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Bars where Pete has had a Drink (4,732 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:


Bars where Pete has had a drink

Saturday, August 06, 2022

#4728 - Pee Dee's Brunch and Bar, Steubenville, OH - 8/6/2022

Pee Dee's Brunch & Bar, Steubenville, OH

The Wikipedia page says that the economy of Steubenville, Ohio -- location of historic Fort Steubenville and birthplace of Dean Martin, has been sluggish since the steel industry waned during the 1980s. The census shows that the population has been declining since the 1940s, and many of the decrepit downtown buildings seem to reflect that diminishment, though many are brightened by various murals. The building on 4th Avenue that houses Pee Dee's Brunch and Bar is one of these worn places, the second floor windows now blocked with darkened plywood, dirt staining the facade next door, and a large ghost sign for Battle Ax Plug chewing tobacco towering over a vacant lot of dirt and weeds. The menu and interior of Pee Dees are also nothing fancy. But I'm giving this place my highest recommendation. 

What makes Pee Dee's great, in my view, is its authenticity and its character -- and the fact you just feel happy sitting there. You won't want to go expecting haute cuisine or fancy cocktails, of course; but if you're in the mood for some classic American diner food at a good price, Pee Dee's delivers in spades. My photo doesn't communicate how large my burger is, but you might get an idea from the large stack of lettuce and juicy tomato. 


The diverse patrons give it a nice, neighborhood vibe, but it's the owners who really set the tone. They're both affable hosts, with Preston ("Pee") chatting up the regulars as they drop in, and Diane ("Dee") keeping up a running patter that veers from local observations to snarky humor to singing. (The elderly woman next to me at the counter informed me that "the entertainment here is free.") I was wearing and Einsturzende Neubauten tee shirt when I came in and after having me pronounce it, Dee asked if I was Irish.

 The place has apparently been Pee Dee's for 31 years now, with Diane here all that time. The original "Pee" was her brother, who eventually left the operation, but in 1999 Diane conveniently married another "P," her husband Preston. I have virtually no data on the long history of the building before that, although I happened across a 1972 Polk guide at an antique store in town and found "Arcade Billiards" listed there.

Owners Preston and Diane
Pee Dee's Bar & Brunch, Steubenville, OH

Steubenville isn't exactly convenient to us, but it is just 30 miles or so due west, across the West Virginia panhandle and the Ohio River, so I expect we'll pass through now and then, and I hope Pee Dee's remains there for a long, long time.




























160 S 4th St, Steubenville, OH 43952 - (740) 283-9184
Est. 1991
Previous bars in this location: Arcade Billiards
Web site: facebook  
Reviews: businessfinder - worldorgs 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

#4713 - Breezy Heights Tavern, Avella, PA - 7/27/2022

Avella, Pennsylvania is a community of a bit under 1,000 people about two miles east of the West Virginia border and two miles south of Meadowcroft Rockshelter, the oldest known location of human habitation in north America. The unincorporated community is part of Independence Township, in Washington County. With the construction of railroad lines through the area in the first few years of the 20th century, the area grew in population and importance with the establishment of several mines, growing into one of the world's most important bituminous coal mining regions.

Although the mines, and the population of primarily southern and eastern European immigrants, began to decline by the 1940s, it was the mines that brought Dominic Esposto to the area in 1948, founding the Esposto Coal Company. Dominic and his wife Alice purchased an old tavern in 1954, one that had been a grocery store since the 1920s and became a tavern at the end of prohibition in 1933. Alice ran the tavern while her husband worked in the coal business, and the tavern has remained in the Esposto family ever since.

Breezy Heights Tavern & Restaurant, Avella, PA

In 1992, Dominic retired from the coal industry, and helped his wife and son Rick expand the tavern into a full service restaurant -- one that now includes a driving range and miniature golf course.  A striking feature of that expansion is the large collection of big game taxidermy -- the result of Dominic's avid hunting in Africa, Alaska, Canada and Wyoming.

