09 March 2011

Lost City: Pittsburgh Edition: Dee's Cafe

Carson Street, in Pittsburgh, is thought by some to amount to the longest, continuous strip of bars in the nation. I think there might be something to this. I walked down a dozen of the thoroughfare's segments, and there were three or four taverns on each block. Some, like Dee's Cafe, were saloons of obvious age.

I read a Yelp entry that said something to the effect that every Pittsburgh resident goes through a Dee's phase. It certainly is a magnetic location. The pink neon, glass bricks and vaguely supper club aura of the exterior are hard to resist.

Inside, however, it's a straight ahead dive, divided into three parts: the long bar room; the downstairs pool room, which runs parallel to the bar, and is connected by an open window through which drinks can be passed (see above); and an upstairs hall which boasts even more pool tables than the downstairs.

The joint is colorful and insists upon itself. It has it's rules and attitudes, which the bartender will freely express. The bar room has a line of red booths opposite the bar, and a nice, back-lit, glass mosaic of the tavern near the entrance (above). The pool room is mural friendly, as the above and below pictures can attest. I assume theses are portraits of local characters and regulars. But who knows.

Those who are in the bar are dedicated to drinking. Those in the pool room are there to play. The play is serious, as the below sign indicates. No screwing around.

I was told by a local not to neglect checking out the upper floor. Which I did, even though it was closed, and didn't open until 9 PM. An employee quickly followed me and ushered me down. But not before I took this picture.

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