Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,234 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Saturday, May 13, 2023

#5156 - Coal Tipple Brewery, Smith Township, PA - 5/12/23

Coal Tipple Brewery, Smith Township, PA

One of the finer greenhouse-winery-breweries I've ever visited, Kramer's Greenhouse, Raccoon Creek Winery, and the Coal Tipple Brewery is a family operation that traces its origins go George and Martha Kramer's greenhouse in 1945. 

Son and daughter in law Wayne and Helen Kramer took over in 1963, and then their youngest son Chris in 1996. It was Chris who purchased an unused farm at the tip of Smith Township in 2001, constructing and opening the current building in 2004. In 2009 Chris and his wife Dawn added a winery, and in then in 2016 the brewery that is now the oldest in Washington County. 

A reference to the beer I had:
The Dead Canary IPA

The 3rd generation owners now employ 5th generation family members in the business. The Coal Tipple is an homage to the coal mining history of the region and the Kramer's many relatives who worked the mines, with all beers named with old mining terms, including the Nippy Tipple Ale.

1905 Steubenville Pike, Burgettstown, PA 15021 - (724) 899-3344
Est. 2016 - Building constructed: 2004
Previous bars in this location: None
Web site: - facebook - twitter 
Articles: observer-reporterpost-gazette - untappdvisitpa - yelp - tripadvisor - visitwashingtoncountypa 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

#4989 - The Lamphouse, West Bethlehem, PA - 1/29/2023

Lamphouse Tavern, Marianna, PA

I know very little about this bar but it certainly has the appearance of being around for a while. They list their location as Marianna, and seem to feel a part of that community, though according to Google Maps they are on the wrong side of the street to be technically in that borough. It's located just across from 10 Mile Creek, and gets business from fisherman as a result. Marianna was established as a mining town by the Pittsburgh Buffalo Company in 1907. It was incorporated in 1910, with a population of over 13,000, which has been declining ever since. 

Lamphouse Tavern, Marianna, PA
At 10:55am Saturday, Nov 28, 1908, an explosion resulted in the Marianna Mine Disaster, killing 154 men and leaving only one survivor. The mine continued to operate until 1988. Marianna's population is now around 400 people. 

On the lazy afternoon we visited the Lamphouse, there were just a few regulars there, most of them taking turns giving patron Larry a hard time. It's a cozy neighborhood joint with a rectangular bar jutting out into the middle, and a pool table in back. In the evenings they are more lively, with candy flavored drink specials and comfort food specials like Swedish meatballs and tuna noodle casserole. It was here that we learned what Walking Tacos are.

1754 Main St, Marianna, PA 15345 - (724) 267-4750
Web site: facebook 
Reviews: yelp 

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

#5037 - Sullivan's Pub, Erie, PA - 3/9/2023

Sullivan's Pub, Erie, PA

There was one other customer in Sullivan's when I stepped in on this afternoon, shortly after they opened. Of course it will be different on Friday and Saturday nights, when the bar routinely serves over 400 people, and most spectacularly on next Friday, as they block off the street and expect over 10,000 customers on St. Patricks Day.

These are a few of the bits of info I got from friendly bartender Julia. She also showed me the doorbell said to have been installed for the prohibition days, and the slightly scary ladder down a hole behind the bar to what used to be tunnels -- now sealed in -- and currently serves as beer storage, an office, and occasionally a way to for the bartender to get between rooms when the crowd is too thick. There is a brass bar at counter level in front of the hole now, which Julia explained was installed after the owner's wife fell down it (she apparently was not too badly injured).

Bartender Julia, Sullivan's Pub, Erie, PA

The bar claims to be the seventh oldest Irish bar in the country (I found several older references to being the sixth oldest, so apparently there was a recent correction). It was established as a bar and as "Sullivan's" in 1905, in a building that tax records say was constructed in 1892. It was closed for 19 months due to COVID, and finally reopened, after some remodeling, Oct 15, 2021. It features an interesting back bar; the origins of it were not exactly clear, but it appears to have been obtained by the current owners. It is of a sort of art deco style, with metal plates on the columns featuring bas relief female figures.

Sullivan's Pub, Erie, PA
Hole behind the bar
All of his is set two to three blocks from the southwest shores of Lake Erie, and close to Gannon University, which tends to contribute more than its fair share of customers.

