The author lucidly discusses more recent changes in bar culture as well. I learned about interesting people like Irving Berlin and his second wife Ellin Mackey. Lincoln's assassination was planned in a tavern. No doubt that there are legitimate concerns over the competing needs of urban dwellers — between those who still feel bars poison those who can't help themselves and those who value them as spaces where grassroots programs are nourished. Some cool trivia around the origin of the modern saloon, and visits to the drinking dens of San Francisco and New Orleans prove interesting if slightly disturbing.
It does a good job of describing the importance of the saloon, tavern, or bar as a meeting place often the only meeting place available for people throughout American history. In America Walks into a Bar, Christine Sismondo recounts the rich and fascinating history of an institution often reviled, yet always central to American life. That said, I think most people forget how important taverns were in early American history. In this heady cocktail of agile prose and telling anecdotes, Sismondo offers a resounding toast to taprooms, taverns, saloons, speakeasies, and the local hangout where everybody knows your name. I did enjoy this book.
It is a worthy addition to the bookshelf of anyone who appreciates the nuances of American history and an occasional visit to the local watering hole. We can totally do all that justice in four weeks if the kids break into groups and do oral presentations on the last day of school, right? She picks examples high and low: George Washington dismissed his troops and celebrated his election to the presidency at a grand bar, Faunces Tavern, in New York. This one was an easy read and interesting. I guess it had to be done to get the point across of how central drinking establishments were to the development of our country. He bartended pretty much everywhere in Toronto's Junction neighborhood and can be found at Famous Last Words. She reminds us that a pioneer town was likely to have tavern before it had a church or courthouse.
Very fun, light and well-written. America, as we know it, was born in a bar. And when John Wilkes Booth plotted with his accomplices to carry out an assassination, they gathered in Surratt Tavern. As the cockpit of organized crime, politics, and everyday social life, the bar has remained vital--and controversial--down to the present. Men afraid to come out in public could hide and, for the protection, pay huge markups for crummy drinks. I enjoyed it but did not love it.
And if you listen, you'll see that some of the problems we face now are the same ones Americans faced in the 1920s. Raised in Lexington, Kentucky, Lucas Twyman moved to Canada because it was the only other country in North America that makes whiskey. The prim were easily scandalized by what happened when strong men met strong drink — gambling, whoring and sometimes a little shooting were part of the culture. You already know two of them. And when John Wilkes Booth plotted with his accomplices to carry out an assassination, they gathered in Surratt Tavern. The computer comes in handy while reading this book because you can enter an address mentioned and actually see the building being discussed.
In 2006, when the Hurricane Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act was passed, a rider excluded bars from applying for aid or tax breaks on the grounds that they contributed nothing to the community. Her background and her article in the New Yorker that gave that rag its push. But despite that, if you frequent taverns and want to know about our country through historical beer goggles, this is truly a fine read worth sipping. In 2006, for example, when the Katrina Hurricane Relief Bill was passed, a rider was attached, spearheaded by Congressman Frank Wolf, which excluded bars from applying for aid or tax breaks on the grounds that they contributed nothing to the community. Drink, properly curated, can be a source of liberation — not as commonly thought, a drunken escape, but rather as a way to loosen inhibitions and allow people to potentially accept real change.
There was less business and fewer employed people to tax. And yes there is a difference between all of those. And, now, I guess, anyone who reads this. Going at least as far back as the early eighteenth century, when a clutch of Boston rebels began agitating in smoke-filled taverns, groups denied access to legitimate and sanctioned forms of political representation have taken to the saloon. Gays and women remained unwanted at many bars until well into the 1980s.
I know, it sounds like a setup but it ain't. I understood that the bar in its various forms held a role in American history, I was unaware though of just how central a part it played in the country's affairs. There is an incredible amount of characters that make appearances throughout the book, and what they did makes for rousing and exciting reading. As soon as I could get into bars on my own, I made it my mission to get into as many as I could, particularly in my home city of Toronto. Belly up to a scholarly treatise on the evolution of the barroom.
Had I not had this experience, my inner fifteen-year-old probably wouldn't have tried so very hard to tune out and contemplate how to not get caught shooting spit balls at the ceiling for the first 180 pages or so. One of the best parts for me is the role the saloons played in the American Revolution. In New York and other urban areas across the country, an aging and gentrifying population repeatedly clashes with bar clientele over a number of issues, including the noise, brawls and vomit that will sometimes spill from these fun houses. In America Walks into a Bar, Christine Si When George Washington bade farewell to his officers, he did so in New York's Fraunces Tavern. That string of five words summed up the idea of the 'local,' a refuge from the dynamism of modernity where a small clutch of people get together nearly every day to shoot the shit over a pint ' or four.
The couches were rich and velvety; the brightly-colored menus were full of exotic fare. In America Walks into a Bar, Christine Sismondo recounts the rich and fascinating history of an institution often reviled, yet always central to American life. Sismondo articulates a great many historical details in easy-flowing prose that is not stiff or boring. Moving on to the prohibition time period and I had to stop often to do research on certain things mentioned. It is fast-paced and full of funny anecdotes, and a lot of American history I didn't know. She has written numerous books and articles about film, literature, drinking, and vice, including Mondo Cocktail, a narrative history of cocktails.