Happy less than a week from NCAA’s everyone! This time next week (it’s Thursday night as I write this), we’ll all be enjoying food and beverage while discussing the days, no doubt, entertaining matches. Where will this take place Kevin? I would like to be there! Of course you would, because that sounds glorious. Sadly, I’m not familiar with the area enough to confidently pick a place. No worries though, I’ve been proactive, and enlisted the help of three friends who have graciously helped me provide some insight into the wonderful city of Pittsburgh. Big thanks to the credible people I reached out to. George Mason’s coach - Mason Beckman, who spent some time in Pittsburgh, and was able to truly establish a connection with the city. My friend John Bullen, who isn’t necessarily from the wrestling community, but a friend of mine from back home, and went to school at the University of Pittsburgh. Additionally, through the community building of the podcast, we’ve learned that a auditor (an attentive listener) of ours, Mr. Rusty Woodley, and father of Jake Woodley, NCAA qualifier for University of Oklahoma at 197, is a resident of the area, and was able to share his thoughts as well. Now that I’ve ideally established some credibility with the rest of this piece, and the gems you might find that follow, please enjoy!
Let’s begin with Sightseeing. Mount Washington overlooks the entire city, and is evidently a must see. Specifically, I’m told that if you take the Duquesne Incline up to the top, that the view is spectacular. For additional sight seeing, Point State Park is where you can see the three rivers in Pittsburgh meet, and there’s military history and Fort Pitt Museum. Head up to the North Shore to see Heinz Field, PNC Park, and you can see the lines paved into the parking lot of where the Three Rivers Stadium used to be, and a statue in the spot where Franco Harris caught the Immaculate Reception. In addition, the Andy Warhol Museam is on the North Side of the Seventh Street Bridge, for the artsy types in town.
Food is a must. Mostly because it’s necessary for survival, but especially because Pittsburgh has some excellent and historic establishments that need to be experienced. Primanti Brothers is an institution in Pittsburgh, and you have to check out the original while in town (46 18th Street, Pittsburgh, PA) in the Strip District. In general, the Strip District is a great place for food, or wandering in general. The North Shore has a few great spots with Southern Tier Brewing, Burgatory, Jerome Bettis Grill, and Tequila Cowboy. Polish Hill has what you’d expect. Pierogies! Fan of Tacos? Great because there is an excellent place in the Southside of town called Doce Taqueria (a personal favorite of Mason Beckman’s). I’ve always noticed that any tiny place with a Spanish name has tremendous food. If you don’t want to venture too far from the arena, Market Square is the place to be. There you can find a wide variety of cuisine. Cajun foot at NOLA, Italian at Sienna on the Square or Molinaro’s, a brewery called The Yard, and City Works is a sports bar you can enjoy as well. This stuff sounds too fancy Kevin. I just want a sandwich! If that’s what you’re looking for, then your in luck. Head on down to Bob’s Subs for a tremendous and traditional sandwich. Kevin, I’m a man, and I want a nice steak! Well then, make your way to The Capital Grille for top notch steak, but be prepared to spend some loot there.
Kevin, you haven’t told me where you’re going to be yet. What’s your plan? Hold your horses reader. We are just now getting to the bars. The Southside (anywhere on East Carson St) Is going to be packed and a damn good time! Fat Head’s has sandwiches, that are evidently enormous and glorious. Glenormious. Local Bar and Kitchen is a great option for pre-session brunch. The Smiling Moose is a the place for you if you like live music.
Travel to the North Shore to hit up the aforementioned Tequila Cowboy, which has a mechanical bull, karaoke, and outdoor section, and multiple dance floors (they had me at tequila and karaoke). McFaddens is a good place for dancing. Southern Tier is a brewery in that area, but more of a relaxed spot. Headed downtown, then look for Howl at the Moon if you enjoy Dueling Pianos. Believe it or not, there are several other bars downtown to check out as well, but at that point you’re on your own as far as this piece is concerned because there are too many to name. Lawrenceville was described by Mason as “the wildcard”, due to it’s hipster-ish crowd, but is very welcoming to all. Evidently there is a roller skating bar called Belvederes, which there’s no way in hell I’m not checking out at some point. To clarify, you can in fact put on roller skates and cruise around while drinking your beer. That’s for sure happening. Cativo is another spot that people should check out, and has specific theme nights, so check out their website to see what the theme is ahead of time. Google it.
One location that has a ringing endorsement from Mason, is Lot 17. It’s an open air bar, with excellent staff, and a tremendous selection of beer. He raucously described it as “always a great time”. If college bars are more your thing (they aren’t mine because I’m 33 and have 3 kids, but to each his own) then Hemingway’s or Peters Pub in Oakland are very much Pitt college experiences.
If you burn easily, and would like to stay someplace away from the sun, then check out Shadyside… On second thought it might just be called that. Either way, it’s a good neighborhood, and Walnut Street is rumored to have an excellent row of bars by the names of Mario’s (Luigi’s sucks), The Yard, William Penn Tavern, and others. Lastly, if you are up for some solid breakfast in that area of town, then P&G Pamela’s Diner in Shadyside, or DeLuca’s in the Strip District. DeLuca’s has desert pancakes, which are as delicious looking as they sound.
Well friends, I hope that gives you all something else to look forward to in Pittsburgh. The wrestling will certainly not disappoint from an entertainment standpoint, and this city is too good to let you down either. Special thanks again to my contributors here, Mason, John, and Rusty. I couldn’t have done this without them, and appreciate them taking the time out of their days to get me some info here. Hopefully this gives you some direction on where you’d like to be, and I expect to run into a couple of you there. Perhaps I’ll be riding a bull, roller skating, or singing karaoke. Rock On!