Be Good or Be Gone

 

Based upon the tone at recent town hall meetings, it appears that some rather spirited Americans are experiencing the summer of their discontent. This may one of those rare times when our elected officials wished that they would have chosen to forego recess in favor of the tedium of late night legislative sessions in Washington.

 I know that I speak for the entire staff of American Public House Review when I say that we fully support the right of all of our citizens to assemble in order to express their concerns and opinions; but that we strongly disagree with the apparent lack of decorum and the disruptive tactics that are being implemented by certain individuals and groups under the protection of free speech. Hooliganism may be acceptable at a tea party in Boston or an English soccer match, but it degrades and dishonors American democracy. When we award undue credence to the clamor and clatter we greatly diminish the ability of those voices of reason, on either side of an issue, to be rightfully heard.

 During the protests of 60s and 70s it was common to hear the phrase “America, love it or leave it” being uttered by anyone that felt that those on the street were ill-mannered or in abuse of their First Amendment rights. I’m not about to advocate for the banishment of any American to Canada, especially since their public health care system probably doesn’t cover treatment for malice and malcontentedness.

Back Bar at McSorley's Old Ale HouseNo, what I’m suggesting is that we adopt the house policy at McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan. Enshrined behind the bar in that beloved New York institution are the words “Be good or be gone.” Those words serve as a kindly reminder to all that enter that they have the right to gather, kick up their heels a bit, and to express their opinion on any matter, as long as they are well behaved and respectful of the rights of those on either side of the bar.

 We at American Public House Review raise our glasses to all those who honor and exercise our democratic freedoms with dignity and goodwill toward their fellow citizens.

 

Posted by: Chris Poh

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!

In Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day is considered a holy day.  The celebration marking the death of their country’s patron saint, the man credited with bringing Catholicism to Ireland, is a family and church day.  But here in America, where the world’s first Saint Patrick’s Day Parade was held in 1762 by Irish soldiers serving in the English army, it is one big party.

flag-sign-at-mcsorleys

In the United States, the Irish pub has come to be ground zero for St. Patty’s Day celebrations.  Those marching in the many grand parades like the one in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, or just attending them, often start and end their day at the pub.  For those of Irish heritage, and those who wish they were, the Irish pub remains a special place all year long.  But on the 17th of March, people are willing to wait in long lines for hours just to belly up to one of these great bars.

And we here at the American Public House Review are no exception.  We seem to find ourselves spending time in many of America’s great Irish taverns.  So if you are sitting home today, or at the office, and you are curious about the influence Erin’s Isle has had on our country, you needn’t look any further than the archives of APHR for some great examples.

the-old-triangle-mollys-nyc

Of course few are more famous the Manhattan’s McSorley’s Ale House on the lower eastside, or P.J. Clarke’s found uptown.  Molly’s Shebeen, also downtown, ranks right there with those two in the annals of great turn of the century Irish taverns.  They are testaments to the lasting power of a great Irish pub. 

shanacie-stained-glass

But a great tavern doesn’t need to be old to be great.  The Dubliner in Washington D.C. and the Dublin Pub in Morristown both opened in the early 1970’s, but feel as though they were transported here from Ireland’s largest city centuries ago.  For great music, try Mitchell’s Café along the Delaware River in New Jersey.  Or maybe you will be lucky enough to hear Gerry Timlin play at the Shanacie Pub in Ambler, Pa, where he is at once the entertainer, resident storyteller, and owner.

Needless to say, I love a good Irish pub.  I can literally say I was raised in them.  They are what brought me to my love of great taverns.  Yes, today may be the toughest day to get into one, and rightly so, but it is worth it.  I’ll be leaving for mine in just a couple of hours.

dublin-pub-morristown-exterior-painting

So from all of us here at the American Public House Review, to our readers of Irish and wishful-Irish heritage, we raise a glass and say “Thirst is a shameless disease, so here’s to a shameful cure”, and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.

Posted by: David McBride

A Place Where Everyone Wins

McSorley\'s Old Ale House I would not be one to say that I support the tactics or candidacy of the lady senator from New York; but I can not find any joy in the fact that after the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, Hillary Clinton has, although still stubbornly living in denial, lost her bid to become president. Like most human beings I spend a good portion of my life rooting for my guy, my cause, my side, my country, my party, my team and so on and so forth.

McSorleys Painting

 On that rare occasion my horse actually comes in – as was the case at this year’s Kentucky Derby. With any victory there is that moment of gotcha and glee; but if you take the time to wipe the champagne from your eyes and look around – you’re bound to notice that someone is crying, someone is in pain and someone has lost. It seems that there is no human endeavor, no matter how well-intentioned, that doesn’t result in some degree of hardship for our fellowman.

I would like to think that beyond this life there exists a place where everyone wins, and where potential is achieved without doing harm to others – a place where your glass is always full and your heart is never empty!  Valhalla – Heaven – Nirvana – Eden or just…

Back Room at McSorley\'s

 the back room at McSorley’s Old Ale House!

Posted by: Chris Poh, Publisher – American Public House Review

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