review: Robert E Howard Bar Guide

The Robert E. Howard Bar Guide


If you have a copy of this book, the odds are I know where you were in early June 2017 – Cross Plains, Texas. The book is The Robert E. Howard Bar Guide, and if you have a copy, you are one of 200 lucky people who was given a numbered, limited edition copy to commemorate the annual Robert E. Howard Days gathering.

Author Bobby Derie’s Bar Guide is a fine blend of carefully aged history with a high alcohol content (The cover features a picture of Howard guzzling a schooner of beer). It opens with a brief biography of Howard, emphasizing Howard’s battles to circumvent prohibition, his adventures in bootlegging, and his philosophies toward strong drink and how those views reflect in his various pulp stories.
The rest of the book, some 60 pages, is a collection of the various drinks that Howard personally partook in and those in his stories. Derie has combed Howard’s letters and stories, supplementing the text with local newspaper clippings, and context in the form of excerpts from the letters and stories where the specific beverage was mentioned.

Bar Guide is equal parts a historical mixology guide, a regionalized view of prohibition, and a new perspective on Robert Howard. Whether you’re a Solomon Kane fan, a Steve Costigan enthusiast, or just an old-fashioned Conan groupie, this is a book that you should have in your collection. Fortunately, author Derie agrees and has allowed a PDF version to remain online