a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Goodnight Joe

There wasn’t a grittier bar in Pittsburgh steel country than Chiodo’s Tavern. It sat near the gates to the long-gone and infamous U.S. Steel Corp. plant in Homestead at the west end of the Homestead High Level Bridge. Inside the dusty bar, you could practically smell the sweat of the many steelworkers who had walked through its doors for a beer and pierogies. Hung from its ceiling were the things that tipsy patrons gladly handed over to the bar’s cheerful owner, Joe Chiodo, including hundreds of bras that came off while their wearers sat at the barstools over the 58 years that he ran the place.
Chiodo, who died Sunday at age 89, is probably the only bartender in Pennsylvania to have his own historical marker. It stands at the same corner where his bar was located before it was sold in 2005, torn down and replaced with a Walgreens. In life, Chiodo was almost as famous as some of the many Steelers who stopped by his bar to say hello. And judging by the flowers beside his marker, he still has some good friends who remember him in Homestead.

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