Regular price: $17.10

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

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 plumy 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. Cops, bookies, soldiers, and stumblebums, all sorts of men gathered in the bar to tell their stories and forget their cares. 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 soft-hearted 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 fatherhood-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.

©2005 J.R. Moehringer (P)2005 Hyperion

Critic Reviews

  • 2005 Audie Award Winner, Narration by the Author
  • 2005 Audie Award Nominee, Biography/Memoir

"Funny, honest, and insightful." (Booklist)
"[Moehringer's] the best memoirist of his kind since Mary Karr wrote The Liars' Club." (The New York Times)
"In his gimlet-eyed memoir, The Tender Bar, J.R. Moehringer lovingly and affectingly toasts a boyhood spent on a barstool." (Vanity Fair)
"The Tender Bar will make you thirsty for that life: its camaraderie, its hilarity, its seductive, dangerous wisdom." (Richard Russo)

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    212
  • 4 Stars
    169
  • 3 Stars
    72
  • 2 Stars
    26
  • 1 Stars
    4

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    134
  • 4 Stars
    63
  • 3 Stars
    24
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    126
  • 4 Stars
    71
  • 3 Stars
    22
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    3
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jim E
  • San Jose, CA, USA
  • 09-15-05

A Good Deal and a Good Deal More

"The Tender Bar" is that most elusive item today, a wonderful tale lovingly told. For any guy who has been lost and found this story connects on levels seldom touched today. Alternately plaintive and hard-boiled the story never slows or lessens its grip on us. It is real writing by a real writer. JR as the narrator only makes the listening that much richer carrying the words lovingly on his tongue. This is a 'must have.'

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sandra
  • Saint Augustine, FL, United States
  • 11-04-05

This was outstanding, a treasure.

My only complaint was that it was abridged. One has to wonder about what was omitted. I will probably read the unabridged book, having enjoyed this listen very much.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

LOVED IT!

This is an incredible story of stuggle and perseverance; from a life of poverty, questionable family members and a bar room full of men to call friends, to incredible success. But it wasn't in spite of those hurdles that he succeeded, it seems that it bas because of them. He writes honestly and with emotion of his failures as well as his achievements. There are plenty of lessons you could take away from this book to be sure, but also, its just a really wonderful, sad, funny, entertaining story about a boy coming of age. Definitely I would recommend.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The Tender Bar

A wonderfully insightful book about one boy's navigation towards adulthood! Listened while driving and the normally exhausting 6 hours passed very pleasantly!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I loved this book.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Tender Bar to be better than the print version?

Not necessarily

What did you like best about this story?

It was so real and true. I loved the characters.

What does J.R. Moehringer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

It was as if he was actually telling me his story while I was driving to work each day.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I looked forward to hearing it on my 40 minute drive to work

Any additional comments?

I am looking forward to reading Sutton.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas
  • Norfolk, VA, USA
  • 04-15-10

Like having a beer with an old friend

This book was just a joy to listen to. We listened while we were painting our house, and it was like listening to a friend tell us a story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Why abridged?

The book is good, the abridged version is not. The story has the potential for so many characters and their stories are truncated.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

beautifully crafted.

JR has clearly finally "gotten in". This is a beautiful piece that manages to show-case his tremendous skill at crafting a story (albeit true) while sounding like he is just speaking with you (probably helps that he is reading it). In league with "the kite runner", this memoir reaches out and touches your heart without leaving the feeling that you have been forced into an experience like a puppet! I was truly impressed by the author's ability to present very complex characters without conveying any animosity. I truly enjoyed this book!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This memoir is filled with head and heart

What made the experience of listening to The Tender Bar the most enjoyable?

Hearing the author of a book narrate his own memoir, I think, always adds to the experience. Who does a better job of telling your story than, you? Moehringer is a writer by trade but he could also have a career as a reader of audiobooks if he so chose. His natural voice talent -he got it honest from his father- lends an empathy to the story that an outside narrator may not be able to provide. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him.

What other book might you compare The Tender Bar to and why?

Hillbilly Elegy, Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run; For whatever unknown reason, I'm drawn to books and characters in which the protagonist has had a strained or unhappy relationship with males in his life and has a mother who has had to overcome the men in her life more than she has had the men be partners. The above books feature both as does The Tender Bar. Moehringer's is one of those stories. I can relate to so many anecdotes in so many books that it feels like I could share a beer with any of the authors that have written on the subject. Dickens/Publicans/Edisons would be a great place to have one of these conversations. What a gathering that would be.

What about J.R. Moehringer’s performance did you like?

He has a naturally smooth and flowing delivery to go along with the richness of his voice. Moehringer is a natural.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There are many. When he talks about Sidney, you can hear in his voice and that maybe he still misses her. If not her, then maybe he misses like most of us that feeling of euphoria on a first date or a first kiss. Whether he misses Sidney now at 53 or doesn't, hearing the hurt in his voice makes the reader remember how badly those moments hurt when you're young and without the years of hindsight that help you get through these events later in life. Whether he's describing Sidney's looks or her charm, he describes her beautifully. Out of these moments, maybe the most memorable moment for me is when he talks about working in the cafe and that maybe right at that moment he's the happiest he'll ever be in life. Right after that realization, Sidney hits the window with a snowball and he realizes that she's just made him even happier. That's just a poignant moment that he talks about but also memorable that he had the foresight to note to himself that that's as happy as he's ever been or may ever be. That thought has stuck with me since reading the book. Not as an afterthought, but the way Moehringer describes that bar makes me miss some of the bars I'd patronize in my youth. The old wood, smell of cigarette smoke and beer, those feel like home to me and make me smile to this day. Moehringer describes those sights and smells here the way I wish I could describe to my friends when I talk about missing the smoky haze in today's nonsmoking establishments.

Any additional comments?

I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who has some of the thoughts about moms and men that I mention above. I first noticed the book years ago due to the striking cover art on the shelf in a bookstore. I didn't buy it but have often thought of it and searched for it here and I'm glad that I did. This is also going to be a good read for someone who misses home, relationships of youth and folks who just like a good memoir. There's something here for everyone.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Poignant and compelling

An incredibly poignant and naked memoir that touched me deeply.... I recommend highly for anyone who lives great story telling, great character narratives, and sap-free introspection.