A Bar With A View

The photo you see below comes from Robinson’s Wharf on Southport Island in midcoast Maine.  Just a few days ago, Robinson’s opened a new bar in the downstairs restaurant area, and they made the genius decision to give their patrons sitting at the bar the best view I have ever seen at a pub.

The view from the bar at Robinson's Wharf in Southport, Maine

I don’t want to give too much away about Robinson’s here.  I had the pleasure of sitting at the new bar taking in this terrific scenery the day it opened and I can assure you we will be covering this place more extensively later this year on the American Public House Review.  But until then, enjoy the view!

By Dave McBride

Published in: on April 26, 2011 at 2:51 pm  Comments Off on A Bar With A View  
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Another Sad Farewell

Jack Hardy

 As the authors of American Public House Review take a few days to share some personal observations about the Civil War, it is only fitting that we also take the time to honor the memory of singer/songwriter Jack Hardy who passed away on March 11th of this year. Jack was a good friend who always generously gave of his time and boundless talent. We were privileged to have had the opportunity to  include some his work in our online publication. Especially, The 111th Pennsylvane, which, as I stated in an earlier post, is certainly one of the very best historical ballads ever written!

When Jack wasn’t mentoring some struggling folk artist at his apartment in Greenwich Village, there was a very good possibility he might be raising a pint at some pub in Ireland, or enjoying a glass of homemade wine at his second home in the Catskill  region of upstate New York. Interestingly, not far from this location another celebrated musician had crafted a hauntingly beautiful tune that would become forever associated with the war between the North and South.

Jay Ungar In 1982, Jay Ungar composed  “Ashokan Farewell,” a waltz melody that would later be used as the  theme for the 1990 Ken Burns PBS documentary, The Civil War. The piece is played 25 times during the eleven hours of film, and is used most notably during the reading of  Sullivan Ballou’s letter to his wife in episode one.

Ashokan Farewell” is a song about sad goodbyes–a lamenting strain that mourns the passing of time, the passing of friends, and the passing of  a way of life. It is the perfect piece of music to help us remember that great struggle that set brother against brother. And it is also the perfect piece of music to help us remember the life of  one who was a true friend and brother to America’s musical community–Jack Hardy.

  Follow this  link to hear Jay Ungar and Molly Mason perform “Ashokan Farewell.”

Posted by: Chris Poh


Published in: Uncategorized on April 21, 2011 at 6:39 pm  Comments (1)  
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Across the River to an Oasis

For years and years, my friends who live along the Delaware River implored me to check out the Inn of the Hawke in Lambterville, NJ.  Oddly enough, despite being from the Garden State, I have spent much more time on the other side of the river in New Hope, Pennsylvania, Lambertville’s more popular cross-river rival.  But after seeing the latest article by Chris Poh on the American Public House Review from the Inn of the Hawke, I knew it was time to bring this trend to an end.

The backbar at the Inn of the Hawke

The photos in the article are terrific, but this place really needs to be experienced.  A gorgeous building with a uniquely Delaware River vibe to it, the Inn of the Hawke brings all the history, architectural details, and atmosphere you can ever want in a great pub. For the beer fanatics out there, they also have an exceptionally well thought out selection of beers.  Cheers!

by Dave McBride

Win Place and Show at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

While one could spend countless hours discussing and arguing the merits and shortcomings of the military strategy of both the North and South at the Battle of Gettysburg, the outcome of that historic clash on July 1-3, 1863 might just have been decided by the actions of three men on horseback.

Certainly the North was able to hold the high ground on the first day of fighting due to the delaying tactics carried out by Union cavalry under the command of Brigadier General John Buford. And while the South had initially  fielded superior numbers, Robert E. Lee failed to press that advantage because of  insufficient battlefield intelligence. His own cavalry commander, Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, who would have normally been charged with providing reconnaissance was too far away from the main body of the Confederate forces.

By the third day of battle though, Stuart was back in the fight. The plan was to attack the Federal rear and aid General Pickett as he marched against the Union’s center on Cemetery Ridge. That scheme would ultimately be thwarted by a brash and brazen young cavalry officer who personally led the charge of  the 7th Michigan, yelling “Come on, you wolverines!” Though he would have two horses shot out from underneath him on this July afternoon, it would be on another summer’s day in 1876 that George Armstrong Custer would meet his fate under a western sky.

As we continue to remember America’s Civil War, we pay tribute to those bold horse soldiers on both sides of the struggle with a piece of music from living historian and performer Rick Garland. Click here to recount the exploits of  the “Knight of the Golden Spurs,” James Ewell Brown Stuart. 

Posted by: Chris Poh

Remembering the Civil War

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of our Civil War, the seminal event in American History.  Though it seems this important historical date has gone largely forgotten by the media, we here at Pub Talk would like to do our part in commemorating this event.

Gettysburg's Eternal Light Peace Memorial

This week, we will look back at some of the best Civil War influenced pubs and music featured on the American Public House Review.  We begin today with a pub in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania which happens to also be my personal favorite watering hole found in town, O’Rorkes Eatery and Spirits.

O'Rorke's Eatery and Spirts in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

O’Rorke’s may not be the centuries old, bullet-ridden place one may expect to find in a town like Gettysburg.  But don’t let that deter you one but.  Sit at the bar here, and you will find yourself immersed in the spirit of this haunting town.  Before long, you too will notice that you keep passing the other taverns by for a seat at the bar in O’Rorkes.

