Drinking with Men
Rosie Schapp knows from bars. In this ode to drinking culture, Schapp—a sometimes bartender, sometimes regular—recaps the establishments she’s come to love over the years. The pub in Dublin filled with poets; the backwoods bar in Vermont she frequented during college; even the bar car on the Metro-North railway line—all of these make up the chapters of Schapp’s life and she reflects on the characters she’s met and the stories that hatched from her perch on a wooden bar stool. Schapp is a powerful storyteller who will make you laugh and cry in equal measure.
You Deserve a Drink
A different kind of bartender, comedian Mamrie Hart rose to fame by mixing cocktails on YouTube on her show “You Deserve a Drink,” which combines mixology plus pop culture, equaling a ton of laughs. Her memoir is a compilation of her drinking stories gone awry and each story is—of course—paired with a drink recipe, so you can achieve the same results at home.
Toby Cecchini describes a day in his life from his view behind the bar at Passerby, a New York City watering hole he owns and runs. From this vantage point, Cecchini muses about his time in the service industry, the tale behind his co-creation of the Cosmo, and its popularity surge after multiple appearances in the T.V. show Sex and the City, and his witty observations on the way humans loosen when lubricated with booze.
Wine to Water
Doc Hendley was just an ordinary small-town bartender who rode his Harley-Davidson motorcycle in between shifts and served up beers to locals in North Carolina. After hearing about the world’s water crisis, he decided to host a wine tasting as a fundraiser, but soon realized he needed to do more. In 2004, he traveled to Darfur, Sudan, where the Sudanese government was waging guerrilla war on its citizens by poisoning their water supply, subjecting them to dehydration, disease, and death. Hendley, at only 25 years of age, shrugged off matters of his personal safety and set about rebuilding wells, educating people and bringing water to those who desperately needed it, eventually starting his own nonprofit organization called Wine to Water. An incredibly life-affirming story about the power of one person and the lasting difference they can make.
Need a book that’s bracing like a good Scotch? Or perhaps one that goes down easy like a fine Merlot? Try diving into a memoir written by a bartender or one that inhabits a bar. From behind the polished wood, bartenders have the ability to see the full range of human nature and the stories they tell are hysterical and heart-wrenching, with an added dash of bitter honesty. These ingredients make up the perfect read. Cheers!
Featured image: Adam Sargent/EyeEm