In the 70s I read group of books. They were not quite conventional novels. There were references to science fiction/fantasy elements although they were not hard core genre stories. The protagonist was a bartender in a neighborhood bar in a large city, which is where most of the activity took place. There were some regulars in the bar who appeared in all the books. The only thing I can recall clearly is frequent references to "Alte Kameraden" beer. I have a feeling, but am not sure, that the stories were written not in a conventional narrative format but in a free verse style.

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    Sounds like an interesting series! -- but this doesn't seem like a whole lot to go on. (The free verse format sounds distinctive, but you're not sure about that...) Can you remember any other details? Some plot elements, something about the bartender's personality, why the name of the beer is interesting or memorable? – Standback Apr 18 '12 at 7:06
  • Or book cover, or where you read them (US, UK)? I presume they were in English (especially since you refer to a German military march)? – Wikis Apr 18 '12 at 7:17
  • The books were published in the US and set in the US. They were in the standard (small) paperback format, with no hardback or magazine serialization. The stories were humorous in tone but not forced funny (no lame puns or exaggerated names). The author was not a 'name' author. The setting may have been a city with a German immigrant presence (similar to, but not necessarily Milwaukee) making the beer and "Alte Kameraden" reference apt and causing it to be the only thing sticking in my memory. – grepthis2000 Apr 19 '12 at 17:18

I believe you may be referring to Arthur C. Clarke's Tales from the White Hart:

The White Hart is a pub (modelled on the White Horse, New Fetter Lane, just north of Fleet Street, once the weekly rendezvous of science fiction fans in London) where a character named Harry Purvis tells a series of tall tales. Incidental characters inhabiting the White Hart include science fiction writers Samuel Youd (aka John Christopher), John Wyndham aka John Beynon, and Clarke himself in addition to the narrative voice as his pseudonym Charles Willis.

  • It is not the Clarke stories. The author of the series I'm interested in was not a 'name' writer. – grepthis2000 Apr 22 '12 at 14:14

I have only ever read one of Spider Robinson's books about Callahan's Crosstime Saloon. It was quite memorable, but I don't remember any of the beers! Could that be the one? (Rickard's was the beer in Callahan series, which of course is rife with puns)

(If not, a search for "science fiction bar" reveals a few top 10 lists and the like, maybe that would help prompt details?)

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    I know the Callahan's series well, and while I recommend them wholeheartedly to any scifi fan, I certainly don't recall anything about that particular brand of beer. – Dan Ray Apr 19 '12 at 13:22
  • It's not the Callahan's series. – grepthis2000 Apr 19 '12 at 17:31
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    I did searches based on various combinations of the elements I recall. The only thing that happened was that I ended up trapped in a 2 hour YouTube black hole which started with an Andre Rieu performance of "Alte Kameraden" and ended with Cab Calloway doing "Minnie the Moocher" in a Betty Boop cartoon. – grepthis2000 Apr 19 '12 at 17:36
  • I was going to suggest the Callahan books, too. It's the only recent series of SF bar stories I can think of that runs over multiple volumes. Before that, the only one I can think of Dunsany's Jorkens series (which, if you want to get fussy, are more club stories than bar stories). – sjl Nov 19 '12 at 3:00

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