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Showing 1-10 of 367 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 553 reviews
on August 23, 2016
An engaging story of growing up in a turbulent time, with a loving hard working mother and several strong caring men of the local bar. Well written and honest, with heartfelt emotions associated with the young mans life experiences. Except for the epilogue, this could be any mans story of growing up, being influenced by the family and company of proud men. The child and young man without a father, in any community tavern, make a strong case for the character and strength of men, and a boy becoming a man. The story centers on a truly American bar and the cadre of folks that are regulars. The book also provides excellent insight on the roll of drinking and the implications associated with being a regular. This book feels very personal, and of the authors soul. Thank you JR.
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on May 10, 2017
His writing was fine, but the content was boring. JR had a difficult life growing up but he missed opportunities in his life.
He fills this book with characters who are interesting enough but once you get to know them, he repeats their appeal
throughout the book which is boring. The end is predictable but that was ok. Just to tedious to read.
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on January 24, 2017
The Tender Bar is a memoir of J. R, Moehringer's upbringing in a dysfunctional family. J.R.'s father left his mother, refusing to take responsibility for his child. J.R. lives on and off with his mother at his grandparents' home in Manhasset. Long Island. His grandfather is erratic and strange, but he pays the bills. The mother is a model of determination and pulls herself and her son out of dependency. J.R. spends much of his childhood living at his grandparent's home in the summers and becomes friends with men at a local bar where his uncle serves drinks. His relationships with the men in the bar eventually provide him with the male companionship and mentoring that he so strongly desires. He receives a degree from Yale, only to fail to find a profession. He is aimless for several years tying to find himself, becoming involved with a woman who abandons him many times until he has had enough. How he evolves into an adult is the main theme of this book. The book is well written and the characters are realistic and intriguing.
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VINE VOICEon August 6, 2011
If you've ever wondered why drinking in a public group is more enjoyable, or wondered where you felt safest growing up, or gave any thought at all to how you might have given yourself a clearer pathway to your future, J.R. Moehringer's Memoir will help. This wonderful book, bursting with the most honest, convivial view of tavern life since I read Pete Hamill, isn't just for fun, though. It carries an important message about belonging and about believing in whatever you need to in order to survive. Moehringer's "JR" is a lonely, disaffected kid who finds himself revealed most clearly, in the company of tavern-goers and barkeeps. His journey towards finding where he belongs, is in many ways, follows a universal roadmap. Most young men have been on that road. Having spent some time in similar circumstances, I agree with the writer that while the unique reasons that bring drinkers to a bar may identify them as individuals, it's the transformative nature of the society that enfolds them, barside, that's worthy of acknowledgement.

Plus, if you're a Long Islander (I mean, from Brooklyn to Montauk) you know these guys really, really well. The writer has given us a sense of place that turns these small towns golden. For anyone who's raised a glass and leaned into a curved oak bar top, this reads like an old friend.
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on July 11, 2014
The writing and metaphors are exquisite: “While I fear that we're drawn to what abandons us, and to what seems most likely to abandon us, in the end I believe we're defined by what embraces us.” I was drawn in the beginning and toward the end.

As someone who for many years had a "Tender Bar" I know what it is like to receive love from misfits. I too am one of those. I also knew the coin would "flip" as alcohol is a strange bedfellow. It draws you in and leaves you hanging as everyone nurses there own crazy.

But my problem was the middle of the book where he just went on an on with one more "oh let me tell you this cute story" about Uncle Charlie, or "gee wasn't this philosophical of Bob the Cop." I got it and after awhile I found myself skipping through pages of antidotes after antidotes.

I also found him playing stupid. He went to Yale and later Harvard and yet he plays down his intelligence. To be naive to the world was one thing, but stupid, no. And he tied way too neat a bow on why Sidney really left him, for, of course, a trust fund baby. Could it be, that she saw his love for the bar a sign of alcoholism? Or that she was superficial and wanted to marry someone with money like she had? Nah I didn't buy his love of Publicans was the bow he wanted it to be.

