Schaaps enjoys bars, pubs . . . etc. But that might just be me- memoirs aren't really my thing. But still buy it! It's still really good! WOULD LIKE TO JUST SAY: YES, PEOPLE WILL JUDGE YOU WHEN YOU READ THIS BOOK. MOST PEOPLE JUDGE BOOKS BY THEIR COVER. AND THEIR NAMES.

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