Guided Tour : Hemingway’s Café

In Guided Tour, Pittsburgh on August 16, 2011 at 12:00 am

Photograph of Oakland business district. Like Hemingway’s, this corridor has changed dramatically over the years. These storefronts once belonged to The Beehive, an epic bohemian coffeehouse and cinema.

Once a hotbed of angry poets and chain-smoking bohemians, Hemingway’s has transformed in recent years, veering away from its titular reputation as a “café.” Ever since the management installed large overhanging TV’s – which are perpetually tuned to sports channels – and introduced really, really cheap beer, Hemingway’s has become a touchstone for the University of Pittsburgh’s fraternity crowd. Public readings, which were once a famous occurrence in the backroom, have petered out, leaving room for enormous drunken birthday parties and post-midterms revelry. The antique wooden finish remains intact, as well as the English-style pub menu, which becomes half-priced after 11PM. In a way, Hemingway’s is now a less pretentious locale, providing $1 Molsens and heaping plates of pita chips to the University’s more casual crowd. And it’s not uncommon for regular guests to find photographs of themselves on the back wall. Hemingway’s is also known for celebrating aspiring bartenders – some lucky students have found their liquor-shot concoctions printed in stand-up menu, one of the few traditions that have remained intact.


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