Are there places I like as much as great bars? Yes: great bookshops. And if I had to pick a favorite in the latter category, it’s Dog Ears Book Barn in the little town of Hoosick, N.Y. Conveniently, it’s just a little ways down Route 7 from the Man of Kent, one of America’s best bars.
A couple of hours spent digging through Dog Ears for treasure, then bringing those books to the Man of Kent and perusing them over a few pints for a few more hours? That’s what I call a perfect day.
But even perfection can be improved upon. The last time I went to Dog Ears, I headed straight for the cookbook section, where there’s a subsection for books on cocktails and other drink-related matters. As I approached, I saw the buttery yellow cover, dense with black-and-red lettering, of “The Savoy Cocktail Book,” an enlarged edition published in 1933. Book collectors with purist streaks may be unimpressed that it isn’t a first edition, but I couldn’t believe my luck. The pages may have looked just about ready to unyoke themselves from the diminished binding, but the gorgeous, exuberantly colorful printing and Art Deco illustrations remained pristine.