Bethany L. Ruhe,
Associate Publisher, Pittsburgh Current
Happy October! It’s the month for all things spooky, so each week we’ll be exploring one of Pittsburgh’s favorite neighborhood ‘haunts’! We start off in Castle Shannon at Someone Else’s Bar, where, much to customers’ delight, the decorations remain up year-round!
Tucked back on Willow Street, where the Blue Line trains rumble by every couple of minutes, Someone Else’s Bar stands as a colorful beacon. The neons shine in bright white and reds, and the walkway to the front door has been transformed into a cornucopia-scene of fall, with bales of hay, gourds and pumpkins exploding around you. Before you’re even in the door you realize this place is going to be different.
You walk in the door, and BAM. It is red, white, hearts and sugar skulls everywhere you look. Hearts and garland drip from the ceiling, and every tabletop has mason jars of Hershey Kisses, Twizzlers, and M&Ms.
The aesthetic is creation of proprietor Else Franzmann, who is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of her name-sake bar this month. And don’t let the ‘bar’ part fool you. While there is a lovely bar with plenty of seats, always full of people, the vibe at the Someone Else’s is very family-friendly.
“I knew I wanted to attract families from the day I opened. My original slogan, which I never did get to use, was going to be ‘Babies in The Front, Bikers in the Back,” she recalls as she breaks into laughter.
Meeting Franzmann, it’s very easy to see where the bar gets its look. With bright red lipstick, gleaming eyes and a beaming smile, it’s easy to see that Someone Else’s Bar is truly her creation, one that she’s been working on for, well, ten years.
“When I first opened, I thought I would be a mostly-bar, some food, but,” she says, gesturing to the colorful chalkboards that festoon the wall with specials, “that didn’t last.” While it’s easy to be taken by colorful decor and candy on every flat surface, Someone Else’s Bar is bringing back customers because of the quality of its food.
Customers rave about the pulled pork, which you can get on a bed of fries, in a wrap, sandwich or even quesadilla. They pile in on Wednesday for Wing Night, and Thursday for $3 appetizer night. Hot Pepper Cheese Balls that you’ve only paid $3 for taste even better, if you can believe it. And I’ve heard their tuna melt is to die for.
It’s not just the food that keeps people coming back and lining up out the door. It’s Franzmann herself. In the ten years she’s been opened, she’s greeted almost every single customer that comes through the door. She spends every dinner service flitting around the bar and dining room, refilling drinks, asking after family members, greeting folks by name and making every person in the place feel special.
“Sometimes I freak people out,” she chuckles. “I had one regular come in and I said, ‘Hey, that’s the shirt you had on the last time I saw you! He looked sort of alarmed.’” But that’s just how she is. She remembers drinks, names and details, and her loyal customers recently rewarded her with a very high honor: the Bethel Park Chamber of Commerce Sapphire Award for the Woman Or Minority Owned Business of the Year.
“It was a popularity contest, but in the best possible way,” she explains. “It was voted on by the public, meaning my customers. It was an absolute honor to win.”
For the woman who has spent over $100,000 on candy in ten years to delight folks, it’s nice to see those efforts weren’t in vain. For as much as her customers love her, and love her they do, it’s safe to say she loves them just as much.
Stop in during the entire month of October to celebrate Someone Else’s Bar 10 year anniversary. There are spooky-good specials, and prizes that will make you scream in delight. Think your neighborhood ‘haunt’ should be featured next? Email your idea to firstname.lastname@example.org.