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OP: The Stork Club Bar Book

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by Lucius Beebe

There is hardly an adjective that has not been applied to what was long the place in which to see and be seen in New York City: elite, prestigious, exclusive, glamorous, swanky. The Stork Club, where celebrities rubbed elbows and reveled in the attention they got, started as a speakeasy in 1929 and moved to its famed location at 3 East 53rd Street in 1934. 

There, the owner and host, Sherman Billingsley, greeted the chosen of café society—stars of stage and screen, counts, duchesses, athletic heroes, well-known politicians, wealthy night owls, and—for a bit of leavening—a bevy of models and showgirls. One of the regulars was the bon vivant Lucius Beebe (who was said to have periodically “left the premises to go to the barber or collect his laundry,” but, it is noted, “these occasions have been infrequent”). 

In 1946, Beebe, a prolific author, published this highly admired collection of recipes from the Stork Club bar, along with his own observations and opinions. Beware, the section on morning drinks consumes some 23 pages, featuring such eye-openers as Rum Toddy, Claret Lemonade, and an Absinthe frappe.

We offer here a first printing, the interior Very Good—clean and fresh looking. The case is a modest Very Good, as at some point the book appears to have been put to good use as a coaster—rings affect the front and rear red cloth, leaching the color. The dust jacket—missing about an inch-an-a-half of paper at the foot of the spine—is dampstained from the aforementioned use and shows wear and chipping about the edges. Overall, the colors and design remain vibrant and handsome despite the added “character.”

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