He opened his first bar, the Yacht Club, on the riverfront in 1952. The boat later sank, which is when he opened the Gaslight Bar on Boyle Road in the legendary Gaslight Square.
Mahannah was a singer, performing at the Cantina Chica across the street. She thought he was handsome. When they married, they became a duo that brought a special kind of atmosphere to their establishments.
Moskus tended bar while Mahannah sang and occasionally performed belly dances. A talented, self-taught musician and artist, Moskus would accompany her on piano or guitar. He played honky-tonk music, blues, ragtime and international folk songs; he claimed he could sing in 13 languages, and a 1971 album they recorded is in six of them.
Famous performers of the era would drop by the bars to sing a song or play the piano. The patrons and even waiters would sing along, or sometimes they would break out in spontaneous song.
Frank Moskus died in 1998. His funeral in Soulard was followed by a New Orleans-style parade ending at the Great Grizzly Bear, where he and Mahannah often performed after the In Exile bar closed in 1984. The bartender, who had also worked at In Exile, poured Nicholaschkas for the mourners.
Mahannah is now retired as a Unity minister; she splits her time between St. Louis and Farmington. Joe Moskus still makes Nicholaschkas, but he said his are a little more elegant than the ones that were born of necessity and the ingredients at hand.
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