Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,772 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Sunday, October 02, 2022

#4821 - Hy-Hat Tavern, Steubenville, OH - 10/1/2022

The Hy-Hat Tavern, Steubenville, OH

The Hy-Hat Tavern in downtown Steubenville, Ohio has been run for the last several years by brothers Chris and Charlie Dipalma. It is an homage to Tony Lamantia's Hy-Hat which was located right next door in the 40s, and which hosted musical acts including local talent Dino Crocetti, later better known as Dean Martin. 

In the location of the current Hy Hat was the Federal Terrace Bar, another swanky nightclub -- this one established in 1937 by Albert "Blue" Ricci. The "Fed" can still be clearly red on the awning of today's Hy-Hat. On the flip side of the old Hy-Hat is the abandoned "Colonial Supper Club," once owned by Andy Dipalma, father of the current Hy Hat owners. It is unclear to me how much of these three structures actually comprised the Hy Hat -- while an old matchbook pins the address at 167 N 4th, which is the middle building, the grandson of the owner of the Federal claims that his grandfather split the business with his partner Flossie Tortorice, who converted it to a successful restaurant called Colonial Supper Club.

Whatever the exact division of the physical structures, a young Dino Crocetti would become increasingly known to local bandleaders at clubs like the Federal and the Hy Hat, and welcomed on stage to sing a song or two. Before catching on as a crooner, Dino dropped out of high school to become a boxer, gathering a nickname of "Punchy" for being knocked out by a first punch, and establishing a short career in which he said of his 12 fights "I won all by 11." ( His singing appearances increased as he took on stints at the Wierton Steel mill and as a dealing in local backroom gambling parlors.

One other performer who honed their skills at the old Hy Hat was Dottie Sloop, a jazz singer and pianist known as "Sloopy," and about whom the song "Hang on Sloopy" was penned. In addition to becoming a huge hit sung by dozens of of performers, the song would later be named the "official rock song of the state of Ohio."

Today's Hy-Hat tavern is a comfortable dive, with the old Hy-Hat logo framed by stage curtains, and a sizable collection of sports memorabilia, old photos, and knick-knacks giving it a homey, personalized feel. The booze selection seems to be fairly typical for a neighborhood dive, and they offer home-made meatballs and various other comfort foods.

As always, if anyone has additional information about the current bar and owners or about the history of the space and nearby, I'd love to hear from you.

169 N 4th St, Steubenville, OH 43952 - (740) 424-1154
Previous bars in this location: The Federal 
Web site: facebook 

Friday, September 09, 2022

#4770 - Michael's Pizza Bar, Pittsburgh, PA - 9/8/2022

Michael's Pizza Bar, Pittsburgh, PA
Yesterday I tried out Michael's Pizza Bar, on Pittsburgh's South Side. Michael's was established in the early 80s by Michael and Dee Glowacki, but since 2020 has been run by Kevin and Mary Cox, who run a fine cocktail bar and restaurant in town called Bar Marco.

The pizza was good, but I must confess that what drew me there on this day was their very interesting back bar. I could not find any details on the background of the bar so far. It is similar to some Brunswick models (e.g. the Empire model), but I doubt it is a Brunswick, as it has a number of features I've never seen before, such as the circular appliques and what look like amateur hand-carved designs on the capitals. The most striking feature is the tigerwood from which it is composed.

I'd love to track down someone who could tell me more!

Michael's Pizza Bar, Pittsburgh, PA

2612 Sarah St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203 - (412) 381-6102
Web site: facebook 
Reviews: local-pittsburgh - yelp - tripadvisor 

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, Independence Township, 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: - facebook 
Articles: - yelp - tripadvisor - Dominic Esposto obituary 

Friday, June 10, 2022

#4638 - Rich's Parkside Den, Elizabeth Township, 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:

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: - 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."  (

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: - facebook 
Articles ranked: onlyinyourstate - atlasobscurapabreweryhistorians - ydkwashingtonpost - national register of historic places - theburgnews - yelp - tripadvisor - hpstrustwikipedia - instagram - discoverlancaster