September 2, 2007

Meet Me in the Bar:
Classic Drinks from America’s Historic Hotels
Thomas Connors, with photography by Ericka McConnell

Happy Hours, Indeed – Years ago I wrote a short story titled, “Happy Hours,” which began:

The idea, like all of his good ideas lately, came while he was drinking. A book, Dick Sullivan thought. A coffee table book with heavy, white paper and rich, textured photographs of the best hotel bars in America. The Round Robin at the Willard in Washington, D.C. The Bookstore Bar at the Alexis in Seattle. The lobby of the Algonquin in New York. The bar in the Pump Room at the Ambassador East in Chicago. Yes. And, woven throughout, a winding, wistful essay – his words – examining the decisive role hotel bars have played in the unfolding American drama.
In the story, twice-divorced, down-on-his-luck salesman Dick Sullivan fantasizes about illustrating his book with photographs made by his neighbor back home in Milwaukee, Mary Kelly. The good news is Meet Me in the Bar is a much better book than Dick and Mary would ever publish; but, of course, the book in my story, like Dick’s love for Mary, would never be consummated. Meet Me in the Bar features many examples, minor and major, of the convergence of fact-and-fiction, of the coming together of real-life, dream-life and out-and-out fiction, which, of course, is the story of every hotel and every hotel bar everywhere in the world.


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