Friday, April 15, 2011

Gene's Place, an Instant Hit

Owner and Bar Tender Gene courtesy of The Pitt News
The Pitt authors on this blog rarely if ever stopped by Gene's Place during their time as undergraduate students at the University of Pittsburgh, but one evening of being out on the town a few years after graduation we decided to give it a try.  After our usual stops at Hemingway's and Cumpy's/Garage Door Saloon we wondered into South Oakland for our last stop before nights end.  Located on Louisa St., a bar sat with an Old German Beer logo attached to a sign that read "Gene's Place."  I had always known this place as Denny's Bar, but a Pitt alum and former Denny's regular named Gene Ney bought the bar when it went up for sale.  Approximately eight of us walked in the door only to be carded by a plump twenty-something individual nicknamed the 'Grumble.'  The bar was dark, dingy, and smokey.  The walls were wood paneled and plastered with the bar's historical documents and pictures of Oakland.  Gene's was very cramped on this night with patrons, but cozy.

We immediately noticed Gene's fine selection of barely and hops.  Of course they had the usual over-hyped regulars, but they also had some atypical brews such as Mon Valley favorite Stoney's, Hop n Gator, 75 cents a beer, and a little known American lager named Gibbons.  (See Pills' blog about Gibbons below)  This bar became in instant favorite for us and a regular stop in Oakland.  'Steller' even coined the infamous phrase, "Hey Barkeep, get this man a Gibbons!" at this fine establishment.   Mr. Ney was always professional and accommodating to the group.  A few of us once stopped there around Thanksgiving and Gene was frying a turkey for his customers, it was one of the finest turkey's we have ever eaten.  Gene has made his residence above the bar, which makes for a convenient commute to work as a Professor at Carlow University and easy access to tend some bar.  I'm wondering if he has a pole that slides from his apartment down to the bar a la Batman.

We have even heard stories that Gene would leave a case of beer on the bar for the birthday of an old high school acquaintance of ours after hours.  It's always nice to walk in and be greeted by the Grumble, see regulars like 'Kevin Smith', and see Gene doing what he loves.  I thought I'd share a Pitt News article from October 2009 that some of you may have already seen.


  1. Great article Korn. We need to visit Gene's place soon.

  2. Our planned Meeting of the Minds would be a start

  3. The challenge of finishing a Gibbons at the end of a long night of drinking is a test of manhood, not for mere boys.

  4. I have to say that Gene's is a diamond in the rough. With so many bars to choose from in Oakland, it really does not surprise me that it took so long to make it there. The atmosphere is great and the deep fried turkey was too. It reminds me of a place where everyone would kow your name.