Today, the restaurant is known for the broasted chicken it has served for six decades, a small to medium sized bar serving dive bar basics, and an expansive restaurant serving a variety of steaks, pastas, and American comfort foods amidst the wild animals.

 




































































714 Washington Pike, Avella (Independence Township), PA 15312 - (724) 587-3461
Est. 1927 (restaurant), 1933 (tavern) - Building constructed: 1911
Web site: breezyheightstavern.com - facebook 
Articles: - yelp - tripadvisor - Dominic Esposto obituary 

Friday, June 10, 2022

#4638 - Rich's Parkside Den, Elizabeth, PA - 6/10/2022

Rich's Parkside Den, Elizabeth Borough, PA

So I was sitting in the Port Vue Pub chatting with Shorty about 86 lists. They don't have an 86 list here in that old bar in the borough of Port Vue, Pennsylvania. But Shorty, the bartender (who sometimes also goes by "Heather"), tells me "My ex owns a bar with a list like that with over a hundred names on it."

"Are they open now?" I ask.

It took me a while to find Rich's Parkside Pub, because Shorty says it like "pork side," and so I was hearing it as "port side." But I did find it, and also found it was the second real bar I've ever been to that requires customers to ring a door bell to be let in (not counting "speakeasies"). Once the bartender let me in, there was the list, right on the side of a fridge full of White Claw and Bud Lite Lime.

I tell the bartender that's the longest 86 list I've ever seen. She says, "Well, Mckeesport is right down there." She points toward the Boston Bridge, which stretches almost from their doorstep, across the Youghiogheny River, and into Mckeesport, which has a rough reputation, with lots of closed bars, boarded up buildings, and larger structures that long ago bricked up their big windows leaving only a few glass blocks cemented into the tops. "Is that why the door is locked?" I ask. But she says no, "that's for COVID."

The "Lifetime Ban" list seems to include a who's who of the most malevolent and pernicious characters ever to darken the doors of the greater Elizabeth Borough area. I mean, sure, "Pepsi Mike" seems benign, but there's also "Huggie Theif [sic] Paul," "Crazie Debbie," and "Letter theif Gina." There's both "Little Bear" and "Little Bear's stepson." There's "Slow John," "Beer and Wine Bob," "Bob from Yates Street," and "Heidi (Soap in the Kitchen)." There's "Jeremy (Amanda's Boyfriend," "Jim (Roxanna's Ex-boyfriend," and "Jarrod (Black Anchor Tattoo)." One would hate to stumble upon the unfortunate gin mill those hooligans populate today.

Over 100 names on the "Lifetime Ban" list

Of course I was delighted to find this place, as the dying art of 86 Lists is a favorite of mine. You can see a few more in the Flickr album I've collected here:  
https://www.flickr.com/photos/peterga/albums/72157699557589111














Rich's is directly adjacent to the Great Allegheny
Passage, a 150-mile rail trail between Pittsburgh
and Cumberland, Maryland. in the shadow of the
Boston Bridge over the Youghiogheny River.























1907 Donner St, McKeesport, PA 15135 - (412) 896-1966
Est. 2009 - Building constructed: ?
Previous bars in this location: Patty's?
Web site: richsparksideden.biz - facebook 
Reviews: yelp - tripadvisor 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

#4453 - Bube's Brewery, Mount Joy, PA - 1/9/2022

The smaller portion of Bube's Brewery at night
On the evening of January 9, 2022, while visiting some of the oldest bars in the state of Pennsylvania, I experienced one of the most extraordinary bar visits of my life at Bube's ("BOO-bees") Brewery, in Mount Joy, PA. Noting my astonished look, staff member Jeanbean volunteered to give me a personal tour. I really had no idea what the property contained, so I was continually stunned by the varied and beautiful features of the place. Down, down we went into the beer aging caves, past the "Catacombs" fine dining restaurant and the 2,000 gallon wooden barrels, to an eventual depth some 43 feet below the surface; then back up through the old cooper's shed, with its crammed museum of old beer-making artifacts; and further up to into the saloon room of the Victorian hotel, with its beautiful back bar, dazzling antique lamps, and other vintage appointments; then further through various group dining rooms, each with a unique and resplendent decor; and finally back down to the old Bottle Works room, now the main bar, where I sampled their brew and had a fine conversation with bartender Cory.

