Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Last Call at Coogan's

Last Call at Coogan's by Jon Michaud
6/6/23; 320 pages
St. Martin's Press

Last Call at Coogan's: The Life and Death of a Neighborhood Bar by Jon Michaud is a very highly recommended history. This neighborhood bar opened in New York City’s Washington Heights one block from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in 1985 and closed during the pandemic in the spring of 2020. For 35 years the beloved local landmark often called Uptown City Hall was a vital part of the neighborhood.

Librarian Michaud wrote an article in the New Yorker about Coogan's which was the impetus for this account, which is the very interesting, easy to read story about the history of Coogan's. From 1985 to 2020 the bar and neighborhood faced a plethora of serious issues and changes which are all recounted here. The wide variety of stories included cover the owners, some of the staff, and many regulars, along with the social history of the years Coogan's was open and the community it created.

This is an excellent, well-researched book that captures and brings to life the history of a place and the people who were a large part of the story. Last Call at Coogan's would especially appeal to anyone who knows the area or ever visited or frequented Coogan's over the years. A wide variety of readers will appreciate the interesting background stories of the history and the people, but the greater appeal is going to be for those who know the area or Coogan's.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of St. Martin's Press via NetGalley.

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