For a helpful history of the place, I'll quote from the bar's own web site:

"Sullivan’s Pub and Eatery is proud to be the oldest public house in Erie, serving the community since 1905.

The seventh oldest Irish bar in the United States, Sullivan’s has been a proud member of the Erie Downtown community since its opening in 1905 by prominent First Ward politician John L. Sullivan and his wife Alice. The Sullivan family were lifelong residents of the First Ward and members of St. Patrick’s church. Under the ownership of John and Alice, Sullivan’s became a central neighborhood hot spot and a pillar of the Erie Irish community.

In 1950, Margaret Sullivan Heinz, daughter of John and Alice, assumed ownership of the cafe. Margaret’s brother, Emmet J. “Jiggs” Sullivan, helped her run the cafe. Jiggs was a retired fireman from Fire Station #1 on French Street (formerly Pufferbelly), just two blocks from the cafe. It was during this time that people started recognizing Sullivan’s for having great food. Maggie and Jiggs served a menu consisting of Irish and American fare. The cafe was also known as the “Glue Pot” because once you went in, you couldn’t get out. In fact, one afternoon the firemen from Station #1 went into Sullivan’s for lunch and wound up staying all afternoon to play cards. When a building directly behind the firehouse went up in flames, the neighborhood had to rush down to Sullivan’s to drag the firemen out of the “Glue Pot”!

Doorbell said to have been installed 
for use during prohibition

In 1960, the Powers family, another Irish brood, purchased Sullivan’s. During this time, the cafe was a regular stop for many Hamot Hospital employees and Gannon College students. There were many that gathered at Happy Hour when Mr. Powers would appear from the kitchen with a large freshly baked ham and say with an Irish accent, “Well now, would anyone be wantin’ a bit O’ this delicious ham?” Then he would slice the ham into sandwiches which the patrons would pass down the length of the bar.

In 1989, the cafe was purchased by the present owners [Ron and Rick Filippi]. Intent upon preserving a part of Erie history, the group invested time, effort, and resources into completely restoring the century old building while retaining the Irish flavor that has been so popular in the Erie community. The present owners expanded the food menu, remodeled the dining room, kitchen, and added the dance floor."

301 French St, Erie, PA 16507 - (814) 452-3446
Est. 1905 - Building constructed: 1892
Previous bars in this location: None known 
Web site: - facebook 
Reviews: goerie - yelp - goerie 

Friday, March 10, 2023

#5033 - Kaufman Tavern, Zelienople, PA - 3/9/2023

Kaufman Tavern, Zenienople, PA
On this day I planned to make my way to a historic bar in Erie, PA, and as that pub did not open until 4 pm, I picked a few additional stops along the virtually due north drive from Pittsburgh. The first of these was a bar in the borough of Zelienople, in a historic hotel that had been closed for many years after a disastrous fire, and reopened in late January 2020. I had barely seated myself at the Kaufman Tavern bar when a woman with a camera came in and asked the hostess if she could view the speakeasy. Wait. SPEAKEASY?!?!?

Kaufman Tavern, Zenienople, PA

Indeed, in an underground space once positioned as a cigar bar and doubling as the wine storage room, the hotel/tavern had established their speakeasy, open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays. After the serendipitous discovery of its existence, I tagged along for a little tour from one of the employees. The speakeasy lies within the pleasantly antiquated, exposed rock foundation of the building, and is decorated with period paintings, vintage artifacts, and old photographs. As our hostess provided a bit of sometimes violent history of the building, of course I had to ask about ghost sightings. And indeed the young woman herself has seen many signs from "Elizabeth," the one-time owner's wife purportedly murdered by her husband for infidelity, and noted that her brother had seen "Mr. Kaufman" in the walk-in freezer. She pointed to a lamp that often flickers when we talk about Elizabeth, and added that only after her brother's sighting they learned that Mr. Kaufman had committed suicide in that very space. The ghostly activity has been confirmed confirmed -- in the sense that believers use the term -- by paranormal investigators, and the hotel has featured dinner presentations on their work