All in all, it is wonderfully written, but just too stuffed with filler in the middle.
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on April 14, 2017
I don't have an interest in bars or drinking, nor for that matter, am I a guy, so on the surface, this would not have been a book for me. However, JR has crafted a beautiful, sentimental and comedic memoir cleverly hitting metaphors that deliver tears and laughter and paint many portraits through time.
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on April 20, 2013
This is a well written, unique and often poignant memoir by a former LA Times reporter. In a genre awash with repetitive books about recovering addicts, Moehringer chooses a much more original slant--the story of a man's relationship with a bar from the time he's a small boy until he reaches mature adulthood. Along the way, the men at Pubicans in Manhassett, New York educate him, offer him solace and encouragement and teach him how to steer his way through the uncertain waters of young manhood.

Using this hook, Moehringer introduces his readers to a wide variety of interesting characters ranging from Steve, the benevolent bar owner to Uncle Charlie, the bald bartender and bookmaker to Bob the Cop, Crazy Grandpa and The Voice, the radio presence of the author's absent father. This a cast of oddball people that would feel at home in a novel by Charles Dickens. Moehringer is above all a storyteller and his memoir is filled with wonderful stories. The author writes with clarity and compassion and I would highly recommend this book to book clubs looking for a good read that will spark discussion or any reader who just wants to know what it was like to grow up in a bar.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon September 16, 2005
"There's a place my friends and I like to go." "Name it." "Do you remember where the old Publicans used to be?" J.R.Moehringer is trying to convince an old friend to talk about 9/11, and they end up where J. R. Moehringer grew up, the Publican, a bar in Manhasset, Long Island.

Of all the places in the world that you remember from your youth, how many of us remember the neighborhood bar? Not many, I would guess. But this memoir seems right, seems true and the sanctuary that Publicans gave J.R. is the kind of place we dream of going back to. Of course, none of us can really go home again.

J.R. Moehringer has a gift, the kind of gift his mother always dreamed her son would have. Not the gift of law as a lawyer, but the gift of telling the story, the story of a bar and the love found within. J.R.'s mom was the center of his life, and she was the one who helped shape him into becoming the man he is today.. J.R., didn't really want the dots after his initials, just like he didn't really want the name. The name of his father, the man who left his life early on and in the leaving almost killed J.R.'s mother. They lived with his mother's folks, grandpa and grandma. In an old house kept together with duct tape. The house bothered his mother, and she kept trying to leave, but with the little amount of money she made, they somehow had to keep moving back to the old house. J.R. tried to find his life in the house with all of his relatives, and it was his Uncle Chas who had the most effect on him. Chas was a bartender at the Publican, and this is where J.R. gravitated when they would let him in. He spent summers with the inhabitants at the beach, and the evenings at the bar. He learned to drink at the bar when he was old enough, and he learned about life, love and whiskey. The people were all glorious and bigger than life and knew the story of J,R,; every turn and every detail that happened along the way.

We spend a lot of time at Yale, and we know how excited and how difficult life was for J.R. Sidney, the first love and the most difficult to leave. In fact, a little piece of Sidney lives with J.R., but he was able to leave her when he knew it was time. His cousin McGraw, a lovely girl Michelle, the guys at the bar; Steve, Colt, Joey D, Uncle Charlie, Jimbo, Smelly, Cager and Bob the Cop; all real life characters from his life at the bar. They helped teach him everything he knew. He was their son, the one who made good, the one they were proud of, the one who would lead the kind of life they all wished for. The "Times", Lord & Taylor, Arizona and the Publican, all places that make the life of J.R. J.R.Moehringer opens his heart and his life for us to view. I know the hurts, disappointments, good times, loves won and lost, and the father that disappointed over and over, but was always "The Voice" in your head. J.R. Moehringer, a talented writer to be remembered.

Recommend. prisrob
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on April 2, 2017
Beautiful story about how someone CAN overcome obstacles that are thrown to them as a child. So much we take for granted. Maybe that is why he is such a good writer.
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on September 15, 2013
I loved this memoir. J.R. Moehringer is an amazing writer and has a fascinating life story to tell. The author's father, a DJ who abandoned him, is just a voice on the radio. Moehringer's mother connects her son to his uncle, a bartender, and consequently to a unique crew of bar regulars. The bar, and the men who frequent it, both save him as a child and almost bring him down as an adult. This memoir is so well written, and the author's life is so fascinating, I could not put this down. This funny and poignant book is among my all time favorite memoirs. This year I have loved Sutton, Moehringer's novel, as well as Open, Agassi's biography which was written with the help of Moehringer. This writer has amazing talent. It was cool to read the story of the man behind that talent. I give this memoir my highest recommendation.
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