McSorley’s on St. Paddy’s Day

March 17, 2011 at 5:59 AM | Posted in Back Where I Come From | Leave a comment
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A friend of mine in college said that professional drinkers leave New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day to the amateurs. I loved the line immediately but in no sense followed his thought.

It was understood at Burroughs  in the mid-seventies that we would stop by the office on March 17 and then after coffee we head to the city and the great McSorley’s. It’s famous for many things and is the oldest continuing running bar in the US, arguably since 1854. Abraham Lincoln stopped by one day. Back when I started going, the bar was no longer “Men only” — they lost that battle in court in 1970 but was still just one toilet.

One does not order beer in McSorley’s, only ale and they serve it two mugs at a time. Their cheese and crackers with Irish “custard” — a mustard made of Coleman’s mustard and ales, while perhaps an acquired taste, is great. It is so hot!

In those days, on St. Patrick’s Day, we got fully and beautifully drunk in a way that does not appeal to me now.We got to the ‘Old Alehouse’ early, before the hordes, and settled in for the long haul.  Somehow, we could talk for hours in a non-distracted way that is seemingly impossible now with our Blackberry’s and iPads.

Today I’ll listen to old Clancy Brothers records and I’ll put on the great John McCormack, a reveller in repose.

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