Noir at the Bar

What exactly is a Noir at the Bar?

Noir at the Bar, Seattle 2015 (Photograph by Jim Thomsen)

What exactly is a Noir at the Bar? This page should answer that. If there are any articles I don’t have linked here, please let me know.

Noir at the Bar: An Oral History” by Keith Rawson (LitReactor)

Over the last seven years, dozens of Noir at the Bar events have sprung up around the country, and it has become something of a phenomena in the crime fiction community. And because of its wild impact, I wanted to somehow document the events, and I wanted to hear the stories behind the four original events in Philadelphia, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and New York. I wanted to hear from the organizers—Peter Rozovsky, Jedidiah Ayres, Eric Beetner, Glenn Gray, and Todd Robinson—and readers themselves.

A Roomful of Half-Bagged, Semi-Literate Knuckle-Draggers” by Jen Conley (LA Review of Books)

The concept is simple: about six to 10 writers come together at night in a bar and read their work. They get in front of a mic, read for a few, sit down, finish their drink. It’s like all the other readings you’ve been to, right? Not exactly. We’re talking crime. Noir. Pulp. Hardboiled. Violent. Twisted. Bukowski, Cain, O’Connor are revered. If you go to a reading, you’re going to hear bad words. There’s going to be blood. Things are going to get dark. You might be offended.

Noir at the Bar 101” by Alex Segura (Do Some Damage)

I’ve had the pleasure and honor of participating in a ton of Noir at the Bars as reader and host – mainly in the NY/NJ area, where I learned a lot about hosting from folks like Todd Robinson and Thomas Pluck. I also like to think I’ve hosted a few good ones on my own in Queens. That said, I’m not the be-all, end-all when it comes to the mechanics of these events. With that in mind, I’ve put together a quick and dirty guide with my thoughts, plus insight from some of the best and brightest Noir at the Bar hosts around the world. So, sit back, pop open your favorite beverage and start dreaming up your plans for Noir at the Bar Narnia…

The 3 Rules of Noir at the Bar” by David Nemeth (Unlawful Acts)

I’ve read at two Noir at the Bars (N@B), seen over half-a-dozen others from Canada to Florida, and I have even organized one. (That’s another article on the lessons learned from that.) I have a good idea of what makes a good N@B reading, but I reached out to some N@B veterans, organizers, and performers to get their take. 

What’s so great about Noir at the Bar?” by Dietrich Kalteis (Dietrich Kalteis)

There’s something special about Noir at the Bar, no matter what city it takes place in. For me, it’s more than the mix of books and booze. It’s getting together with friends and hearing a variety of authors read from their latest work, sometimes even sharing a work in progress. It’s a chance to mingle, make new friends and get a book signed by a favorite author, all in a cozy setting. Okay, then there is the booze …

Noir at the Bar” by Jay Stringer (Jay Stringer)

The idea by this point was simple. Gather together 6-8 authors in a bar, design a kick-ass poster to draw people in, and entertain the hell out of the crowd. The readings work best when limited to 5-7 minutes, and the drinking works best…well, in any amount.

Diving Into The Deep End: Finding A Place In The Crime Fiction Family” by Eric Beetner (Crimespree Magazine)

When the major gathering point for crime writers in LA closed its doors, I asked Jedidiah Ayres and Scott Phillips if I could use the Noir at the Bar name out here. More than 5 years later we’ve featured more than 80 authors (or is it 100 by now?), including a dozen or more for their very first public readings. Many writers we featured as unpublished have gone on to great success, far beyond what I sell. And that’s strangely satisfying to me.