Drinking with Men: A Memoir

Rosie Schaap, who writes the "Drink" column for the New York Times Magazine, started her drinking career at the age of 15 in the bar car of the Metro North train between Westport, Conn., and New York City, trading Tarot readings for surreptitious beers.

While her background remains opaque, it is clear that she had an absent father and a complicated relationship with her mother. These facts combined to make her drop out of high school and hit the road with the Grateful Dead. Although she eventually earned a GED and graduated from Bennington, her education began in earnest in that year with the Dead. Schaap floated on a sea of music, booze, drugs and sex to the West Coast.

Her tale of drinking with men skips around, focusing mainly on bars she has loved and made her own. For a study summer abroad, she was in Dublin, favoring Grogan's Castle Lounge, the first place she found that feeling of community and belonging that she was searching for. Many writers have talked about that "third place," one that isn't home and isn't work where a person feels welcomed and looked after. She writes: "You can drink anywhere. You can drink at home. A bar gives you more than drink alone. It gives you the presence of others; it gives you relief from isolation. When you are a regular, it gives you community, too."

Rosie Schaap is an unapologetic drinker in bars. In her experience, all are richer for it. --Valerie Ryan, Cannon Beach Book Company, Ore.

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