As part of DOORS OPEN Pittsburgh, an annual two-day event that provides unprecedented access to buildings around the city, we are featuring 20 of the many buildings participating.
Today’s building is the Speakeasy at the Speakeasy at the Omni William Penn.
A Brief History of the Speakeasy at the Omni William Penn
Henry Clay Frick built the William Penn, which opened in 1916. The hotel is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and includes 23 floors, including three of which are underground. JFK stayed there and it was also the site of Bob Hope’s marriage proposal in 1934. The hotel has won awards like the Best of Weddings 2009 by The Knot. The hotel also has a award-winning restaurant called The Terrace Room. There is a famous mural there called “The Taking of Fort Pitt.”
In 2012, the hotel opened the closed speakeasy which was one of many hidden saloons that were around during Prohibition. The grand opening of the speakeasy coincided with the 79th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. The room served as a storage space for many years until the hotel underwent a $25 renovation.
The new design replicated the original flocked wallpaper, tin ceiling and wall sconces. A rear exit opens into hallways that lead to Oliver Ave (so people could leave quickly if the cops showed up). Unfortunately, the original mahogany bar was damaged and had to be replaced. Now a black granite bar wraps around a bunch of backlit bottles.
For tickets to this outstanding event, you can visit Doors Open Pittsburgh here.
Buildings already featured here on Pittsburgh Beautiful:
Boggs Manion : The Inn on the Mexican War Streets
David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Speakeasy at the Omni William Penn