A Tea Party for the New Year

"Declaration of Independence" by John Trumbull

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”           Thomas Jefferson

There has been a look standing debate among historians as to who is stepping on whose toes in John Trumbull’s famous painting, Declaration of Independence. There are those that claim that upon close inspection of the original work, which today hangs in the rotunda of the Capitol in Washington DC, one will notice that Thomas Jefferson is stepping on the foot of John Adams. For those whose political leanings are more “Anti-Federalist,” John Adams is viewed as the offending party. No matter which camp one falls into, it seems that from the very founding of the republic the quest for our inalienable rights has meant tripping up the efforts of those Americans that had a different point of view as to the meaning of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Regrettably, during the last several months the debate over healthcare has exacerbated the cancerous partisanship and deepened the discord of our citizens. We seem to have lost sight of the fundamental fact that the health of our nation is dependent upon how we treat and care for each other.

As we begin a new year it is our profound wish that we can meet the challenges going forward with a renewed spirit of cooperation and reconciliation. Here’s hoping for many more “Beer Summits” in 2010 – or at the very least a few cordial tea parties.

The staff of American Public House Review wishes everyone a Happy and Healthful New Year!

Posted by: Chris Poh



A Very Merry Christmas From American Public House Review

The Old Town Bar - New York City

And May God Bless Us, Every One! 

Published in: Uncategorized on December 25, 2009 at 2:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fare Thee Well to the Molly Maguires Pub in Jim Thorpe

Sadly, history is about to repeat itself once again, as it was on that infamous day in June of 1877 –  there will no reprieve for the Molly Maguires.  

At some point during the evening of December 20th,2009 the last pint will be drawn,  toasts will shared,  tears will be shed – and the Molly Maguires Pub in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania will close its doors forever.

I will not comment on those  circumstances that brought about the demise of this much-loved institution, other than to say that the  self interests and intrigues of a business are not always in harmony with the needs and desires of the clientele. Having just suffered through a similar loss of my own favorite local, (the over two-year closure of the bar at the National Hotel in Frenchtown, NJ),  I can more than empathize with the citizens of Jim Thorpe.

Taverns like Molly’s are much more than just a place to grab a beer and a burger. Besides providing employment they define the character of the area, they become a repository of local lore and  history, they are a measure of a town’s hospitality and integrity – they are in short the lifeblood and lifeline of a community!


As for myself, every visit to Jim Thorpe over the last nine years has begun and ended with a pint of Murphy’s Irish Amber at that wonderful bar. I am very thankful to the  gracious staff and generous customers that always made it feel like home. For the sake of all the good people in Jim Thorpe, I hope and pray that a new vision and vitality finds its way to the place that was the Molly Maguire’s Pub…Fare Thee Well!                                                                                                  

Posted by: Chris Poh

Paying tribute to John Lennon

Each of us has certain dates on the calendar that we just can’t forget.  Whether it is a birthday or anniversary, sometimes just seeing the date pop up on our cell phone or calendar brings back to us a rush of memories.  Now I have never been one who could be described as good with dates, but today’s date is one that will always conjure up a feeling of sadness for me no matter how many years go by.  December 8th was the day John Lennon was killed.

Last year I had the opportunity to return to one of Manhattan’s great pubs, the Ear Inn on Spring Street.  Besides centuries of history, the Ear was also reported to be a regular haunt for my boyhood hero John Lennon.  Each time I go, it’s almost like a pilgrimage to find something about Lennon that perhaps I could relate more closely to.  Even though I am too young to recall Beatlemania, Lennon and the Beatles hold a special place in my memory.  They were my first “favorite band” and Lennon was one of the reasons I wanted to become a musician.  His murder was perhaps the first such event to awaken me to the world outside my suburban home.

Thanks to something called “Rockband”, which has been described to me by kids I coach in soccer as something of a video game involving famous musicians, the Beatles have moved back to their rightful place atop the collective consciousness of popular music.  Sure I may have to settle for watching a digitized cartoon version of the boys from Liverpool, but the music is the same.  And to have a 15 year old ask me what Beatles album I think they should get for Christmas warms my heart and gives me hope that their influence upon Rock and Roll will never fade.

by Dave McBride

Another Christmas in the Trenches

The Christmas Truce of 1914

On December 1, 2009 another President of the United States went in front of the American public to make a case for war, in this instance a continuation and escalation of the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. Within seconds of the completion of his speech at West Point, the usual banal chatter, speculation, and political posturing flooded all avenues of electronic communication.

During my nearly six decades of life almost every sitting Commander-in-Chief  has had to justify to our citizens the need to commit troops to combat. Being a person who has watched The Magnificent Seven no less than fifty times, I certainly believe that the good guys should always save the village from the evil bandidos. And having fallen the Camelot spell  on a number of occasions, I tend to align myself with the Arthurian tradition of “might for the cause of right.” So like many of my fellow citizens, I consider myself a peaceful man with a gunslinger’s heart.

On balance though, we as a nation or species have very little to show as a result of our armed squabbles. For most of mankind there has been  little cause for celebration since the end of the Second World War. In the wake of our brutal and bloody  ideological struggles there has been nothing but broken bodies, broken minds, broken souls, broken communities, and broken promises. The current nature of warfare does not seem to allow for clear-cut winners and losers, just days with a bit less bloodshed and a few less casualties. Perhaps this frustrating realization might cause all  participants in the folly to finally make a case for peace…or at least a very long truce.

The staff and writers of  American Public House Review raise a glass to all our  men and women in the armed forces of the United States. We pray for their protection and safe return–and we look to that day when none of our soldiers will have to spend another Christmas in harm’s way.

This haunting and poignant piece by John McCutcheon continues to capture the sentiment best.

Posted by: Chris Poh for American Public House Review

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