The moving, award-winning memoir, now available as an enhanced ebook, including audio clips narrated by the author, family photos, a new author Q&A, and an excerpt from Moehringer’s debut novel, Sutton.
Full of heart, drama, and exquisite comic timing, The Tender Bar is the story of a boy striving to become a man and his romance with a bar. J.R. Moehringer grew up captivated by a voice: It was the sound of his missing father, a disc jockey who disappeared before J.R. spoke his first word. As a boy, he would press his ear to the radio, straining to hear in that plummy baritone the secrets of masculinity and identity. Though J.R.’s mother was his world, his anchor, he needed something else, something more, something he couldn’t name.
At eight years old, suddenly unable to find the voice on the radio, he turned to the bar on the corner, a grand old New York saloon that was a sanctuary for all types of men—cops and poets, actors and lawyers, gamblers and stumblebums. The alphas along the bar—including J.R.’s Uncle Charlie, a Humphrey Bogart look-alike; Colt, a Yogi Bear soundalike; and Joey D, a softhearted brawler—taught him, tended him, and provided a kind of fatherhood-by-committee.
When the time came for J.R. to leave home, the bar became a place to regroup during his journeys—from his entrance to Yale, to his dream job at the New York Times, which became a nightmare when he found himself a faulty cog in a vast machine. Through it all, the bar offered shelter from failure, rejection, and eventually from reality. Riveting, moving, and achingly funny, The Tender Bar is at once an evocative portrait of one boy’s struggle to become a man and a touching depiction of how some men, at heart, remain lost boys.
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