Constructed and founded as a brewery by Philip Frank in 1859, the operation was purchased by Bavarian trained employee Alois Bube in 1878, who went on to ambitiously expand it.

"In 1889 Bube (locals pronounced the name "BOObee") received financial backing from Philip Frank, the owner of a large malting operation across the street from the brewery. The brewery was expanded by digging large vaults throughout the property, on top of which a larger brewery was erected, as was the Central Hotel. Even after the expansion the brewery was not a large one, but it employed the most modern methods and was well equipped. Bube produced Pilsener and Bavarian beer, as well as ale and soft drinks.

Unfortunately, after Bube's death in 1908, the brewery was not as successful. The family tried to run the business, but sold it in 1914 to a Swedish brewer named John Hallgren. Hallgren's product was much lighter than Bube's and it never caught on with local tastes. A coal shortage in 1917, impending prohibition, and poor business conditions forced Hallgren to sell the brewery. In 1920 Henry Engle, son-in-law of Alois Bube, took over the property and operated the Central Hotel. Allen explained that during prohibition the brewery was used primarily as an ice plant, although he has heard rumours about some bootlegging, "nothing big like in Columbia or Lancaster."  (pabreweryhistorians
Bube's Brewery, Mount Joy, PA

The amazing, museum-like vintage qualities of the place are explained by its usage -- and lack thereof -- over the half century following the advent of prohibition:

"Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: At the time, it was known as the “Munich of the New World” due to its thriving German beer scene. Over the years, Bube built his establishment into a beer behemoth, with a labyrinthine premises including a bar, the “catacombs,” and an inn that featured the town’s first flushing toilet. The brewery, like other such establishments, was shut down during Prohibition, but by that time the family had become so wealthy that Bube’s descendants were able to keep the building, which remained untouched until 1968, when they remodeled and reopened."  (atlasobscura.com)

Bube's Brewery, Mount Joy, PA

Thus, as if preserved in amber, the brewery and sumptuous Victorian hotel waited until 2001 to be reopened to the public after many continuing restoration and preparations by current owner Sam Allen, who purchased it in 1982.
'Sam Allen is a 1980 graduate of Penn State with a degree in business and psychology and some experience in theatre. I asked Allen how a college graduate with no money began his career by buying an old brewery-turned-tourist attraction. He said he always has been interested in "antique architecture," old buildings, as well as caves and catacombs. In addition, he spent some time in Koln, West Germany, in an exchange program and toured the Kuppers Brewery where Kolsch beer is made.'

'Following graduation his father started showing him the sales end of real estate and insurance, the family business. As part of his training, Allen helped his father show Bube's Brewery to some clients. "It was love at first sight," he explained. "I was hoping they wouldn't buy it." Later, when he expressed his interest in buying his father would not hear of it, much less help finance such a venture. His father tried in vain to drum some sense into him, explaining the economic facts of life. Allen persisted however, and got a summer job as a tour guide at Bube's Brewery. The place was still up for sale when Allen made his offer to Gingrich (owner). Allen said he would manage the business in exchange for room, board, a small salary and an option to buy.'

