When it opened in 1939, in a bustling residential neighborhood south of Downtown, Plank's Cafe was little more than a local saloon selling what people needed after Prohibition and during a depression: tobacco by the pouch, beer by the pint.

When it opened in 1939, in a bustling residential neighborhood south of Downtown, Plank's Cafe was little more than a local saloon selling what people needed after Prohibition and during a depression: tobacco by the pouch, beer by the pint.

Founder Walter Plank saw an opportunity to succeed and built his bar to last. Cheers to 'im for that.

Seventy years later, much has changed inside the South Side location, which looks like a ski lodge that landed on a '50s-era diner, then slid into an Ohio State spirit shop. The inside is covered with worn barn wood - scoured by hand from across the Midwest - college pennants and license plates registered coast to coast.

The simple charm, though, remains.

If everything in Plank's Cafe has a story, I heard a good slate of them last week during my first meeting with Tom Plank, the founder's feisty grandson. He started working at the bar in kindergarten and now helms it in knickers, argyle socks, a bow tie and fully starched white Oxford cloth.

Besides his crazy yet congenial quirks, other things hearken back to simpler times and the heyday of Parsons Avenue, gateway to the south: a lovely bar with swivel stools, lots of lively conversation, and doo-wop and big band music playing joyously after the work day.

Plank's has plenty to offer, but it's a place where it helps to know what to order.

Instead of a formal happy hour, the bar offers regular "2fer" specials that aren't broadcast beyond a small barside whiteboard. Last week, you could get La Prima tequila, Ancient Age bourbon, Brooklyn Lager bottles, Old Milwaukee cans and several others. They change regularly to keep things fresh.

Sandwiches are generally small and served a la carte (a personal pet peeve), but the menu's saving grace is the pizza, which is often devoured at Alive's monthly staff meetings. It's baked with a thin crust and deliciously sweet sauce, starting at $9.25 for a small cheese and offering unique toppings like brats and Cajun chicken.

It's available to go six days a week - but there's no reason not to stay.