Jack’s Bar in Pittsburgh is the quintessential dive bar siren song, a burst of rainbow-colored neon filtered through opaque glass blocks that line the shotgun-style space. The self-proclaimed oldest bar in South Side Pittsburgh is anything but subtle, using color inside and out to add to the atmosphere. During the day, the blue-painted first floor dive bar offers some visual distinction from the brick building it inhabits, but at night, that effect is magnified thanks to ample neon running along and through Jack’s Bar. Inside, the glass block theme continues, this time in the form of illuminated blocks underneath the bar itself.
As the look suggests, Jack’s Bar is cash-only and unlike most dive bars that have banned smoking over the years, Jack’s maintains a few hours on Saturday when smoking is allowed. The effect of that smoking cameo is a home to smokers, yes, but also a renewal of the bar’s smokey aroma, a throwback to when every dive bar in the country smelled similarly every day. And at Jack’s Bar, every day starts early, 7 AM the start time throughout the week (9 AM on Sundays).