My tour host Jeanbean, Bube's Brewery
'He began by giving tours and gradually made some changes. The bar in the Central Hotel was small, so Allen opened the area known as "The Bottle Shop" and constructed a bar, installed tables and sold food so that visitors could top off their tour with refreshments. He worked on the catacombs and eventually opened a restaurant there. Due to the 'cave temperatures' he installed kerosene heaters for winter diners. He reworked the museum and eventually opened a "biergarten" out back. He is in the process of expanding the patio. Bube's giant steam boiler is now surrounded by tables.'   (pabreweryhistorians
While I was there there was a small film crew also wandering through, working on a project that wasn't quite clear. There is a live music stage in the Bottle Works bar, and the hotel hosts murder mystery events, in addition to ghost tours, various period-themed feasts, karaoke, and "a local rendition of Mystery Science Theatre 3000." I know little else of the small borough of Mount Joy, 2.4 square miles and a population around 8,000 people there in southeast Pennsylvania. But for anyone who loves beer, old bars, and/or simply American history, this is a must-visit location.

  









































































102 N Market St, Mount Joy, PA 17552 - (717) 653-2056
Est. 1876 (Bube's), 1859 brewery, 2001 post-prohibition opening - Building constructed: 1859
Web site: bubesbrewery.com - facebook 
Articles ranked: onlyinyourstate - atlasobscurapabreweryhistorians - ydkwashingtonpost - national register of historic places - theburgnews - yelp - tripadvisor - hpstrustwikipedia - instagram - discoverlancaster 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

#4380 - Elevator Brewery, Columbus, OH - 9/30/2021

Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus
Columbus, Ohio

The Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus in downtown Columbus, Ohio is simply one of the most beautiful bars I have ever been in, and requires a dip into the location's history before we get back to the present business. I have found that sources, even usually reliable sources, document several different dates for when the current structure was built and when the "Bott Brothers" moved into it, and the picture is further clouded by the fact that the brothers ran operations in several other locations in Columbus, and apparently moved their ornate entry area from one of those to the current building. So for the last word on key dates I will rely on the nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places.

According to this document, the site, now known as the "Larrimer building," was constructed in 1895 and began its life as a bar when William "Billy" Bott and his brother Joseph moved their thriving billiard parlor there, opening in April 1905. The source I found that was closest to the date of the founding, Taylor's "Centennial History of Columbus and Franklin County" (1909), confirms this opening date, as well as the grandeur and success of the business, stating, "In April, 1905, [the Bott Bros.] built the finest cafe in the United States and at the present time are conducting the largest and most prosperous business in the city."

The brothers brought with them the elaborate, curved glass front entry structures, and a magnificent back bar created for the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, AKA the Chicago World's Fair, taking the event's blue ribbon for craftsmanship. The spectacular bar is hand-carved Philippine mahogany, with onyx columns, and various inlaid designs in Mother of Pearl, copper, silver, and other woods. Another striking feature are the large and beautiful interior stained glass pieces. The bartender told us that these were added from a local church in the 1920s, and indeed they do not appear in a set of photos from 1910, but I was not able to confirm this origin. But in any case, they add considerable elegance to the ornate glass in the entry and elsewhere, and the finely designed tile floor.

Jack Sullivan describes the Bott Brothers' preceding activities thusly:

'Joseph came to Columbus in 1871 and found work in a variety of retail establishments.  Within a few years, he happened on his true love:  billiards.  Working in a local pool parlor, he became an expert pool and billiards player.

Billie, who had been nine when Joseph left, arrived in Columbus a few years later.  The brothers soon opened a billiard parlor in downtown Columbus immediately across from the State House, guaranteeing a lively traffic from lawmakers and gaining the reputation as the “third house” of the legislature, a place where “a meeting” was always going on.   Later the Botts would move to larger and more elaborate quarters, advertising 40 tables.   They were also branching out into other enterprises.  Their pool halls had always featured a bar;  in 1886 they opened a full-fledged saloon, a part of its interior shown here.  The long and ornate front bar had been purchased from a Chicago saloon erected at the 1893 World’s Fair.  The Botts featured an animated electric bulb sign outside that outlined a pool table where a pool cue descended and balls scattered.  Columbus had never seen its like; customers flocked to the place. 

