Joan Aichrath gets to work at 6 a.m. six days a week to open Donna’s Bar on 2732 East Allegheny Ave., a pub that has served as a neighborhood drinking well for 25 years. Aichrath, a life-long resident of Port Richmond and granddaughter of Polish immigrants, has served as bartender at Donna’s for 15 years.
As a former furniture and car saleswoman, Aichrath is a pro at making every customer who sits at her bar feel like a part of the Donna’s family.
“Business is pretty good. Everybody comes in, we have Polish, Irish and German customers,” Aichrath said. “Regulars sit and chat all day at the bar.”
Some regulars line the bar stools as early as 7 a.m. for the imported Polish beer, homemade pierogies and to catch up on the Polish soap operas playing on the television above the bar. Conversation is mostly in Polish, as a lot of the customers are immigrants that speak little English.
For Bobby Kuniski, Donna’s is an important part of his pre-work routine. Most mornings he can be found enjoying a drink and conversation with Aichrath and the other regulars before opening the barber shop around the corner.
Donna’s is transformed into a neighborhood hotspot every Friday night when a younger crowd squeezes into the small pub for cheap beer and karaoke.
“It’s a very good time,” said Dusan Parikrrupa, a morning regular who moonlights as a karaoke favorite on the weekends.
The exterior of this community gathering place may seem unimpressive, but Port Richmond locals know that Donna’s is the place to go for conversation or a weekend party.