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Publisher's Summary

Now a major Amazon film directed by George Clooney and starring Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Lily Rabe, and Christopher Lloyd, a raucous, poignant, luminously written memoir about a boy striving to become a man, and his romance with a bar, in the tradition of This Boy’s Life and The Liar’s Club - with a new afterword.

J.R. Moehringer grew up captivated by a voice. It was the voice of his father, a New York City disc jockey who vanished before J.R. spoke his first word. Sitting on the stoop, pressing an ear to the radio, J.R. would strain to hear in that plummy baritone the secrets of masculinity and identity. Though J.R.'s mother was his world, his rock, he craved something more, something faintly and hauntingly audible only in The Voice.

At eight years old, suddenly unable to find The Voice on the radio, J.R. turned in desperation to the bar on the corner, where he found a rousing chorus of new voices. The alphas along the bar - including J.R.'s Uncle Charlie, a Humphrey Bogart look-alike; Colt, a Yogi Bear sound-alike; and Joey D, a softhearted brawler - took J.R. to the beach, to ballgames, and ultimately into their circle. They taught J.R., tended him, and provided a kind of fathering-by-committee. Torn between the stirring example of his mother and the lurid romance of the bar, J.R. tried to forge a self somewhere in the center. But when it was time for J.R. to leave home, the bar became an increasingly seductive sanctuary, a place to return and regroup during his picaresque journeys. Time and again the bar offered shelter from failure, rejection, heartbreak - and eventually from reality.

In the grand tradition of landmark memoirs, The Tender Bar is suspenseful, wrenching, and achingly funny. A classic American story of self-invention and escape, of the fierce love between a single mother and an only son, it's also a moving portrait of one boy's struggle to become a man, and an unforgettable depiction of how men remain, at heart, lost boys.

Named a best book of the year by The New York Times, Esquire, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, NPR's "Fresh Air," and New York Magazine.

A New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, Booksense, and Library Journal best seller.

©2017 J. R. Moehringer (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

Borders New Voices Finalist

Winner of the Books for a Better Life First Book Award

Booksense Pick

What listeners say about The Tender Bar

Average Customer Ratings
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I Love this Book

This book was on a summer reading list when I was in high school. I remember loving this book back then and wanted to listen to it again to see if it had the same effect. I can say without a doubt that this is still one of my favorite books of all time. Moehringer does a beautiful job detailing the struggles he went though emotionally.

6 people found this helpful

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Great story. Fantastic narration.

I’ve been meaning to read this ever since it came out in print. Even though I missed out on the story for so long, hearing the performance and narration of this piece was well worth it.

Narrator did not just read the words as they were written but expressed the feeling and sentiment throughout. His plays on each characters voices and nuances made it feel as though a whole cast had a table read.

The upcoming movie can in no way do this novel justice but if even comes close it’ll be a success.

5 people found this helpful

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2nd Time Enjoying This Great Book!!

2nd Time Enjoying This Great Book!!
After having recommended this terrific book to a friend, I decided to consume it again, this time in the audio version. Did not disappoint and stands the test of time!

3 people found this helpful

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Superb narration

Great story by Moehringer, great story telling by Grupper. Easy listen!
I recommend this book!

2 people found this helpful

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A delight.

As good a performance I can remember hearing, and a cast of characters who deserve to be brought alive.

2 people found this helpful

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I've spent plenty of time in bars

First time author for me. After I got this book I realized there was an abridged version of 5 hours versus this unabridged version of 16 hours. I admit I was somewhat intimidated by a 16 hour memoir, thinking that's a long time for someone to write about their life centered around a bar. But I dove in and in the end it was an interesting listen. Besides, I always feel cheated by abridged versions of books.

The bar in question was in Manhasset, Long Island, NY. The author called it 'the place' where all walks of life, all ages, both men and women went to as their main social place of gathering. It took on a life of its own. If you weren't careful you could drink more than your fair share which many people did. The patrons and the owner were the support group for the rest of them.

Into this scenario, the author grew up. His uncle was a bartender, the owner, the bartenders, the customers all knew him from a young age. His mother moved him to Arizona in middle school and he graduated from high school there, David Spage was a classmate, but he returned to New York when he enrolled at Yale, just a short train ride up to New Haven. During college and after college the bar became the center of his life. When life was tough on him he sought solace there, he sought solace there even when life wasn't so tough on him. It was his world.

Still he eventually outgrew the bar and moved on with his life. He looked back at it with nostalgia and what it had meant to him. H wrote this book about that experience. He mentions toward the end of the book that when he sobered up was when he started growing up. For some people it takes that strong of a step. I'm one who has imbibed adult beverages most of my audlt life and I feel like I've had a successful, productive life with a great wife, kids and career while enjoying that past time. But, hey, to each their own, it was a good listen and I piked up some pears of wisdom from it.

2 people found this helpful

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The more you read the more you like!

The author and narrator do a great job of making you feel like you are right there in the bar and in the heart of the story ! Loved it and didn’t want it to end

2 people found this helpful

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Waste of time

How many times can you hear the word Publicans?
Allow me to summarize the story: Loser with daddy issues comes from a broken family in a wealthy NY suburb, gets into Yale, but would rather be at his hometown bar; fails repeatedly, drinks heavily, and writes about the experience. Complete drivel.

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Loved!

It was a little putting off in the beginning but so glad I continued on.

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not that good, disappointed

too melodramatic, characters unbelievable. too much about him and Sidney. need to go to AA after listening to this dribble.

1 person found this helpful

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  • venetia
  • 12-10-21

raised the bar.

funny and endearing! An inspirational tail about growing up. Proving dedication and hard work pay off. wonderfully warm and interesting characters, guiding a lost and creative kid into adulthood.