Le Mardi Gras is the oldest and only cocktail lounge in Pittsburgh. Le Mardi Gras originally opened in 1954 and has served over four generations of people. This one of a kind bar is located at 731 Copeland Street, in Shadyside, and is currently owned and operated by Rich Costanzo. Le Mardi Gras was originally opened by Oscar Gendelberg and Benny Parker and was located at 742 Bellefonte Street in Shadyside. The Le Mardi Gras business was soon after sold to Joseph Costanzo, and Oscar and Benny went on to open up the Gas Light Club right next door to Le Mardi Gras’ previous dwelling. In 1993, Rich Costanzo took over Le Mardi Gras upon his father’s death, and on June 15, 2002 Le Mardi Gras relocated to its current location at 731 Copeland Street.
Over the years Le Mardi Gras has been host to many business men, attorneys, judges, and people from all walks of life. The bar has always been know as an establishment where there are no social barriers, and everyone can drink side by side in a friendly, unintimidating environment.
Over the years many clandestine legal and business transactions were discussed late night over a few cocktails at Le Mardi Gras.
During Joe Costanzo’s time behind the bar, many patrons confided in Papa Joe, and would stop in to get advice or discuss various situations before implementing them into action.
In the 1960’s it was not uncommon to see a criminal defense attorneys having a drink with an underworld mafia client prior to their upcoming court case at Le Mardi Gras.
Many famous people have been known to partake in a libation at Le Mardi Gras, some world renown people such as Rocky Marciano, Harvey Kietel, Sammy Koufax, Sam McDowell, Billy Conn, Alice Cooper, George Clooney, Russell Crowe, Ted Danson, and the writers and producers of the Hill Street Blues, just to name a few.
Le Mardi Gras was where Senator John Heinz had his inaugural ceremony in the 1970’s.
Famous writer Richard Florida often discussed aspects of his various books with Rich Costanzo and patrons of the bar, at Le Mardi Gras, prior to making a name for himself.
From 1954-1980’s Le Mardi Gras was like a “private” bar for many of Pittsburgh’s Elite. Many members of the Duquesne Country Club, Rolling Rock Country Club, Ligonier Country Club, Sewickley Country Club, and Fox Chapel Country Club frequented Le Mardi Gras on a regular basis.
In july of 1989, the movie Two Evil Eyes, which was a double film horror film that came out in 1990, had scenes shot in Le Mardi Gras. This movie starred Harvey Kietel and Adrian Barbeau and was written and directed by Dario Argento and George Romero, these two directors also worked on Dawn of the Dead together in 1978.
During the 1970s and 1980s, many of the writers for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and Pittsburgh Press called the Mardi Gras home.
Le Mardi Gras’ Paintings were commissioned by Oscar Gendelberg, to be drawn by Tom Kouris, a Johnstown Native, who taught at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for many years. Many of the Characters used in the paintings were native to the City of Pittsburgh.
The origins of the Pittsburgh Grand Prix were discussed in Le Mardi Gras by its patrons, many of whom were car enthusiasts and race car drivers.
A number of years Le Mardi Gras sponsored cars in the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix during the late 1970s.
Many professors from the local universities like the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, and Chatham University like to call Le Mardi Gras home.