Stairway to speakeasy
Kaufman Tavern, Zenienople, PA

This particular spot on the route from Erie to Pittsburgh is said to have hosted a hotel and/or tavern since a tavern was constructed in 1837 by John Randolph. Zelienople itself was founded by Baron Dettmar Basse from Frankfurt Germany, who purchased a tract of 10,000 acres in the current Butler and Beaver Counties upon his arrival in 1802. The borough was named for his eldest daughter, "whose chosen name was Zelie (her given name was Fredericka) which she named herself after her favorite doll." (wikipedia)

In 1902 the hotel on this spot burned down and was replaced by a new owner. "The Kaufman House was built after the fire of 1902 by Henry Stokey and operated it as a hotel [named the Grand Central Hotel] until 1920, when he sold it to the Union Rubber Company, who used it as housing for workers at its plant in Zelienople. Union Rubber sold the house to E.F. Kaufman in 1924. Kaufman remodeled and modernized what he called the Kaufman Hotel, making it a popular stop between Pittsburgh and Erie. In 1974, Ellwood City native Ken Pilarski bought the hotel and renamed it Kaufman House. In his tenure as owner, the Kaufman House had four dining rooms, a coffee shop, a banquet room and a lounge." (

Kaufman Tavern speakeasy, Zenienople, PA
Closed for virtually a decade after an October 5, 2011 fire, the Kaufman had long been central to the community of Zelienople and surrounding region. "When people from Aliquippa or New Castle wanted to impress a date, they went to Kaufman House for dinner, he said, and then to Pittsburgh for a show, but would return to Kaufman House for drinks." (beavercountytimes) "“Always, it was the crown jewel of Zelienople,” current owner Jason Eisenreich explained.

For this reason, after Ken Pilarski, the owner during the 2011 fire, struggled to get the place reopened, the borough itself invested. In December 2015 the Butler County Tourism Foundation purchased the building. When they couldn't put together the backing needed to restore the place, the borough itself about it in 2017, with the aid of a state grant. The borough would partner with local developer Patrick Boylan with a lease-to-own agreement, and a plan for the borough to cover exterior work, and Boylan to fund the interior. (ibid)

Borough Manager John Pepe confirmed the importance of the effort. "How much money it brings to town, I couldn’t tell you that, but I can tell you that the other businesses in town, whether they are restaurants or not, all rely on each other. Of course they do. That’s the way economics is and they relied on the Kaufman House because it was just a key piece – a cornerstone, if you will -- of the entire economic structure of the town, which is why it was so important to preserve." (ibid)

I do not know exactly what years the location featured a bar, nor how similar previous versions of bars resemble the one that now greets you as you walk into the front door. But the current version includes 40 beer choices on tap and fairly upscale food choices for both locals and hotel guests. After my visit to the basement speakeasy, I had a very fine soup du jour and some nice honey jalapeno hummus. I hope to visit the speakeasy while in operation on some Friday or Saturday in the not too distant future. It seems well worth risking the vengeful spirits residing within.

105 S Main St, Zelienople, PA 16063 - (724) 452-8900
Est. Jan 2020 current incarnation, 1924 Kaufman Hotel/House/Tavern - Building constructed: 1903/1924
Previous bars in this location: Grand Central Hotel
Web site:  - facebook 
Reviews: beavercountytimescranberryeagle - yelp - tripadvisor - pittsburghmagazine - butlerradio 

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

#5006 - Lena's Lounge, East Liverpool, OH - 2/13/2023

Lena's Lounge, East Liverpool, OH

I like 86 Lists in bars. The list in Lena's Place in East Liverpool, is the first one I've seen that is next to a display of items -- mostly beer bottles -- memorializing deceased customers. It's a fairly lengthy list, with an unusual amount of full proper names, although it does also include Doug Tooth Man, Cheets/Chicago, Quiet, Peanut, and Irish. 

