Writing can be a lonely profession, so can you really blame ’em for spending a little time at their favorite watering hole? Or, OK, a lot of time? Given writers’ reputation for being booze-hounds, they probably know the best bars to hang out at. A new book, “Come Here Often?” (out October 15) exposes 53 writers’ favorite hang-outs.
Author Sean Manning explains in the intro that the idea for the book came to him after iconic New York City bars such as Mars Bar and Elaine’s closed down in 2011. The book is structured into nine sections: dives (hey, writers need cheap drinks), upscale joints, far-flung (Hunter R. Slaton favors a bar in Antarctica), the management (places known for their friendly bar staff), the music, romance, friends, family and identity. Here, we highlight a few local places.
Like writers, actors are pretty boozy, too. Click here to read some drunken bar stories from Hollywood’s heavyweights.
New York City
The writer: Madison Smartt Bell
The bar: Milano’s (51 E. Houston St.)
The backstory:Bell reminisces about living in New York in the ’70s, when a $20 bill was enough to get you through the week. He bar-hopped along Bowery, Bleeker and Houston streets, and stumbled into Milano’s one cold winter night. The friendly bartenders, muted black and white TV and occasional dog, gave him a hide out that felt more like home than a bar filled with strangers.
The writer: Andrew W. K.
The bar: Gabby O’Hara’s (123 W. 39th St.)
The backstory:Unlike a lot of New Yorkers, Andrew W.K. loves Midtown. He’s drawn to the chaos of Midtown, where so many different people mingle, and he decided to make this part of the city his home. Amid the chaos, he established Gabby O’Hara’s as his favorite neighborhood bar primarily because of the friendly bar staff. He became friends with the five core servers, who made it comfortable for him to wander in alone but leave feeling like he had the time of his life.
The writer: Josh Emmons
The bar: Dirty Franks (347 S. 13th St.)
The backstory:Dirty Franks is the ultimate dive bar, with floors so sticky you know they haven’t been washed in ages and somehow shockingly hasn’t been shut down by public health inspectors. So why does writer Josh Emmons love it so much? Well, one it’s cheap. Another, you can go in alone and just start talking to fellow locals about the things that ail Philadelphia. But most importantly, it’s authentic. With trendy places serving only craft beers and expensive wine bars taking over the old dives, it’s one place that still keeps it real – and won’t kick you out if you’re drunk and spill half a pitcher on the floor.
What’s your favorite bar? Share it on the “Come Here Often?” website!
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence