Jun 19, 2012

The Barrooms of Allentown

The Allentown of my youth had bars and working men, and lots of both. After work, the men would sit on the stools at their favorite tavern, and have a few shots and beer. Most of these bars were made from former row houses, and many have reverted back to such; Allentown's organic that way. These barrooms were small, only the length of the former combined living and dining rooms. The customers were all men, and the beer was local. Some of the larger ones were called hotels, and rented rooms above. The current apartment house on the southeast corner of 8th and Liberty Streets was called Ripenstahls, where many men lived and drank over the years. Shots now has a different meaning in Allentown.

photograph by Carl Rubrecht, circa 1970


Urban_LV said...

This is awesome. I wish we had more neighborhood pubs now.

Anonymous said...

South Bethlehem, back in the day, had thousands of blue collar steel workers and a tap room or "club" it seemed at every corner. Thirsty steelworkers would walk home from the plant and hit their favorite watering hole. Some taverns served home cooked food as well. Industrial cities like Bethlehem, Allentown and Reading had this in common. Practically all of the old taverns, corner bars and hotels are out of business, but the structures are there.

A tip if anyone is interested... the local library very often has a city directory from certain years. Pick a good year, 1950 or earlier and check for these businesses.


Anonymous said...

Those shots took their own toll among some of those men and their families.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Last sentence is priceless.

Whethervain said...

(if I may) I also find this topic interesting and got to thinking about some other nearby communities and how many taprooms (or establishments serving alcoholic beverages) might have existed in them years ago (pre-70s)

Hellertown: Pondos (formerly Pennsylvania Hotel), Pock's Hotel (formerly American Hotel), Ortwein's, Town Tavern, Park Hotel, Crossroad's, Dewey Fire, Democratic Club, Eagle Hotel, American Legion, Central Hotel (currently the City Hall of Hellertown). I count ELEVEN, wonder if I missed any?

Emmaus: Broad Street Hotel, Mercantile Club, Owl's Club, Anchorage, Eagle Hotel (which used to occupy the triangle in the center of town), Gerhart's Restaurant. I count SIX.

But I'm only in my early 60’s and folks older than I might know of others.

Whethervain said...

Oops, just was informed that I left out Hellertown's Airport Inn; it's right at the northern border of Hellertown and I thought that it was on the Bethlehem side of that border - it wasn't.