The Cycle | January 25, 2013
>>> our next guest at one point or another is everybody's best friend . the bartender! it's a position that holds a very serious cache in every day life and cultural history . some of america's favorite books are drinking mem mors like pete hamill , but did any of them spend 13,000 hours in bars? rosy schapp has and all-time regular, she spent most of the life crisscrossing the globe in search of the perfect watering hole and the perfect sense of community . her expertise landed her a contributing gig with this american life on npr and "the new york times" and you can read about her experiences in the new book "drinking with men, a memoir." welcome.
>> thank you. it's great to be here.
>> you almost make a feminist argument that women don't go to bars alone to drink alone. they don't become regulars because of this double standard in society and i think you are right. i don't go to bars alone. i don't drink anywhere regularly. but is that really a bad thing? why are you trying to push women in to bars?
>> because i think they'll meet really great people and make lifelong friends in bars and find a great community in a neighborhood bar. i'm not saying go to a fancy hotel bar, go to, you know, a luxurious cocktail bar. once in a while i love doing those things but i think your corner bar, the neighborhood bar can just be a really surprising source of comfort and stability and an anchor in a person's life.
>> yeah. i mean, i guess the key is finding a place and becoming a regular there. i was having a conversation with a few female friends of mine and they hate going to barrels whether it's alone obviously or in a group because when they go out, there's just this assumption it seems among every male in the bar they're there looking to, you know, to meet and --
>> and they get approached and terrible stuff.
>> right, right.
>> cheesy pick-up lines. i guess i'm saying what is the key to finding the kind of place you're talking about where you are not going to have to run in to the johnny sleazeball.
>> sure. you could run in to johnny sleazeball anywhere. that could happen. but i think if it's a bar already rooted where you live, a neighborhood bar, once you start going and once you start to get to know the bartenders, you sort of become part of the family and i know as a bartender and as a regular, i've always looked after the people who i serve at the bar where i work. and i've always felt looked after by the bartenders i have come to know really well. and i think a lot of it has to do with reading a bar. you walk in to a bar. it's really loud, really crowded. you can kind of get that meat market feeling from certain bars right away. where a much more low-key, friendly, unpreten house is neighborhood bar won't send out those signals because they're not really there. it's a place to relax and you don't have to get dressed up and it's very easy to ease in to regularhood in places like that.
>> what about pregnant ladies at bars?
>> bad idea. i'm not endorsing that.
>> so the there's been a huge decline of community institutions in america, well documented in the book "boeing alone." is that what this is really about? about, finding a community in a country where there aren't a lot of places to have a real community ?
>> absolutely. that's pretty much what this is all about. i think it's true that community has gotten harder to find, but i still think we all yearn for it, and when i started going to bars a long time ago, probably a little younger than i should have, i didn't know that was what i was looking for, but the more i became part of bar culture, i realized that that was the place that wasn't home, wasn't school, wasn't work where i could meet people and have great conversations and actually learn from my fellow drinkers.
>> before we get out of here, i just want to say that, you know, huge admirer of the work of your father. legendary writer. your brother jeremy is carving out a nice little career.
>> go big red .
>> big things in his future i think.
>> i think so.
>> but you say you're monogamous with your bars and you delineate your chapters on the different bars you have loved in new york. so dive bars or classy bars, which do you prefer and why?
>> i kind of like both and i think what i like best is actually something between the two. i don't think a neighborhood bar is inevidently a dive. i think a dive is a class of its own and there's many dives i love, but, you know, i think one difference in a good neighborhood bar rather than a dive, you can rely on finding a relatively clean restroom, which i really appreciate. so that's a little bit of a difference. a good clean neighborhood bar, but i love a dive on a good divy night, too.
>> rosy toure mentioned your brother there. i remember watching his most famous interview with bobby knight but i was in a bar watching that. i remember having a conversation a few years ago with somebody about whether televisions in bars are a good thing or a bad thing, whether they kind of ruin the community vibe because everybody starts paying attention to the tv and not talking to each other or maybe they foster more conversation because people come and they have this shared experience watching the game or the bobby knight interview, whatever it is. what do you think of that?
>> i was having a panic attack during that interview actually. i thought he was going to strangle my brother and i was at home. i wasn't at a bar. that can go both ways. i'm a sports fan and i love to go to my local soccer bar in brooklyn and watch matches with people and get kind of loud . most of the time when i'm hanging out in a bar i put a premium on conversation. anywhere where there's a blaring tv or the music is too loud, i don't think that facilitates the kind of community i love about bars.
>> thank you for stopping by.
>> thank you so much. it was fun.