The Phyrst 50: A Bar in a College Town DVD

The Phyrst 50: A Bar in a College Town DVD


Fifty years ago, a 22-year-old landscape architecture student named Don Bartoletti signed a $250-a-month lease at 111 ½ E. Beaver Ave. for a bar he had wanted to create since arriving in State College four years earlier. This bar would be a welcoming place where businessmen, students, Viet Nam vets, and those just passing through could have a drink, tell a story, sing a song, argue about politics, and do so freely, without prejudice.

In 1969, “Bart” would be joined by a 44-year-old father of six, a WWII vet and an engineer at one of the Defense Department’s largest contractors. Together, the unlikely duo of Don Bartoletti and Ernie Oelbermann would prove the power of a bar was not unlike that of a church. Ecumenical. Sincere.

College towns need these places. At Penn State, dozens of them have come and gone throughout the years, impossibly important for a group of people for a fixed time, and then gone and forgotten just as quickly. And yet, The Phyrst persists.

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DVD format. Run time 46 minutes.

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“To the many Penn State Alumni who spent some great and happy times at the Phyrst, particularly those who knew Ernie; you will LOVE this documentary that just came out ! It is a beautifully creative and sentimental production of what made the Phyrst, ‘the Phyrst’! From the producers of ‘The Joe We Know’, this film is similar in its ability to show the impact of that little bar upon a lot of Penn Staters through the years. The quality of the film is outstanding. Don’t miss it. Ernie would be SO very honored by this film!”

-Kathy D.

“I just watched The Phyrst documentary. I laughed, I cried, I cried some more. Absolutely brilliant!! History is deeply moving for me. Thank you for helping me relive that important time in my life.” - Russ G.


The wooden door.

The Phyrst Phamily.

Table wars. The sign. Ernie. The Mug Club.

Saturday Night.

Oh yes, something there is different.

Countless thousands love The Phyrst.

Few know its story...Until now.