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Bars where Pete has had a drink

Showing posts with label Dive. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dive. Show all posts

Thursday, February 22, 2024

#5579 - The Adams Hotel, Greenville, PA - 2/21/2024

Adams Hotel Bar
Greenville, PA 
The Adams Hotel Bar has been sitting just off the Shenango River since current owner Richie Williams' father bought it in 1951. Richie bought it when his dad retired at 88 years-old. It's a comfortable old neighborhood dive here in Greenville, some 80 miles north of Pittsburgh and 80 miles east of Cleveland, and home to the Werner Company, the world's largest manufacturer of step and extension ladders.

Unlike most bartenders in similar joints, Richie wears a tie every day, hanging from below his white beard, lending him a sort of professorial look.

The sign out front is a bit confusing, giving no reference to a bar, and containing the tag line "Where Your Family." I forgot to ask exactly what was meant by this (Where you're family? We're your family?).

Out back there's a small patio overlooking the river, and to the left of that is a much larger porch that Richie is going to add to the current bar, along with the building beside it.

I had just eaten a chili dog at the Majestic Bar and Grille -- which is said to have been famous for them since it was established in 1920. But both Richie and patrons like Chris assured me that the Adams now has the superior chili dogs, so a return visit is absolutely necessary so that I might judge for myself.

106 Main St, Greenville, PA 16125 - (724) 885-1111
Est. 1951 
Previous bars in this location: None known 
Web site: None
Reviews: yelp 






Thursday, October 19, 2023

#5453 - Pastime Inn Lounge, Uniontown, PA - 10/18/23

Pastime Inn Lounge, Uniontown, PA

The Pastime Inn Lounge in Uniontown, PA is old school, and it doesn't make much effort to reach non-locals. There's no web site, no real Facebook site, and even finding a listing that includes the full address takes a little doing. Patricia "Pastime Patty" Franko has been working the place since 1980, ten years after her dad Richard Franko bought the place. Richard passed in 2008.

I have a soft spot for "Pastime" bars, as, this has been the single most popular name for bars in American history -- or at least in the northwestern states. So far I've identified 68 "Pastimes" in Washington state, along with 112 in other states. But relatively few remain now, and I make an extra effort to visit when I find one.

Patty chatted with me a bit about the history of the place, and showed me a photograph of the grocery store that proceeded it in this location near a corner of the city established by the Quaker Henry Beeson in 1776. The city lies less than fifteen miles from the West Virginia border, and ten miles northwest of Fort Necessity, built by George Washington during the French and Indian War and the site of the Battle of Jumonville Glen, where the North American branch of the war began. 140 years later the war here was between the local miners and mine owners, with the owners bringing in "fifteen guards armed with carbines and machine guns [to hold] off an attack by 1,500 strikers, killing five and wounding eight." (wikipedia)


Patty doesn't like photos taken of her, but she seems well known to people in the area. A couple bartenders at my other stops on the road trip told me to tell her hello. It's a nice place for people who appreciate an old, unassuming joint with some nice vintage beer decor. As I left I noted my hope that no one ever changes the name.














































154 W Berkeley St, Uniontown, PA
Est. 1970

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

#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 

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 

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 

Monday, May 03, 2021

#3549 - Genoa Bar, Genoa, NV - 6/29/2018

The Genoa Bar, Genoa, Nevada

The first Europeans to settle in the region that would later be named "Nevada" were Mormon missionaries in the Carson River Valley in 1851. There they created a supply area known as "Mormon Station," for the growing numbers of emigrants passing through. The area was renamed Genoa in 1856, and in the following year, the LDS were recalled out of the area by Brigham Young due to the "Mormon War," as the LDS clashed with a federal expedition sent by President Buchanan.

The religious make-up of the permanent residents at the time is not clear to me, but it would seem that they were not all Mormons. as a saloon called Livingston's Exchange was established in 1853. That same building appears to have hosted bars or the majority of time from that point to today. I do not know how long it has been called the Genoa Bar, but it is at least several decades. The bar that remains there today retains that old west "thirst parlor" look and feel, the walls crammed with memorabilia that looks like it may have been last dusted before the Mormons left.

I personally tend to date a single bar back only as far as it retained the same basic name, but it appears that most of Nevada dates this one back to the founding of Livingston's, and hence the oldest bar in Nevada by some measure. It's hard to disagree with the decision when you step into the place. I don't think anything I write would improve upon the photos and this description in travelnevada.com, but nevertheless I will end with a few bits from other sources, primarily the bar's own web site:

'First of all...the building was built in 1853 and I was first open for business as Livingston's Exchange, then renamed "Fettic's Exchange" in 1884 and operated by Frank Fettic. I [the bar] was well known as a "gentleman's saloon" back then and I was "kept in first-class style in every particular way." Mr. Fettic served fine wines, liquors, and cigars. According to one of his advertisements, " would be pleased to have all my old friends call, and they would be treated in the most cordial manner."

I have changed hands many times over the years and in 1963, I was bought by the Bob and Betty Carver family who ran my great establishment until 2000, when they retired and sold the bar to Willy and Cindy Webb.