The following year Joseph and Billie organized the Bott Brothers Manufacturing Company, an enterprise that sold pool and billiard tables and supplies, bar fixtures, refrigerators, playing cards, and even bathroom fixtures.  In short, the Botts handled everything needed to set up, in the minds of many, “dens of iniquity.”'  (pre-prowhiskeymen blog, 2014)

Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus
Columbus, OH
Sullivan continued that the business ended "in 1916 when Ohio voted to go “dry.” but it appears that Ohio state prohibition did not go into effect until 1919, about six months before federal prohibition took effect. In any event, the Bott Brothers do appear to have concluded the manufacturing, distilling, brewing, and saloon business with the advent of prohibition, whereupon the premises are said to have briefly hosted "Columbia Recreation," where the liquor was replaced by milkshakes, and billiards by checkers and chess. Legend has it that tunnels, now sealed, below the building led to the state house and other prominent nearby structures, to facilitate discretion while keeping the liquor flowing for city leaders.

In 1925 it became the Clock Restaurant, which maintained a highly regarded pool hall, played by the likes of Rudolf Wanderone -- better known as "Minnesota Fats." To this day the bar retains an 1891 8-foot Botts table, as well as an 1884 7' table. Despite some highly regrettable design touches that obliviated the beautiful (and since restored) front entry, the popular Clock Restaurant remained there for over half a century, finally closing in April 1979. "The Clock (Reborn)" (re-)opened in 1981 and ran until 1994, following by "Chasen's" in 1996 to 1998.

Shortly after, a father and son couple of beer lovers with no experience in brewing or restaurants, established a brewery in a grain elevator in nearby Marysville. The location inspired the name "Elevator Brewing," and the owner's business card title of "elevator operator." In 2000 they opened a smaller brewery and a restaurant in the Larrimer building. Ryan Stevens, the younger partner, passed away in 2003, but his father Dick maintained the business, largely as an homage to his son. In 2016 employees Will Triplett and Kevin Jaynes completed a buyout of Dick's remaining shares and took over the restaurant, and then in 2020 the 81-yo Stevens sold the remaining brewery to Jackie O's, a popular Athens brewery.

Today the splendor of the Botts Brothers grand business floor remains on full display and in immaculate condition. It continues to serve some fine Elevator Brewing beers (and root beer), along with spirits and upgraded versions of pub food such as beef tenderloin medallions, cajun chicken penna, and blackened mahi mahi on a hot Finnish Tulikivi firestone. It is a can't miss stop for anyone interested in bars and/or history.

And finally, after mentioning spirits, lest we neglect the other worldly events that some people inevitably observe in bars of such antiquity, the building does of course come with a share of ghost stories. The most well known of these is described by ohioexploration.com

"On a cold February night in 1909, an infamous womanizer named Col. Randolph Pritchard was at the Bott Brothers Saloon, as he often was. Pritchard was called into the street where he was stabbed by a woman, presumably one that he had abused. The Colonel stumbled back into the saloon, collapsed on the floor and bled to death. At the exact moment of Pritchard’s death, the large clock in front of the saloon stopped, marking 10:05. The only trace of his killer was her fresh footprints in the winter snow. The clock stood for many years, stopped at 10:05 for eternity…or at least until it was removed and replaced. The ghost of Colonel Pritchard is said to roam the restaurant, but has only been spotted on rare occasions. Pritchard’s killer, who was believed to have froze to death the night she killed him, is also said to make her presence known. Mysterious footprints have appeared in fresh snow where no one had yet walked. There have been several witnesses who have claimed to see the footprints appear right before their eyes."























































This photo is said to be from 1890, although that
seems dubious to me, as it is the current location.





The Clock Restaurant appears to have been very
popular, although how theycould live with
themselves after doingthis to the beautiful entry
is a mystery indeed.





































