Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Venue Review: The Pleasure Bar BY Jeff Konkle


So football season is over, WWE Monday Night Raw is getting stale (they’re pushing Randy Orton…again), and you’re bored.  Where do you go?  Why not try heading down to Bloomfield, Pittsburgh’s Little Italy, for a nice little taste of open-mic comedy?  The Pleasure Bar on Liberty Avenue is the first open mic of the long week for struggling comedians.


It might be my personal favorite mic of the week.  Some of my best jokes have been enormously improved at the Pleasure Bar, either on stage, or in conversation work-shopping with the city’s funniest and most committed young comics. - John Winters

Bloomfield is one of those charming neighborhoods that straddles the line of sketchy and bohemian so well.  The bars are quaint.  The food is excellent.  But maybe don’t park your car 5 blocks away from the main drag.  It draws in a very mixed crowd.  Cool hipsters, blue-collar types, and  the occasional Italian Men’s Bocce League.
Seriously.  I had to perform in front of 50 septuagenarians who had just finished eating a five-course pasta explosion.  Bruno Samartino was supposedly going to be in the audience for that one.  Thank God he wasn’t.  I couldn’t bear to have the man who sold out Madison Square Garden 187 times listen to my jokes about what it’d be like if I went to prison.

Inside the side room of the Pleasure Bar for the Roast of Danny Palumbo
Inside the side room of the Pleasure Bar for the Roast of Danny Palumbo

The audience is sometimes made up of girlfriends and other comics.  But Spring seems to be the best time for Pleasure Bar audiences, college students and such. Aaron Kleiber is a great host, way cooler than that F*%% face who hosts Beerhive. The atmosphere at Pbar is fun, loose, and very welcoming (outside of John Winters). – Shannon Norman

Crazies do come out at night and some of them decide to perform. Host Aaron Kleiber has had to wrangle in his fair share of psychos and otherwise incoherent people trying comedy for the first time.  However, that’s what’s great about the Pleasure Bar.  It’s usually your first chance to see someone trying comedy for the first time.  I saw the following comedians for the first time ever at the Pleasure Bar: Shannon Norman, Alex Stypula, John Winters, and Tim Ross.
I think this is something that more people would enjoy seeing.  A comedian being born.  The Pleasure Bar is almost like an incubation room.  It’s a warm environment where comedians can be nourished and fed and sleep sometimes.

When: Mondays at 8:00
Where: Bloomfield
Drinks: Nothing special, just everything.
Feature: Best food at an open-mic in Pittsburgh (tight race with Hambone’s though)
Attire: You’re good.  Don’t worry about it.
Parking: Can be tricky.  You can usually find on on Liberty, but one street back should be enough for an opening.
Cover Charge: Zip

Jeff Konkle is a stand up comedian and writer.
Go see him live. 
Check out Konkdaddy.com for more.

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