World's oldest bartender, 95, is retiring in Pa.
By DAN NEPHIN (AP) – 3 hours ago
WEST VIEW, Pa. — Only minutes after Prohibition died in 1933, Angelo Cammarata, 19, served a 10-cent bottle of Fort Pitt beer to a customer in his father's neighborhood grocery.
Ever since, except for a 30-month hitch during World War II, the son of Italian immigrants has been tending bar and serving drinks. Guinness World Records dubbed him the longest-serving bartender a decade ago, and he's earned induction into Jim Beam's Bartender Hall of Fame and numerous other honors.
Now 95, he's calling it quits.
Known as "Camm" or "Ang," he's presided over Cammarata's Cafe through births, deaths and weddings — acting as a kind of psychologist, if not priest, for his customers for more than 70 years. The two-room bar he operates with sons John and Frank anchors the ground floor of a humble white cinderblock building in this modest suburban Pittsburgh borough. He and his wife Marietta, 92, lived in the second-floor apartment until several years ago.
"This is a good bar. All my customers here are family. We call them our family, our friends. We know them all. And they're all good," he said one day this week.
Lean of build, with much of his white hair, Cammarata looks maybe two decades younger. He wears neat tan trousers and a white T-shirt with the bar's name and "We support our troops" on the back above an eagle and Old Glory. Around his neck is a gold chain and crucifix.
He still drives — a maroon 2004 Cadillac — and while his hands shake a bit as he fills a glass mug with beer, he has little problem scaling a stool to pull an old picture from the wall.
The cafe is being sold in part because John, 59, recently had a heart attack.
It was time, the Cammaratas decided.
Honey-colored, wood-paneled walls have aged with a patina of nicotine over the years. In the front room is the U-shaped, wood-grained laminate bar; the back room offers patrons a pool table, juke box, large-screen TV and a dozen small tables. Cammarata's awards are displayed alongside a handmade poster honoring local servicemen.
Missing is any kitsch of the kind found in chain establishments. It's unlikely a mojito or chocolate martini has ever been ordered here.
"We're not a classy drink bar. No. We're a local bar, shot and a beer," Cammarata declared. Basic bar food — burgers, pizza and wings are also offered.
Mike Smyers, 30, who lives a couple blocks away, is among his first customers, arriving one day this week shortly before noon. Heavily tattooed and taking a sick day from his family's heating and cooling business — "Footballitis," he called it — Smyers drank a vodka and orange juice, though beer would come later. A regular since he turned 21, Smyers loaded the jukebox with Hank Williams Jr., Johnny Cash and the Rolling Stones.
His family and the Cammaratas are friends. He'll miss them behind the bar, but figures he'll continue coming. "It'll still be the same people," he said.... read more via Link"
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