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Help save history in your community by restoring and reusing historic buildings.

Charlie Murdochs

Charlie Murdochs

“I'm glad this building is being re-used because it's a waste to destroy something that has been a place full of life.” —student quote

1005-07 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Date and Style
Built in 1913
—Classical style

This Classical building is like a Greek temple, with four Ionic columns (notice the scroll-like design), a pediment (the triangular section with the date stone), stained glass windows, and two hexagonal towers with Byzantine domes (that were added later, at some point).
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Facts and Stories Worth Knowing
  • In 1901 there were wooden houses on the site.
  • The church was built in 1913 by J. O. Keller as a Presbyterian church for Ukrainian immigrants. It was called the First Ruthenian Church.
  • Later it served as a Greek Catholic Church, and perhaps the Byzantine domes were added then.
  • In the 1950s, members of the South Side Christian Methodist Episcopal Conference owned the building and had renamed it Cleaves Temple AME Church.
  • Developer and restaurateur Clint Pohl purchased the church in 2004 for $135,000. He invested many times more in cleaning, repairing, and converting the church into the “Halo Café.” The restaurant/nightclub opened in June 2005, along with offices on the second floor.
  • Architects for the 2004-05 renovation were Felix Fukui and Wayne Chang of Fukui Architects.


  • The City Historic Review Commission reviewed and approved the renovation plans before work began, since the church is in a City Historic District.
  • The Halo Cafe is pictured in a mural on the side of Don's Greenfront Inn at 2341 East Carson Street. The artist, Monica Cervone McElwaine, incorporated artwork by Philip Murray students created for "Spotlight on Main Street" in her mural. The Halo Cafe is one of several East Carson Street buildings pictured.
  • The Halo Café closed in 2006, was renamed “The Switch” during a transition phase, and then re-opened as Charlie Murdochs Dueling Piano Bar (see photos below).
  • In 2011, Bon Jovi made an appearance at Charlie Murdochs, but only as a customer, not a performer.

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