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Drinking with Men: A Memoir Hardcover – January 24, 2013

3.7 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Drinking memoirs generally fall into two categories: “Never again” and “Pour me another.” Schaap, who writes the “Drink” column for the New York Times Magazine, has composed one of the latter, an ode to the “great tradition of regularhood” advocating “equal regularhood rights for women.” From her teenage discovery of the bar car on the Metro-North New Haven Line; to her college years at the Pig, in North Bennington, Vermont; to a marriage-ending epiphany at Else’s, in Montreal, Schaap charts her path from adolescence to adulthood, bar by bar, sometimes having a few too many but always finding the sense of community and belonging she clearly craves. Early passages can seem a bit naive, as when she suggests bars’ negative depiction in popular culture (what about Cheers?) or when she just can’t understand what her friends and family have against her new pals from the bar. But, as her remembered self ages, deeper and richer insights emerge. Ultimately, this is as much about growing up in bars as it is growing out of them. --Keir Graff


"Schaap brings a poet's touch to her memoir, which brims with insight and wisdom."
–Jimmy Breslin

“This book will be a classic. There is so much joy in this book! It’s a great, comforting, wonderful, funny, inspiring, moving memoir about community and belief and the immense redemptive powers of alcohol drunk properly.”

—Kate Christensen, author of In the Drink and The Great Man

"There are bar stories and there are coming-of-age stories. And then there is Rosie Schaap's thoughtful and funny chronicle that reminds us of all the drinks, dives, and deep conversations that helped make us who we are. This is a wise, engaging memoir."
—Wendy McClure, author of The Wilder Life and I’m Not the New Me

“Schaap warmly toasts the urge so many of us share to find a spot where everybody knows your name.”

“A witty homage to pubs and bars and the regulars who call them home.”
O Magazine 

“[Schaap] describes the unusual camaraderie among bar ‘regulars’ with poignant specificity. It’s a cozy, intimate pleasure to go belly-to-bar with her.”
Entertainment Weekly

"With focused premise and expansive feeling... [and] very smart assessments of a mode of being that’s not given the credit it deserves. 'Drinking With Men' would pair very well this time of year with a well-aged whiskey and a handful of peanuts."
The Boston Globe

“A wonderfully funny and openhearted book from a generous, charismatic writer… [Schaap is] a born storyteller… There's no substitute for the kind of community you can find in a good tavern. And no American writer can explain it better than Rosie Schaap.”

“Rosie Schaap’s New York Times column on the pleasures of drinking has always been—like the best bartenders—funny, smart, and slightly bawdy. This memoir is also all those things—and there’s no hangover.”
W Magazine

“Beautifully rendered.
”—The Daily Beast

“Funny, smart-as-hell, moving.”

“Witty…a vivid study of both Schaap’s life in bars, often as one of the few women regulars, and a gimlet-eyed exploration of modern bar culture.”
Chicago Tribune

“[Schaap] has a way with words, writing about her experiences in the bars of her life in a heartfelt, honest, and relatable way. I would like to request a drink pairing with each chapter.”
The Atlantic Wire 

“Phenomenal… Schaap is an expert storyteller.”
Food & Wine

“Ms. Schaap has a gift for camaraderie—and excellent taste in booze.”
New York Observer 

“Pour yourself a double and let Schaap’s writing amuse and enchant you.”

“Schaap is a gifted storyteller.”
Time Out Chicago

“Witty, compassionate…a meditation on learning how to drink well, wisely, and with eyes wide open…if you want an elegy to good bars and a stiff drink, Schaap has you covered.”
Full Stop

Drinking With Men will have you raising a glass to its incomparable author and the great bar-stool stories she tells.”
Flavorwire.com (Best Nonfiction books of 2013)

“Lively … [Rosie Schaap] is an energetic and warm storyteller, and the book celebrates bar culture at its best.”

“A perfect book for the beach, plane or coffee table — and, most especially, for anyone who loves hanging out in bars but can't quite put their finger on why…[a] fun, honest memoir.”
NPR (Best Books of 2013)

“Beautifully composed…detailed and genuine…the stories just seem to tell themselves.”
Library Journal (Best Books of 2013)


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; First Edition edition (January 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594487111
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594487118
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is so beautifully written, and although it's about life in bars, it's also about life in general. Tears came to my eyes on more than a few occasions as I read Drinking with Men, and I got my fair share of chuckles from it, too.

