Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,416 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Friday, September 22, 2023

#5392 - Spirits Tavern, Baltimore, MD - 9/9/23

Spirits Tavern, Baltimore, MD

The Fells Point area of Baltimore is one of my favorite walkable bar areas that I have been to. A number of locals complain about its gentrification -- and I might too had I been a long-time resident of the city. But it appears to be a process that's been happening for well over a century. It's estimated that when Fells Point was a rollicking trade harbor in the late 1800s there were over 300 bars and over 100 brothels in the area.

One of my favorites is in Upper Fells Point, and has a sort of gothy dive theme. I don't know how long there has been a bar here, but there are mentions of it as one of the oldest bar locations in the city and one site claims it has been operating continually since 1890. Before that it was a funeral home during the civil war, housing bodies of both Union and Confederal soldiers. The name "Spirits Tavern" originated after Chad and Dan Ellis purchased the place in August 2005.

Spirits Tavern, Baltimore, MD

The name appears to be an homage to the history of the place, and perhaps the spirits that are served there today. Old photos and spooky artifacts adorn the place. The pool table is free and the cocktails include fresh squeezed juices. My visit was apparently too late to experience the "Tub-Of-Fun," which apparently is no longer offered. The Tub-Of-Fun was a big bucket full of cheap beers for $1. You take whatever beer the bartender grabs from it, and if you guess which one he/she is going to pull, you also got a free shot.

I had a pleasant visit chatting with the bartender, whose name I unfortunately have forgotten (Amy?) and customer Sam. It turned out that Sam had not only spent several years in Seattle, but worked at epic Seattle bar The Fenix, with Rick Wyatt. 

I subsequently learned that the bar is located on a crossing that locals call "Crash Corner." Indeed, cars have crashed through the front of the bar itself eight times in twelve years (cbsnews). I'm not sure if any efforts to curtail this have yet been implemented, but I managed a medium-length visit with not a single crash.

1901 Bank St, Baltimore, MD 21231 - (667) 260-4114
Est. 2005 
Web site: spirits-tavern.cominstagram 
Reviews: yelp 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

#5283 - Korner Tavern, North Huntingdon, PA - 7/17/23

Korner Tavern, Hahntown, PA

Technically in the township of North Huntingdon, the Korner Tavern is located on a corner in the unincorporated old mining community of Hahntown, and lists itself in Irwin. In fact the building is said to have originally been the company store of the Westmoreland Coal Company -- although some have disputed whether that mining operation actually included a company store at all. In any case, it served the mining community for many years -- then run by Stanley Brevic and known as "Stanley's Tavern" -- including hosting meetings of United Mine Workers Local 6080 in the basement.

Linda Pilipovich, Korner Tavern
Hahntown (Irwin), PA
In 1962 the tavern was purchased by Victor and Helen Pilipovich and renamed the Korner Tavern (reasons for the "K" are unclear). It has remained in the family ever since then. When Victor and Helen split, Helen bought him out and operated the bar herself until she was 91,  passing away in Sept 2019. The business is now run by Helen's son Victor Jr. (AKA "Butch"), and his wife Linda. Linda was not involved with the bar in the early years, but a few years ago, when they needed to replace an employee, Linda decided to give it a shot, even though she'd retired twice. She now works the earlier part of the days and says she enjoys it much more than any of her previous office jobs.

Korner Tavern, Hahntown, PA
Anthony and Derek

Another change Linda made late in life was to start distance running at the age of 62. On July 4th of this year she ran her 200th race, and Butch said they should put her medals up in the bar. I was fortunate enough to first visit the bar while Linda was working, and explaining the medals now hanging behind the bar to a couple other first time visitors. There are now 217 of them, including one from a triathalon and two from ultra marathons.

When I asked about the portrait above the bar, she informed me that that was Helen, and added that she had been a great mother-in-law and when she was behind the bar the patrons knew she meant business, and were not about to get out of hand.

Korner Tavern, Hahntown, PA
Portrait of previous owner Helen Pilipovich

In addition to a very pleasant chat with Linda, I also exchanged notes with the other two first-timers, Anthony and Derek, and exchanged bar stories.

Butch is said to be an excellent cook, and I am looking forward to returning, hoping to try the food and/or visit on a Friday or Saturday night to see what it's like when it's really hopping.