The top of my bar is original from the front to mid-way where you'll see a line across it. The medallions on the ceiling above the lights are original as is the one red oil lamp which is lit every New Year's Eve. The electric lamps are also original to the bar and were oil but converted to electricity at the turn of the century. I'm kept warm in winter by the woodstove, and since it's the only source of heat, the locals often bring in firewood when I'm getting low. And, no, those are not blood stains you see on the ceiling (it's tomato juice) while there have been many rough and tumbles here, no one was ever killed. And yes, we grow our own cobwebs here too....

Many famous people have visited over the years. Among them, Mark Twain when he first reported for the Territorial Enterprise which opened in Genoa before moving to Virginia City. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt* enjoyed “cool ones”, perhaps right where you're standing. Carol Lombard and Clark Gable came here to play high stakes poker games with the local cattle barons. Among the other famous and infamous, Lauren Bacall, Richard Boone, Ronnie Howard, Red Skelton, Cliff Robertson and all of our Nevada Governors have come through my doors.

When Raquel Welch visited us, she was asked to leave her bra. She agreed but insisted that all the other bras be taken down -and they were! Her's is the black leopard print hanging on the antlers though it's so dusty now, you can't really tell. It wouldn't be right to exclude anyone, so I take lingere "donations" kept in the old safe. Go ahead and peek, but remember, the custom is: if you open the door to the safe, a donation is required!

A number of movies have been filmed here including "The Shootist" with John Wayne, "Charley Varrick" with Walter Mathau and Joe Don Baker, "Honky Tonk Man" with Clint Eastwood, "Misery" with James Cann, Kathy Bates, Rob Reiner and Richard Farnsworth, and most recently, (last summer) "Till the River Runs Dry" starring Ann-Margaret....


Musicians seem to gravitate here. I've welcomed Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Slim Pickens, John Denver, and the Captain and Tennille to name just a few.'



*Footnote: The Grant and Teddy Roosevelt visits appear to be unlikely.



'Despite having owned the place for the better part of two decades, [Willie] Webb says it’s difficult to grasp how deep the history runs at the Genoa Bar. “A few years back a woman came into the bar in her Sunday best. She had to be over 90, so she of course stood out a bit,” Webb recalled. Eventually, the woman called Webb over and said, “My name is Abigail, I worked here when I was 16.” Instantly fascinated, Webb immediately began to do the math, calculating when she must’ve worked at the saloon, and finally asked what it was that she did there. “And in her little old lady Grandma voice, she says, ‘I was a prostitute!” Webb laughed. “I couldn’t believe it! She told me that they used to take men out back to a bar that no longer exists, with bathtub gin they used to distill in the basement. There weren’t any beds, so it was a literal roll in the hay,” Webb joked.'





2282 Main St, Genoa, NV 89411 - (775) 782-3870
Est. as Genoa: ? - First established as a bar: 1853 - Building constructed: 1853 
Previous bars in this location: Livingston's Exchange, Fettic's Exchange 
Web site: genoabarandsaloon - facebook 
Articles ranked: travelnevadanational trust for historic preservation - onlyinyourstate - thesheetnews - tahoesouth (video) - historical marker database - mynews4 - knpr - sierranevadageotourism - swingu - tripadvisor - travelnevada 



Thursday, March 11, 2021

The Eastlake Zoo

(Note: This is a post on one of the more interesting bars that I first went to long ago and was on my starting list, and hence hasn't had its own blog entry at the time.)

Eastlake Zoo Tavern, Seattle, WA
Est. 1974
The University of Washington campus is framed by two epic neighborhood dive bars, the Blue Moon and the Eastlake Zoo.
The former is the older establishment, and has attracted more attention from the local literati. But both locations have hosted bars since shortly after prohibition, and both are living time capsules, that have preserved their considerable character for decades as the neighborhoods around them changed.

The Eastlake Zoo building, constructed in 1902, has hosted since at least early 1935, when the city directory lists a bar of unknown name owned by Max Hurwitz. (Hurwitz also owned the "Put & Take Tavern," before new owners renamed it the Latona Pub in the late 40s.) From the mid 30s to the mid 60s it hosted a string of eponymously named bars including "Joe's Place" (Joe Carroll) by 1936, "Tommie Wood's Tavern" (owned by, yes, Thomas Woods) by 1941, "Teel & Moffatt's Tavern" in 1944, "Jack's Tavern" by 1945, "Mack's Tavern" (Ivan "Mack" McKinnon) from 1948 to 1959, and "Hank's Tavern" owned by Henry Kourad by 1960 and preserving that name for a few years when it was owned by Thelma Brown and Maxine Hart, until Hart renamed it the "It'll Do Tavern" in either late 1965 or early 1966.

