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Kopec's

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3523 Penn Ave., Lawrenceville.
412-683-4190 or www.myspace.com/kopecs
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-last call; Sat.-Sun., noon-last call

 

Date Visited: April 1, 2010. Years in Business: Forever. As old smoky watering-holes give way to cantinas and discothèques, Kopec's is one of the last of Lawrenceville's shot-and-a-beer dives. (A post on Kopec's MySpace page indicates that it's for sale.) Crowd: Kopec's is a neighborhood joint that cuts across Lawrenceville's demographics -- young and not-so-young, black and white, Old Lawrenceville and New Lawrenceville. As grizzled regulars hold down one end of the bar, a girls'-night-out group gathers at the opposite end; other patrons stare into the glow of video-poker machines. Rowdy conversations encourage mixing that occasionally gives way to spontaneous dancing or rapping along with, say, The Game. Décor: The bar itself is old-style carved wood, in contrast to the drop ceiling. The rest is the decorating mish-mash you're likely to encounter in a Pittsburgh neighborhood joint: beer ads alongside Steelers memorabilia, a shelf of assorted bobble-heads and bric-a-brac. A second room off the bar area, a kind of bleary overflow area, holds a cigarette machine and "vintage" television sets. TV Situation: Two flat-screens over the main bar. Food: The kitchen is open irregularly; the only food in evidence is packages of crackers and single-serving bags of chips. Noise: Loud hip hop and friendly gabbing. Smoke: Yes. Bring a Date or Find a Date: Neither. Bring your girls, and maybe your dog. Most Popular Drink: Domestic cans and bottles, shots, pink ladies. No draft beers. Odd Fact About Bar: Right in the center of the bar is a dreamcatcher with the Kopec's name caught in the center of the web. How many dreams have been caught here, one wonders -- and never allowed to leave? Available Diversions: Several video-poker games, people-watching. Live Entertainment: Lately, Kopec's has been hosting live bands a couple of times a month -- mainly rock, metal and punk -- drawing sizable crowds to its large upstairs room. Recent performers include Cannabis Corpse, Spires and Satan's Sidekick. You get the idea. 5 Songs From the Jukebox: The top plays on the digital jukebox are 1. DJ Khaled "I'm So Hood"; 2. Plies "Bust It Baby, Pt. 2"; 3. 2 Pistols "She Got It"; 4. Train "Drops of Jupiter"; and 5. Johnny Cash "Hurt." Wi-Fi: Um ... you probably shouldn't expect to find Wi-Fi where there's a working payphone. Overheard Dialogue: Incredulously: "You've got problems, you're into self-mutilation -- but I got a 'bad odor?!'" The Last Word: "This is just a nice bar," says one long-time regular, himself a bartender on his night off, as he nurses a can of MGD. "Pretty much everybody knows everybody."

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