When I reached the end, I not only felt as though I knew Rosie Schaap really well, I felt as though I loved her, too, just like I love many of the people I've hung out with at bars over the years--for their insights, for their honesty, and because they've been kindred spirits.

This is a book that I'll re-read over and over again. Sort of a bar-goers Bible if you will.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are so may ways most of us can identify with in Rosie's journey - drinking with men is simply a metaphor for how women find their place in the universe. I love that she uses the bar culture as a common equalizer of the sexes. It's not the pick-up bar or the sports bar she frequents, but the neighborhood bar where you have to humble yourself to your core and set your soul vulnerable. Believe me, the book is not this esoteric. Rosie leads us to the place better than group therapy, a place - when stumbled upon - can keep us sane.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a man, and a writer and someone who enjoys a drink I'm happy to add this little book to my library of books on bars. Seriously. Here Rosie Schaap's memoir will sit alongside Pete Hamill's A Drinking Life, J.R. Moehring's Tender Bar, and Malachy McCourt's several titles. As a look at the intricacies of the bar culture, Drinking With Men displays a joyful abandon and a new point of view. It arrives at a few important conclusions regarding the unwritten rules of bar conduct that guarantee safe passage. But there's more here than that alone. Ms. Schaap has considerable skills as a storyteller and overall, the book lurches, leaps, struggles and dances along on her search for a sense of belonging, for home in all it's senses. But one. Permanence.

If, as she points out in a pivotal chapter, self-reinvention has its price, then indeed this is the price she acknowledges with little avoidance. Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider can certainly relate to envying those who can move as she does, effortlessly through different social milieu, even if the label of outsider was self applied. There is a great deal to consider in these pages about one's self-worth and self-knowledge. Especially a sense of one's connection with the world around them and the constant need for varying depths of communication. Give and take.

In the end, for me, it was very clear that Ms. Schaap has certainly found a substantial home, if not in her choice of drinking haunts, then in the community of writers. I look forward to her next work, especially her fiction, which I hope will not be long in coming.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rosie Schaap's "Drinking With Men" perfectly captures that combination of electric-comforting-elegant-underbelly that is a life as a bar regular. The book is an absolute pleasure to read, and on many levels, too. Schaap is both a poet and expert BS-sniffer, a real latter-day New York City dame. Her writing is not unlike soccer, the sport she loves: equal parts elegance and kicks, smooth and sharp. It's filled with wonderful stories that give insight both into Schaap's story and character and also offer a refreshingly positive view of bar culture. There are reasons why people become regulars and, as Schaap illustrates, alcoholism isn't necessarily one of them. The intriguing tension of the book is that while Schaap has forged deep and lasting relationships and downed many pints of Guinness with friends and strangers she remains, quite literally, an outsider, too: the teenager reading tarot cards in the Metro North bar car, the American abroad and, as the title suggests, the woman among men. What does it mean to belong? To this reader, that is the central and most affecting question asked throughout the profoundly entertaining, expertly-written "Drinking With Men."
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Schnaap is a seductive narrator with a subtle, slightly sarcastic wit. While this book is undeniably set in the world of bars and drinkers, the central message concerns the comraderie and stimulation of a world designed for talking to strangers. In each chapter, she shares a stage of her life and the places she found in which to comfort herself and hone her identity.

While she often finds particular friends and companions, most important is the craic. Craic is an Irish term, clearly learned in a Dublin bar, meaning discourse, conversation, banter. "It must flow freely, it must have rhythm, and it must not be dominated by a single participant.". At the same time she must face the fact that bar culture is essentially male. She wants to be one of the guys, but in subsequent chapters, she also finds herself seeking affectionate relationships. The people she encounters are primarily described with clarity and affection. I enjoy her quick eye and empathetic heart. She is able to find quirky interst in the most improbable of people.

"In succeeding centuries...people of all classes made increasing use of drinking establishments as marketplaces for ideas.". This is a bewitching concept. While I have never found this to be the case, I cede the point that I have never really looked for the right place. I have a problem with the glorifying of alcohol as the basic need in social contact. This book seldom recounts the cost of alcohol on body and intellect, although she does recount the dismal mornings following particularly misguided binges. And she seldom introduces those who consistently wreck havoc upon themselves and their families. The alcohol of the story is presented with mostly dreamy fondness. The scenes are not lurid and buffoonery is not a goal.
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