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Issue 04 – Septuagesima 2021



The life and times of a Pennsylvania bar.


There’s nothing about the two-story building at 1301 Kennedy Avenue that would indicate that it’s a drinking establishment. (And as far as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is concerned, it isn’t.) The wide façade looks like an Eighties-era Macintosh was programmed with the rudiments of Tudor revival architecture, with the output executed by a few handymen: irregular rectangles of off-white stucco punctuated by thin brown beams, with five windows and a small air-conditioning unit distributed seemingly at random. The front door, of a residential rather than commercial style, is just to the left of center. This is Craig’s place.

The bar occupies the front two-thirds of the first floor. The remainder of that level is set aside as a small living space, used first by Craig’s ailing father and later by priests visiting the Diocese of Pittsburgh to deliver appeals for far-flung missions, but the floor now lists like a sinking ship. Upstairs are more suitable quarters—a full apartment Craig’s family has used off and on during his nearly four decades of proprietorship.

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About the author

Brandon McGinley

Brandon McGinley is the author of The Prodigal Church: Restoring Catholic Tradition in an Age of Deception.

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