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The Tender Bar

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529394429

Price: £10.99

ON SALE: 25th November 2021

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Biography: General

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**Now a major film directed by George Clooney and starring Ben Affleck**

‘Highly entertaining . . . constructed as skilfully as a drink mixed by the author’s Uncle Charlie’ New York Times

In the rich tradition of bestselling memoirs about self-invention, The Tender Bar is by turns riveting, moving, and achingly funny. An evocative portrait of one boy’s struggle to become a man, it’s also a touching depiction of how some men remain lost boys.

JR Moehringer grew up listening for a voice, the voice of his missing father, a DJ who disappeared before JR spoke his first words. As a boy, JR would press his ear to a battered clock radio, straining to hear in that resonant voice the secrets of identity and masculinity. When the voice disappeared, JR found new voices in the bar on the corner. A grand old New York saloon, the bar was a sanctuary for all sorts of men — cops and poets, actors and lawyers, gamblers and stumblebums. The flamboyant characters along the bar taught JR, tended him, and provided a kind of fatherhood by committee. Torn between his love for his mother and the lure of the bar, JR forged a boyhood somewhere in the middle.

When the time came to leave home, the bar became a way station — from JR’s entrance to Yale, where he floundered as a scholarship student; to Lord & Taylor, where he spent a humbling stint peddling housewares; to the New York Times, where he became a faulty cog in a vast machine. The bar offered shelter from failure, from rejection, and eventually from reality, until at last the bar turned JR away.


Moehringer writes with a survivor's wisdom . . . The Tender Bar is a memoir, but has the texture of a novel.
Sunday Telegraph
The best memoirist of his kind since Mary Karr wrote The Liars' Club . . . hilarious stumblebum wisdom and a born raconteur's ease. Highly entertaining . . . constructed as skilfully as a drink mixed by the author's Uncle Charlie.
New York Times
Moehringer's depictions of the bar and the culture that thrives there are always vivid, and his affection for his subjects is tangible . . . an engaging delight.
San Francisco Chronicle
In his gimlet-eyed memoir, The Tender Bar, J. R. Moehringer lovingly and affectionately toasts a boyhood spent on a barstool.
Vanity Fair
The genuine tension in the story lies in the distance between who young J. R. Moehringer was and who he wanted to be. As the distance shrinks, you'll want to cheer. But the cheer will die in your throat after you realize that once the gap has narrowed all the way, the story will be over. The only thing wrong with this terrific debut is that there has to be a closing time.
The Tender Bar is a beautiful, gravelly love letter to [an] amorphous father, a melancholy romance between a boy and a corner saloon that's as smoky and heart-crackling as a Sinatra 78.
New York Times Book Review
Tart and uncloying like a good gin fizz, a generous pouring-forth of details and dialogue about social classes and the institutions that prop them up. The Tender Bar is quite simply . . . wunder-bar!
New York Observer
You'd have to go back a ways, maybe all the way to Joseph Mitchell, to find a writer who understands bar life as well as J. R. Moerhinger. The Tender Bar will make you thirsty for that life - its camaraderie, its hilarity, its seductive, dangerous wisdom.
Richard Russo
A memoir about coming of age in, of all unlikely places, a great American bar. Blessedly, Moehringer's story is both joyous and triumphant.
David Halberstam
Simply a wonderful book about a heaven of a life that had everything going against it except intense love worth more than all the money in the world. Everyone in it is incredibly alive, everyone shines, and every vice is transformed into something glorious. If only whiskey, the heady aroma of which floats from certain pages, gave as much pure happiness as reading this book does.
James Salter