Old photo of Korner Tavern
Date and source unknown
HAHNTOWN by Raymond Anthony Washlaski

Miners from Adams Mine 
Norwin Historical Society
Via HAHNTOWN by Raymond Anthony Washlaski

339 Main St, Irwin, PA 15642
Est. June 5, 1962 - Building constructed: 1900
Previous bars in this location: Stanley's Tavern
Web site: facebook 
Reviews: triblive - yelp - norwinhistoricalsociety - Hahntown: Peen Gas No. 2 Mine

#5284 - Safari Club, Duquesne, PA - 7/17/23

The Safari Club, Duquesne, PA

The city of Duquesne, hugging the south side of the Monongahela River just southeast of Pittsburgh, is an archetypal declining old steel town. From it's heyday in the 30s and 40s, when Carnegie Steel operated "Dorothy Six," the largest blast furnace in the world, and employed more residents than they entire city population today, the population has been declining ever since, leaving crumbling buildings and pothole filled roads. The health of the community faded along with the infrastructure, with over a third of the residents below the poverty line, the worst performing schools in the state, one of the highest crime rates in America, and inclusion on the Financially Distressed Municipality list.  (wikipedia, neighborhoodscout

The Safari Club, Duquesne, PA

Thus the bars here tend to be few and far between, inconsistent in their operation, and with very spotty data on the internet and social media -- e.g. on the day I visited a bar here it was listed in Yelp as permanently Closed -- although the facebook site is updated regularly. But the bars that survive can carve out intimate and pleasant spaces, amidst the crumbling surroundings, and this is the case with the Safari Club, on the ground floor of a 3 to 4 story old building, with broken windows, faded plywood over upper doors, and the brick walls in back appearing to crumble. But inside the Safari is a cozy neighborhood dive bar space.

True to it's name, the Safari contains a good number of African artifacts and jungle-themed decor. But like many true dives, the theme varies widely. Above the bar are three taxidermy buck heads, two quite professionally done surrounding one that appears older and executed by someone just starting to learn the craft. Opposite the pool table is a selection of photos of old school jazz and rock stars. The bartender and manager Quanda tells me her uncle owns the bar and the taxidermy, and she guessed it had been here for about 23 years, with no idea what was here before it. The efforts to maintain a friendly, safe environment are more evident than usual, including a large fluorescent green 86 list and requirement that you must be at least 30 years-old to enter.

Altogether it creates a welcoming getaway from the heat and humidity, as well as the other struggles outside. The drinks are typical dive bar spirits and canned beers, and the food fairly standard pub fare (wings, burgers, fish sandwiches, etc.). Events include Bar Bingo nights, karaoke, and the occasional live band. It's the sort of unique neighborhood joint that I might put on my highest favorites list -- perhaps after checking out what it's like on a Friday or Saturday night.

708 Grant Ave, Duquesne, PA 15110 - 

Friday, July 14, 2023

#5277 - K and M Pub, Pittsburgh, PA - 7/14/23

K&M Pub, Pittsburgh, PA

The K&M Pub is a classic old neighborhood joint where the bartenders know every customer. Once inside I was very pleasantly surprised to find an original pressed tin ceiling and antique back bar. County tax records only fill in the story from 1963, when Gerald and Anita Garner bought the place, but it's plainly much older than that. The Garners appear to have sold it to the current owners in 1999, but the old "Garner's Tavern" ghost sign is still more prominent than the tiny "K&M" at the front door. 

Mike the bartender says it goes back "about a hundred years," and it appears to have been built in 1924, so he was pretty much on the money (though of course it could not have been a licensed bar until 1933 at the earliest). Still a lot of research to do on this area.

200 Mt Oliver St, Pittsburgh, PA 15210 - (412) 488-6241
Est. 1999? - Building constructed: 1924
Previous bars in this location: Garner's Tavern
Web site: facebook 
Reviews: yelp 

Friday, June 23, 2023

#5253 - 19th Street Country Club, Parkersburg, WV - 6/22/23

Wright's 19th Street Country Club
Parkersburg, WV

I've added this place to my list of favorites. It might not be immediately evident why, but sitting around and chatting with the owner Kevin and patron Shane, taking in the dry humor and all the knick knacks and sports memorabilia that have accrued since the bar opened in 1946, it just feels like the perfect little neighborhood joint -- a refreshing antidote to strip mall sports bars. Apparently Ohio State fans like Shane can prepare themselves for a good share of abuse, usually from the WVU fans, and the unofficial motto of the place seems to be "BEAT PITT."

Kevin told me about the Blue Moon that used to be kitty-corner, and other now gone joints. Kevin's dad Dave Wright bought the place in 1985, and added "Wright's" to the name. Kevin came back in 2008 to run the place. They survived the COVID pandemic, and live on to serve up good quality tavern food, bottled beer, sports on the TVs, and good natured ribbing.

Before being converted to a bar in 1946 it was a grocery store, and for many years it was owned by Robert “Lefty” Mason, a standout high school athlete in Parkersburg in the 40s, who went on to get a baseball scholarship to West Virginia U and sign with the Boston Braves. It was also owned and operated for a period by Charles “Gary” Winters, who served as a Parkersburg City Councilman, worked the chains at Parkersburg High football games, and helped build over 300 handicap ramps. Regulars at the bar included Wayne Funk, who quarterbacked the local HS team team to a perfect 9-0 record and the 1921 state championship, then played for the 1922 WVU team that when undefeated (with one tie) and won the East-West Christmas Classic Bowl game.

1401 19th St, Parkersburg, WV 26101 - (304) 424-6336
Est. 1946 
Web site: facebook 

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