By Dave McBride

Raising the Right Ale to the Rogues of the Bering Sea

While “reality television” may be a bit of an oxymoron, like most viewers I enjoy the possibility of a big rig crashing through the ice on its way up to Prudhoe Bay, or some overly vexed gator finally getting the chance to experience the fruits of Cajun cooking–even if it is secondhand. Quite honestly though, I have very little respect or tolerance for this broadcast genre. But there is one show that I believe is worthy of its popularity and critical acclaim–the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch.

 On April 12th, the courageous crews of the Cornelia Marie, Time Bandit, Seabrooke, Ramblin Rose, Kodiak, Wizard and of course Captain Sig’s Northwestern will once again brave the deadly and unforgiving waters of the Bering Sea hoping for another bountiful harvest of the two-clawed treasure. And once again, the crew at American Public House Review will fill our glasses with that fine India Red Ale from the brewers at Rogue, as we wish all those who bring  home the catch “Fair winds and following seas.”

The hard truth is that David rarely ever beats Goliath

After weeks of hype, I was ready for the match.  My beloved Tottenham Hotspur were to take on Real Madrid, the storied “Galacticos” and perhaps the world’s grandest sports club, in the UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals.  It was the biggest match the club has seen in a generation.  We were in Manhattan early to do some research for the American Public House Review and then end our day watching the game somewhere downtown.  I had my Spurs shirt on and was prepared for anything, but one can never truly be prepared for disaster, and a 4-0 loss is nothing short of a soccer cataclysm.

Molly's Shebeen in Manhattan

After finishing our research, my plan was to head uptown a few blocks and watch the match at Nevada Smith’s, Manhattan’s most famous football pub.  Americans and ex-patriots from all over the world pack into this pub on game-day in what can usually be described as a festive atmosphere. But after seeing roughly ten minutes of play I knew the team was in for a failure of epic proportions.  So rather than stay at Nevada Smith’s and listen to the gleeful cheers of the Real Madrid faithful we decided to make the best of a bad situation and head up to my absolute favorite pub in all of Manhattan, Molly’s Shebeen.

Tottenham players after being embarrassed by Real Madrid

At Molly’s we had the pleasure of sitting alongside a couple of British ex-patriots and longtime lovers of the beautiful game.  And though they were not Tottenham Hotspur supporters they took no pleasure in watching me suffer.  Like most fans of football, they too have seen their respective clubs suffer at the hands of the world’s sporting giants, and even occasionally at the hands of a minnow or two.  Neither supported one of England’s big clubs, so we listened attentively and laughed often as they waxed poetic of the glory days on the great rain-soaked pitch of their childhood.

Brendan Behan adorns Molly's Shebeen

If I were at home I probably would have been fit to be tied, but thanks to Molly’s, and the company of her staff and regulars, the days was a great one.  I suppose the moral of the story is this is what makes a great pub.  Atmosphere and conversation are just as important, if not more so, than food and drink.  And even in your darkest sporting hours, the company of a few friends at a pub can always pull you through.  Cheers gentlemen, and may Leicester City once again return to the Cup Final.  Only this time, I know they will finally lift the trophy!

By Dave McBride

Things Football Fans are supposed to love!

There are many reasons why soccer is, by far,  the world’s most popular sport.  The drama on the field, the passion in the stands, and the seemingly endless supply of peculiar and hilarious stories all make soccer such a great sport to follow.  Last week we had artificial clouds.  This week, we get the hilarity of a great and proud London club and their now seemingly permanent relationship with Michael Jackson.  (Yes, that Michael Jackson)

Mohamed Al-Fayed and his tribute to the King of Pop

Fulham Football Club, a London based team with a legacy dating back to the late 1800’s, is owned by Mohamed Al-Fayed, an Egyptian businessman and father of the late Dodi Al-Fayed who died in a car crash with Princess Diana.  Besides being Fulham’s owner, the elder Al-Fayed apparently is also Michael Jackson’s most intense fan and he has decided all of Fulham’s faithful are as well, or at least they should be.  After erecting a statue of the King of Pop outside of Craven Cottage, the team’s home, Al-Fayed has this to say…

“Football fans love it. If some stupid fans don’t understand and appreciate such a gift, they can go to hell.  I don’t want them to be fans. If they don’t understand and don’t believe in things I believe in, they can go to Chelsea, they can go to anywhere else.”

Now it is possible that Mr. Al-Fayed had a close and personal relationship with Michael Jackson.  And it may also be possible that he believes Jackson to be the greatest singer of all time, and therefore a statue of him belongs anywhere and everywhere.  But does he really believe that if one or more of the thousands of his club’s faithful, who pay their hard-earned money to cheer on their club year after year, do not share his love for the King of Pop that they should “go to hell”?

Statue of Michael Jackson outside of Fulham's stadium in London

And what about the players?  Has he gone through his dressing room and asked what they think of Michael Jackson?  And the ones who are not such big fans of Jackson’s music, will they be moved to other clubs?  A ridiculous notion, perhaps, but this does seem like a very passionate employer we are dealing with here.

On a serious note, Al-Fayed suggests that those fans he speaks of should go find another club, and who could blame the ones that do?  And to make matters worse, he broadens his arrogance to include “all things I believe in”, a frightening idea to say the least.  Many football fans, just like fans of sports teams here in the United States, come from families who have supported their club for generations.  The least they should be allowed to do is express their dislike of such a ridiculous display of arrogance, and, by the way, a statute that looks only slightly better than a five dollar plastic christmas ornament.

But those of us across the blogosphere, and obviously only those of us who do not support Fulham, must thank Mohamed Al-Fayed for a good laugh today.  Cheers!

By Dave McBride

Published in: Uncategorized on April 4, 2011 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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