One day I hope to sit down with Heywood Gould — the novelist and screenwriter who wrote Cocktail, the movie — and have a drink with him. Maybe even a Cognac or Polish Martini. That’s what Heywood used to drink as a bartender in Manhattan during the 1970s. Definitely a few shots of Old Overholt Rye Whiskey. That’s what he drinks now.
The reason is simple. Despite having become a successful writer, Gould still speaks like a bartender, the type of bartender I’ve always enjoyed sitting across from: a raconteur, keen observer of humanity, and someone who understands that the reasons people enter a bar are varied, but rarely do they really have to do with flaming orange peels or flipping bottles. MORE
In the 16th and 17th century, when the renowned painters of other European countries largely painted religious scenes and royal portraiture, the Netherlands developed genres of painting that reflected the mercantilist, increasingly secular culture that produced them. Wealthy merchants and other upper-class landowners had buying power to rival the Catholic church, and their patronage encouraged guilds to practice highly technical, sumptuous paintings of things: seashells and flowers, musical instruments, fine silver, and of course food — all improbably arranged onto an overflowing table and rendered in luminous layers of oil. MORE
Film director Jean-Luc Godard once quipped that all he needs to make a movie is a girl and gun. Of course, my question is: What about the bar? The often unheralded character of the silver screen is the old mahogany. Some of the most iconic movies include pivotal scenes in a bar where the protagonist faces some manner of catharsis, whether through ruin or rumination.
Imagine “Fast Eddie” (Paul Newman) in The Hustler shooting pool in a recreation center or Bob (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansen) in Lost in Translation meeting by chance in a Tokyo library. It’s just not possible. There’s a certain quality that a barroom exudes, where danger, intrigue, ritual and remorse all coalesce into a section of human experience only found when people drink together in a public place. These scenes could only have happened in a bar. MORE