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Two and Two: McSorley's, My Dad, and Me

About the Book

Two and Two: McSorley's, My Dad, and Me

A deeply stirring memoir of growing up in New York City's oldest Irish bar. 

McSorley's Old Ale House has been serving light and dark ale in New York City's East Village since 1854. Although a Supreme Court ruling forced them to allow women inside in the 1970s, many of the bar's quirks have been constant for over a century, down to the newspaper-covered walls, Houdini's handcuffs on display, the raw onions and its sawdust-strewn floors.

But it's not just the decorations and attitude that stayed the same, it's the people who work and drink there. Rafe Bartholomew's father has been a bartender there for 40 years, and since he was a young boy, Rafe has considered the bar a second home, doing odd jobs and chores for the staff until he was old enough to start slinging ales himself. It became the place he and his dad mourned his mom, and it remains the place in which they're closest. The stories that he has from his years at McSorley's--and the stories he heard from his father --- are touching, humorous, crude, moving and always authentically New York. 

TWO AND TWO is a memoir of place --- both a bar and a city --- but also of the community of people who make up one of the last vestiges of a world that is quickly vanishing, and a look inside a father-son relationship that asks questions about living up to our fathers' expectations, following in their footsteps and growing up.

Two and Two: McSorley's, My Dad, and Me
by Rafe Bartholomew

  • Publication Date: May 9, 2017
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • ISBN-10: 0316231592
  • ISBN-13: 9780316231596