161 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215 - (614) 228-0500
Est. 2000 - Building constructed: 1897
Previous bars in this location:
Web site: elevatorbrewing.com - facebook 
Articles ranked: thethirstymuse - pre-prowhiskeymen - yelp - tripadvisor - ohioexploration - beeradvocate - dispatch - untappd - gallivant - experiencecolumbus - heritageohio

Saturday, July 10, 2021

#4277 #S1708 - Sisters and Brothers, Seattle - 7/10/2021

Sisters and Brothers, Seattle, WA

Sisters and Brothers first opened in a small brick building across the street from Boeing Field, in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood, in March 2016. Jake Manny, who ran a joint called the "Crying Wolf" in East Nashville, moved out to Seattle to be near his family and live on a boat, and partnered with a number of people including a couple veterans from Tom Douglas restaurants and local bar owner Drew Church (Hazelwood, Hotel Albatross). From there the Manny crew dished out beers, cocktails, and delicious buttermilk-brined, Nashville Hot Chicken -- sometimes with lines around the block -- until February 2020, when they seemed to have been forced out by neighboring winemaker and reputed local lout Charles Smith.

Meanwhile in Interbay, owner Christina Moy, after years of running Chen's Village on its reputation for salt & pepper chicken wings as the building was quite literally falling apart, finally gave up the ghost and closed the Chinese restaurant and dive bar lounge in December 2018, with rumors swirling that the 1936 building would be demolished. (At a nearby Expedia office, we referred to the place as "Chen's Lodge," based on the observation that the V, I, and L had fallen off the exterior lettering that once read "CHEN'S VILLAGE.") 

The bar history of the building goes back well past the classic dive bar lounge that occupied a small part of the Chen's building. It was the "Tiki Hut," featuring the "Shell Room" bar, by at least 1962, and the bar retained the Shell Room moniker through later incarnations as "Hope's Hut," the "Blue Hawaii Restaurant," and "Lee Chee Garden." 

Wedge salad with chicken tenders
Sisters and Brothers, Seattle, WA

Fortunately Manny is said to have much appreciated Chen's and the earlier incarnations, and he has done a great cleaning and remodeling (significantly expanding the bar area) while maintaining the original bones and old lounge vibe of the place. Slick black and cobalt blue vinyl covers the booth seating, the tops of the walls are lined with vintage toys, an array of swanky mid-century lamps hang from the ceiling, and the walls are covered with mcm pop art, underground comix covers, and vintage local beer lights and paraphernalia.

We chatted with bartender Dave Young, a partner with Jake in the Nashville restaurant whom Jake convinced to come out to Seattle to set up the bar program here, and check out area tiki bars in on his off-time. Of course that was before both ambitions, along with the restaurant itself, were thrown for a loop by COVID. But they are up and running now, with some tasty cocktails and that delicious chicken. The "Seattle Hot" is plenty good for me, basted with a blend of chili purees to give it a nice snap. But if you're a heat lover, you can amp it up to "Nashville Hot" or even "Insane," which add Ghost Chili puree to inflict upon your mouth and innards. At any heat, one bite of their chicken sandwich and the debate about Chick-fil-A versus Popeyes, etc. will seem utterly moot.


I'd love to have this place in my neighborhood, but 7 miles away is nicer than the 12 miles to the old place, and the vibe of this, esp. with the ghosts of old Chinese and tiki bars therein, is even better than the original. I expect to be here often.


































































544 Elliott Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119 - (206) 283-2078
Est. June 25, 2021 (bar opened at this location), June 2, 2020 (opened for takeout-only in this location), 2016 opened in original Georgetown location - Building constructed: 1936
Previous bars in this location: Tiki Hut (The Shell Room), Hope's Hut, Blue Hawaii Restaurant, Lee Chee Garden, Chen's Village
Web site: sistersandbrothers.com - facebook 
Articles: seattletimesseattlemetroadfoodeater - artzone (video) - dinersdriveinsdives - theinfatuation - everout - yelp - tripadvisor