One evening while carousing on the South Side in our early twenties we stumbled upon a small bar off of Carson St. named Kopy's. I'm not sure whose idea it was or why we were even off the beaten path, but we decided to check it out. This turned out to be both one of the best decisions and eventual discovery that the Blast Furnace ever made.
As we walked into the dark and dingy establishment located at 80 South 12th St. we were greeted by a haze of cigarette smoke and two bar tenders, Ned and Kop', who were eager to serve us a drink from their large selection. They took our order and we were pleasantly surprised at the $2.00 we were charged for shots and beers (Note: beer prices have changed since the inaugural visit, but still great). Other than a few blue collar locals and being somewhat early for the weekend South Side crowd we practically had the entire bar to ourselves. The bar had everything that one could ask for: jukebox, dart board, pool table, pinball machine, and two TVs. We immediately filled the jukebox with dollar bills and started one of many dart games. As the night went on the crowd picked up and Blast Furnace members continued to consume cheap drinks.
Kopy's is not your typical South Side destination like Mario's or Jack's, but it captures the spirit of a hardworking blue-collar bar that Pittsburghers of yesteryear would be proud to frequent. No cheap thrills or gimmicks necessary, this is your grandfather's bar. The bartenders are always accommodating and pleasant and have even come to recognize our group after the many visits that we continue to make. Ned, Kop', and some of the regulars would always be amused when our Designated Driver Limo would pull up and a large group would suddenly pour into the inconspicuous bar. The solemn atmosphere would transform to a lively Blast Furnace fiesta in a matter of seconds. Kopy's really made a strong impression on us, one that would keep us coming back for years.
This is always our first stop of the night. An hour or so after leaving Kopy's we usually always ask ourselves why we left; the other bars being overcrowded and expensive. Whether it is mockingly chugging Old Milwaukee pounders with country music "legend" Neal McCoy's face plastered to the can or knocking back shots of Jameson, Kopy's is the place to catch up with friends. Even though we do not go there as much as we used to we still try to get there as much as possible.
A couple of years ago Ben State, Chris, Pils, Coso and I thought it would be a great idea to go for St. Patrick's Day and it may have been the best decision that we ever collectively made. Coso was the first person in the bar at approximately 10:00 am and we soon followed. For a good hour the whole bar was totally ours. Why fight the crowds at Market Square and Station Square when we had Kopy's. This may be a new Blast Furnace tradition as we followed the same plan the following year. The morning drinkers, aka alcoholics, were shocked to see a populated bar when they rolled out of bed on that fine Saturday morning. Although most may consider it a dive we consider it home.
After much deliberation I declare Kopy's the official bar of the Blast Furnace. Here's to Kopy's......the best bar in town.