Earlier this month, McSorley’s Old Ale House celebrated its 159th birthday. Geoffrey “Bart” Bartholomew has been a barman at the saloon for 40 of those years. His son has worked there on and off throughout most of his twenties.
Mr. Bartholomew moved to New York City from Ohio to pursue a writing career. After struggling to capture the essence of the history-clad, sawdust-covered tavern in form of short stories or novels, he found his voice in poetry. Last year, “The McSorley Poems Volume II — Light or Dark” was published by Charlton Street Press.
Now, his son Rafe — a writer for the popular sports website Grantland — is trying to tell those kinds of stories in his own way. Having spent most of his childhood at McSorley’s, Rafe feels a special connection to the place. After a three-year absence, he moved back to New York from Los Angeles, and now works as a stand-in for his father every other week, or sometimes even side-by-side with him.
In our video, above, Rafe tells us more about the book he’s writing about the bar.