Howard Brown, owner, Eastlake Zoo Tavern
March 2021

Hart appears to have sold the It'll Do to Alf and Donna Schroeder, and in a couple years it exchanged hands to a group calling itself "Blue Moon Inc." I have not found any connections of this group to the Blue Moon Tavern, which at that time was owned by Gerry Kingen (along with a ramshackle tavern the edge of Portage Bay called the "Red Robin"). But Howard Brown says that the Blue Moon Inc. group included Clinton Worthington and Stan Paul at the time the "Eastlake Zoo" group purchased the place in 1974. The Zoo team (or "Ooz Bros" as they were known via their softball team and other extracurricular activities) was formed as a co-op, with a percentage ownership determined by how much one worked the place, and rotating roles like chief executive. They assumed the name of "ITC," the Intergalactic Tavern Co-op -- though the co-op part is less relevant now, with all the main members having passed away with the exception of Howard Brown.

Eastlake Zoo Tavern, Seattle, WA

Much of the group lived just down the hill from the bar, in the "hippie houseboat community," before the floating houses had plumbing and million dollar price tags. Howard didn't work there at the very start, but his roommate in a house across the street from the houseboats did, and Howard joined in 1978. In 1992 Howard and his wife, now with a child, moved, and Howard worked in construction while his wife worked for UPS. But after partner Mike "Seemore" Bennett passed away, the people left running the place gradually let the place slide, and handled the cash-only till with something less than total integrity. In 2007 Mike's brother Pat Bennett called Howard to help rescue the place, the two had a meeting with the landlord, and Howard was back on the job, firing undependable staff and cleaning up the business. He's been there most days ever since, even after Pat passed away.


Throughout all this, the Zoo has maintained its hippie-like, laid back but fun vibe and decor. It is one of a very few remaining true taverns -- no liquor, just beer and wine -- and only accepts an ancient form of payment known as "cash." The bar was expanded well beyond the confines of the It'll Do Tavern, with the added back section holding billiard tables, an official-sized snooker table (lit by a billiards lamp from the old 211 Club in downtown Seattle), Skee-Ball, ping pong table, shuffleboard and pinball machines, along with an elevated back portion looking down on the alley below. There's a dance floor and room for a band -- less common now, but one wall is covered with a sample of the the fliers for the regular schedule of years of the mostly blues and rock bands, and occasionally funk or metal, that got the place jumping. "Duffy Bishop & the Rhythm Dogs were repeating performers, and I remember a night when a friend of mine didn't allow the exuberant Duffy quite enough space on the dance floor, and as she popped her head up she accidentally broke his nose. It was the sort of bar where those things happened. (The same friend's injury was re-aggravated at the Zoo one night when I convinced him to climb head first into an antique Coke cooler.)

King Zoosaga, AKA Seemore, AKA Mike Bennett
owner, Eastlake Zoo Tavern, Seattle, WA

Things appear mysteriously at the Zoo.
Any great old dive is lined with layers of bric-a-brac accreted in an undirected manner over many years, and the Zoo has these memories in spades. Sometimes they are carefully planned like the mural on a back wall, and sometimes they are only discovered the next morning, like the squirrel hide Howard found mounted on the wall, or the framed, hastily scrawled note observing "H.B. says it's not his fault." ("H.B." would be Howard.) There are memories of past owners, past patrons, and various past events -- like the Seattle Times article about Howard wining his 4th straight Pub Run, a once annual event that required racing between eight to thirteen bars (varying with the year) and pounding a 7-oz beer at every one of them. There are photos of the softball team, of an annual event in Marysville, of people dancing, singing, fighting, and just sitting. And then there are the "after-hours" photos where things really get weird. 


There are animal heads and horns and hides (tending to the more exotic than the aforementioned squirrel contribution). There's a giant photo of Basil Rathbone for some reason, and a red paper mache dragon with glowing eyes (sometimes you don't ask). There are dartboards surrounded by rope and wooden frames with the dart holes of thousands of errant throws over the decades. There are posters from past events, many of them done for the benefit of Northwest Harvest or other charities, including the annual events of  the "Guitar Outlaws" ensembles, chili cookoff, and mac-n-cheese smackdown. The Guitar Outlaws in particular is a venerated tradition, though tragically due to COVID, the December 2020 performance was canceled for this first time since 1991. The authors of its opus "The String Cycle" have compared it favorably to Wagner's Ring Cycle, and described it modestly as "the most important event of the 20th century." (Seattle Times, Oct 16, 1992).

In summary, the Eastlake Zoo, while casual, is so deep in character and characters, that if the phrase "great old dive" has any appeal to you, you must not live in or visit Seattle without at least occasionally dropping in.


For more photos please see Pete's Eastlake Zoo Flickr pics 


2301 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102
Est. 1974 - Building constructed: 1924 - Co-op founded in 1974
Previous bars in this location: Tommie Wood's Tavern, Teel and Moffatt's Tavern, Jack's Tavern, Mack's Tavern, Hank's Tavern, Joe's Place, It'll Do Tavern
Web site: facebook - eastlakezoo.com (2010 via wayback machine)
Articles Ranked: atlasobscuraseattlepi - seattlepi - seattleweekly - artzone (video) - seattle times re. guitar outlaws (Seattle library card required) - yelp - tripadvisor - thrillist