The Duquesne Club is now accepting worker bees.
At least those willing to fly miles around the city, searching for nectar.
On a roof six stories above the sumptuous trappings of its dining and recreation rooms, the Downtown invite-only social club is home to an apiary of roughly 75,000 bees, capable of pumping out many pounds of honey each season.
"Every day is a new adventure," says assistant pastry chef Sara Milarski, who explains that not long after launching the apiary last July, one of the hives overpopulated its space, leading to a swarm.
"That whole front was just covered with bees," Milarski says, gesturing toward one of the hives, just a few feet high. "When they swarm, [the queen] flies off with them. The hive that's left behind has to start from scratch."
Milarski and executive chef Keith Coughenour trained with Burgh Bees and at Penn State to learn how to manage the urban apiary — and wound up taking advantage of the swarm to start a new hive. "We were talking about going to four hives eventually, but not this fast," Milarski says.
The duo put together an assortment of honey-infused dishes at an Aug. 12 media event, but "Our goal is really to jar and to sell honey," Coughenour says.
And while the chefs are reserving about 30 pounds of honey for the bees this winter, the remainder, says Coughenour, is for members only.