 East Liverpool is a small town (about 10,000 residents) just across the Ohio River from West Virginia, a couple miles east of Pennsylvania. The town's population peaked in 1970, on the strength of its pottery industry: 

 'The potteries of East Liverpool became the national center of ceramic toilet and table wares, with 85 firms operating at one time or another making two-thirds of the national output from 1880 to 1950. East Liverpool became known as "The Crockery City. Potters from Staffordshire, England, began pouring into East Liverpool, attracted by higher wages and the prospect of land ownership. By 1879, there were 24 potteries in East Liverpool, nearly all operated by English immigrants. As late as 1900, East Liverpool remained "essentially a transplanted potting town of Englishmen".' (wikipedia)

Lena's Lounge, East Liverpool, PA
The fairly large space that is now Lena's was "Scotty's Place" for several decades. A few years ago it was purchased by Bob Berdine for his daughter Lena. Bob and his wife Joyce ran "Berdines Corner Tavern" in town for many years. Bob and Joyce were married in 1962 and Joyce just passed away Feb 5th. Bob has some health challenges of his own, and is looking to sell Lena's. 

 The bar looks much as it did as Scotty's, with a long, narrow bar area alongside a large open room that once regularly hosted live bands. It is a rare bar in town that still has last call at 1:45am, so it gets a lot of its customers late in the evening, from the other bars that close at 10 or 11. I wish I could you how old the place is. 

The back bar runs almost the entire length of the long barroom, and appears to have an early 20th century art deco type of design. As with many of the bars I visit in mid-day, it made me wonder what it was like on busy Friday or Saturday night.

639 St Clair Ave, East Liverpool, OH 43920
Previous bars in this location: Scotty's Place
Web site: facebook 

Sunday, February 12, 2023

#5001 - Le Mardi Gras, Pittsburgh, PA - 2/10/2023

Joe Costanza, legendary former owner
Le Mardi Gras, Pittsburgh, PA

Le Mardi Gras is a smoky, anachronistic, classic dive that seems to divulge a faded, classy past. Upon entering for the first time it immediately feels comfortable, evoking a history of fond memories and animated conversations, and surely just as many that have been blacked out of memory.

This location has been around only since 2002, but it brought the murals and, at least it seems, the vibe, from the old location a couple blocks away and around the corner. The original opened in 1954 at 742 Bellefonte Street (that building has long since been razed), and in the early years catered to the city's elites. The bar history on the web site mentions members of  Duquesne Country Club, Rolling Rock Country Club, Ligonier Country Club, Sewickley Country Club, and Fox Chapel Country Club; an article on the wall notes that one would not be served without a jacket and tie. Later the bar was known for its mix of classes and people, professors chatting with welfare recipients, city officials with some of the town's most unusual characters, etc.

Le Mardi Gras, Pittsburgh, PA
The bar history also lists visits from various celebrities including Rocky Marciano, Harvey Kietel, Sammy Koufax, Sam McDowell, Billy Conn, Steven Carlson, Alice Cooper, George Clooney, Russell Crowe, John Kerry, and Ted Danson. Then there were the ink-stained wretches from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and Pittsburgh Press, as well as author Richard Florida, and all the professors from various local universities.

Probably the most prominent physical features are the New Orleans Mardi Gras themed, smoke drenched murals from the original place. These were done some 60-some years ago by Tom Kouris, who taught at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for many years and is said to have been another regular of the bar. Several of the featured characters were based on Pittsburgh personalities, and modeled by other Mardi Gras patrons. 

Le Mardi Gras, Pittsburgh, PA

Another character, long-time owner Joe Costanza, hangs beside the bar, in a lighted portrait and gilt frame. "Papa Joe" ran the place during most of those halcyon years, dispensing advice along with strong drinks, and to many across the city known as simply "the greatest bartender in the world." There's no doubting that he was a remarkable character. Among the other memories, another framed article on the bar walls from a 1978 Pittsburgher Magazine includes these anecdotes:

  • 'People like Bud the Bandit, Eata, Frank the Mexican, Clyde, P.L., Antonia, the Cagneys, Dirty Dan, Red, Officer McGovernor, Darce and The Lion. Joe boasts "we get them all -- judges, writers, cops, thieves, politicians, you name it."'
  • "Joe remains the dominant force behind the saloon's popularity. He's the reason dozens of folks will stand butt-to-butt on a Friday or Saturday night, bellowing over the blare of that crummy music, squinting through the dim, smoke-filled air, squeezed into a room that would comfortably accommodate one third their number."
  • 'Joe seems happiest when he's dealing. For a dollar, he'll pour you a very heavy shot. But for down-and-outers, he's been know to barter a handful of change for some odd combinations of scotch, gin, wine and 7-ounce beers. He has his own currency too, as drinks are purchased in hogs and bits -- half-a-hog, six bits, a hog-and-a-quarter and so on. And his concoctions he calls spindoolies.'

