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Two and Two: McSorley's, My Dad, and Me
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Little, Brown and Company 2017
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Description
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.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/09/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780316231602
ASIN:
B01LL8BVVQ
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Rafe Bartholomew. (2017). Two and Two: McSorley's, My Dad, and Me. Little, Brown and Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Rafe Bartholomew. 2017. Two and Two: McSorley's, My Dad, and Me. Little, Brown and Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Rafe Bartholomew, Two and Two: McSorley's, My Dad, and Me. Little, Brown and Company, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Rafe Bartholomew. Two and Two: McSorley's, My Dad, and Me. Little, Brown and Company, 2017.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 15:21:06
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 02:40:42
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        Rafe Bartholomew is the author of Pacific Rims. He was one of the original editors of Grantland, where he wrote and edited sports features from 2011 to 2015, and his work has appeared in Slate, the New York Times, the Chicago Reader, Deadspin, and other leading online and print publications. Several of his stories have been honored in the Best American Sports Writing series. He lives in Los Angeles.

      • name: Rafe Bartholomew
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title
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fullDescription
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.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Many a day I have sat in McSorley's amidst the sawdust and beer and said to myself, 'You'd have to be a child of this place to make these ghosts speak.' And that is exactly what Rafe Bartholomew is. His is the voice of ages, the shouts of thousands...
      • content: This is more than a story about a famous speakeasy where, for the price of a beer, you can still sit at the same tables where great writers like Joseph Mitchell, Eugene O'Neill, and e.e. Cummings once sat and ruminated. This is a story about a father and son, both of whom toiled for years amidst the ghosts a hundred years past, when a group of hard working Irish Americans created one of New York's greatest institutions with nothing more than sweat, beer, liverwurst sandwiches, and an occasional punch in the nose to all spoilers and bullies.
      • premium: False
      • source: Tom Bissell, author of Apostle and Extra Lives
      • content: Rafe Bartholomew has written a smart, moving book for the inner New Yorker (and inner barfly) in all of us. His father-not to mention Old John McSorley himself-should be damned proud.
      • premium: False
      • source: William Giraldi, author of The Hero's Body and Hold the Dark
      • content: In Two and Two, Rafe Bartholomew has not just lovingly crafted an homage to a singular American place of drink, but also given us a steady look into the intense realm of father and son. This memoir pulses with uncommon talent.
      • premium: False
      • source: Wesley Morris, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
      • content: Rafe's like a brother to me. So to read this book is to discover a childhood I never knew he had (never knew any kid could have!) and a dad I can't wait to meet. Rafe presents both with enviable, high-definition affection. This is a biography of a father and the bar that became part of his soul. It's a memoir of a son the bar co-parented. It's history of New York City and a sly, considered essay on masculinity. It's a book quietly about a mythic America that simultaneously never really existed yet, obviously, totally did. Rafe's writing, his memories, his sensitivity and sweetness made me laugh. They moved me. In my years living in New York, I never thought of a bar like McSorley's as a bar for me. The hefty beauty and lasting surprise of this book is how it reminds me over and over that I was probably - maybe certainly - wrong.
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: big-hearted memoir of a lifelong romance with New York City's oldest (continuously operating) saloon... a watering hole for artists, politicians, and oddballs, a storehouse of oral tradition passed through generations of staff... [Bartholomew's] portrayal of the rough humor and blue-collar warmth feels completely earned.
      • premium: False
      • source: Noah Rothbaum, The Daily Beast
      • content: McSorley's Old Ale House had been a Manhattan legend for more than 100 years when the author's father was hired on to work the taps. ....The nostalgia-drenched memoir makes us want to revisit the joint.
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 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.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        March 15, 2017
        A boy comes of age in one of New York's most storied watering holes.There is no bar in New York City--perhaps even all of America--with as much history as McSorley's Old Ale House, which opened on East 7th Street in 1854. It was a campaign stop for Abraham Lincoln, a gathering spot for Boss Tweed and his Tammany Hall cronies, and a hangout for decades of artists, poets, and musicians. But for former Grantland editor Bartholomew (Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin' in Flip-Flops and the Philippines' Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball, 2010), McSorley's was just home. His father, Geoffrey -Bart- Bartholomew, was a bartender, doling out pints of the bar's signature light and dark ales for 45 years--an almost unimaginable career choice for a recovering alcoholic. As a child, Bartholomew would spend magical weekend mornings at the bar with his father, playing with the mouser cat in the basement, eating hamburgers in the kitchen, and doing odd jobs. Bart never wanted to see his son behind the bar; he was a working-class kid from Ohio who'd nearly been killed by his drunk of a father and a long-suffering aspiring writer who'd never seen his literary dreams actualized. But when Rafe had a college degree in hand and a day job as an editorial assistant at Harper's, Bart acquiesced and let Rafe pick up a few shifts (Rafe quickly realized that his tips would eclipse his full-time publishing salary). The author expertly weaves together entertaining stories from his nights behind the bar (note: never work at an Irish pub on St. Paddy's Day) with more poignant moments between father and son--particularly after Rafe's mother (who was not much a part of life at McSorley's but -was everything else-) died from a quick and unexpected bout with cancer. Bartholomew does both his father and McSorley's proud with this touching, redolent memoir.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        April 15, 2017
        McSorley's Old Ale House, in the Bowery, had been a Manhattan legend for more than 100 years, the oldest Irish bar in the city, when the author's father hired on to work the taps. Son Rafe grew up loving the old man's booze-soaked stories and learning the bar's theory of customer relations: Never find fault with a man until you have all his money. Then, in his twenties and against his father's advice, Rafe joined Dad behind the taps. The book details his memories of that time, and the raffish turns are tinged with enough acid to suggest that Dad's reluctance stayed with him. There are accounts of cleaning up vomit and hitting one another with balls of feduh, the cheesy slime that gathered behind the bar. McSorley's New York is gone now, with much of the city feeling to the author like a a playground for plutocrats. We understand when Rafe wonders if his colleagues seem historical reenactors playing dress-up in a tourist trap, but the nostalgia-drenched memoir makes us want to revisit the joint in its salad days.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
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...
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