June 26, 2017 – This week, our time machine visits New York City’s oldest bar, McSorley’s Old Ale House. Our theme song, “New York Ain’t New York Anymore,” laments the loss of places where “the sawdust is gone from the floor.” Well in this East Village landmark, where the clock has literally stopped, and that means still spreading the sawdust every morning — and that they refused to admit women until a federal court forced them to in 1970 (or build them their own bathroom until 1986).
Founded in 1854 by John McSorley and carried on by his son Bill, this saloon serves only two kinds of ale — light or dark — and always by the pair. Our guest this week, author Rafe Bartholomew, grew up in the bar like Old Bill before him. Rafe’s father is Geoffrey “Bart” Bartholomew, who has spent half a century behind the taps and had thousands of New York Moments, from serving the New York Rangers ale out of the Stanley Cup in 1994, to bringing U2’s Bono down to earth with a curt, “Boner who?”
Rafe’s book is titled: Two and Two: McSorley’s, My Dad, and Me, and it’s as an heir to Joseph Mitchell’s famous 1940 piece in the New Yorker: “The Old House at Home.” Rafe is also the author of Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin’ in Flip-Flops and the Philippines’ Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball, and was one of the original editors of Grantland. Find Rafe at Rafeboogs on Twitter or RafeBartholomew.com, and check out Bart’s works of saloon-inspired verse in The McSorley Poems: Voices from New York City’s Oldest Pub, as well as Volume 2: Light or Dark, at TheMcSorleyPoems.net.