Trista with bar manager Scotty
Le Mardi Gras, Pittsburgh, PA

When Joe died in 1993, his son Rich took over the place and has run it since. Today Le Mardi Gras is known for having a very different personality than its Shadyside neighbors, for its friendly bartenders, it's cocktails made with fresh squeezed juices, and the incomparably heavy pour of its drinks (e.g. its "shots" are basically rocks glasses filled to the brim). We enjoyed chatting with bartender, bar manager, and bar fan Scotty, who described bits of history and about restoring the murals and decor. Scotty is currently working on a more comprehensive history for the web page (which could probably use the upgrade -- a glance at their page source reveals a history of porn links).

Le Mardi Gras, Pittsburgh, PA
The bar has been described as "Pittsburgh's first and last cocktail bar." The former may well be true, and although I haven't yet verified it with any primary sources, it was saluted as such in an official commendation from the Pittsburgh City Council. The "last" term is said to refer to some special liquor license that has been grandfathered in, though current state liquor license data doesn't seem to contain any uncommon license today. Regardless of the license history, many of its patrons will tell you it's the only REAL cocktail bar in town -- a description that seems to draw more from its nod to tradition and its mix of people than it does to anything in the drinks.

In any case, and despite the cigarette smoke, this is the sort of old school bar with personality that I could easily see becoming our regular place if it were just a little closer to us. I expect we will often return when in the area.


731 Copeland St, Pittsburgh, PA 15232 - (412) 683-0912
Est. 2002 in current location; 1954 original location
Web site: 
Reviews: yelp - thrillest

Saturday, February 11, 2023

#5000 - The Oak Room, Pittsburgh, PA - 2/10/2023

Mansions on 5th Hotel, Pittsburgh, PA

In the year of 1900, a time when Pittsburgh produced half the steel in the U.S. and was the country's 8th largest city, prominent attorney Willis Fisher McCook commissioned a new house to be built on "Millionaire's Row," along 5th Avenue in the city. This stretch housed the families of Andrew Mellon, Andrew Carnegie, H.J. Heinz, George Westinghouse and Henry Clay Frick. McCook was counsel for Frick, and eventually served as the president of Pittsburgh Steel Co.

The McCook family lost the house during the Great Depression, and it was purchased in a sheriff's sale by Emil Bonita. To help pay for upkeep and taxes, the Bonita family rented rooms to Carnegie-Mellon University arts students, said to include Andy Warhol, George Peppard, Shirley Jones, and Albert Brooks.

Mansions on 5th Hotel, Pittsburgh, PA

The house was later sold to preservationists Richard Pearson and Mary Del Brady, who commenced restoration work of the mansion as well as adjacent property in 2010. The two were opened as a boutique hotel in March 2011, complete with the Oak Room Pub. The building is also a popular space for weddings and other special events. (Source = printed materials from the business)

On February 10, 2023, the Oak Room was the setting for a little milestone of my own. I've been counting bars that I've had a drink in since early 2006, and on this day of my project, in the capable hands of bartender Lisa, my nutty Manhattan made this this the 5,000th different bar in which I've had a drink.

We enjoyed our cocktails and conversation with Lisa, spanning from notes on local bars and liquor law to ghosts said to tread the old mansion (Lisa is unconvinced). Of course we also took in the beautiful oak woodwork, stained glass, and the Elizabethan Revival architecture. Then after this, dinner and bar numbers 5,001, 5,002, and 5,003.

The Oak Room Pub, Mansions of Fifth
Pittsburgh, PA - Feb 10, 2023

Lisa, Oak Room bartender
Helping us celebrate my milestone

Curly, former steward of the Oak Room
(We seem to have been too late to have met this
impressive looking gentleman in the bar)
(Photo from the mansionsonfifth blog)

5105 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15232 - (412) 381-5105
Est. 2011 - Building constructed: 1906
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: mansionsonfifth - facebook - blog
Reviews: triblive - tripadvisor - yelp - wikipedia - lewisandclark