When you’re tired of retail chains, chipotle, and cheap drinks, leave Oakland and head to some other Pittsburgh neighborhoods. It’s time to act like a true Pittsburgh native rather than a slow on-site transplant and adventure. Take a 20-minute ride on the 93 bus to Lawrenceville, the neighborhood that is equivalent to a flannel shirt and turmeric super juice.
Sarcasm aside, Lawrenceville is a fun, walkable neighborhood with an abundance of cocktail bars, locally owned and often locally owned restaurants, cafes, and tacky hangouts. It’s the ideal place to spend a full Saturday. You can start the morning with a boozy brunch, do some vintage and thrift shopping, have lunch or coffee, spend the afternoon pinball or candle making and end the day in a cocktail bar or hot dog shop.
Things to do:
Mix Candle Co.
Mix Candle Co., formerly Candle Lab, combines craftsmanship with fragrant essential oils in hand-poured soy candles. Mix’s instagrammable store has more than 120 different fragrances that you can mix and match until you create a custom fragrance. Customers pay for the jars, not the custom oils, so you can pour a smaller one-wick candle or a three-wick candle that burns for more than 100 hours. When you enter the shop, you can poke around on a fancy smelling wall until you find the fragrances you like the most, then pick three to mix into your custom candle. It takes about 30 minutes to mix the candles and they turn out to be 90 minutes long – an ideal time to wander Lawrenceville, throw an arsenal game, or have dinner.
There is a step into the shop front and the counters and bar stools are not wheelchair accessible.
Kickback Flipper Cafe
Kickback Pinball Cafe is perfect, and unsurprisingly, a cafe full of pinball machines. The café is an ideal mix of arcade nostalgia, milkshakes and melts. The drinks menu includes classic caffeinated options like cold brew, cappuccino, and espresso, as well as shaken iced teas, shakes, root beer floats, and affogato. The menu features bagels, avocado toast, and loaded melts.
There is one step up into the shop window front.
Redfishbowl Studios is a grassroots artist collective curating events and showcasing local artists. They also organize studio tours, exhibitions and public events. If you’re looking for a creative night out, head to the studio’s Drink and Draw Thursdays. Drink and Draw, a weekly event hosted by rotating artists, offers the chance to paint, draw, and be creative.
If you’re looking for a more structured evening of drawing practice, take the Wednesday figure drawing class with live nude models and instructions and tips from the artist host. The Thursday night events are free and open to the public, and the Wednesday class is $ 10, pre-registered event. The studio holds a Ticket sold Halloween masquerade party on October 29th to celebrate the three year anniversary with live music. If you want to look cultured on your first date, give Redfishbowl a call and book a private studio tour. Bonus points for wearing a fancy scarf or a vaguely French hat.
The studio is on the second floor and is not wheelchair accessible.
Row house cinema
With a penchant for pickle popcorn and old movies, Row House Cinema is definitely one of the top five independent theaters in Pittsburgh, which would be true even if there were more than five independent theaters in Pittsburgh. This month the theater is performing its Row House of Horrors line-up, which includes classics like “Halloween”, “The Shining”, Dario Argento’s “Deep Red”, and surprising spooky picks like “The Witches” and “Hocus Pocus” .
If you are over 21 years old, you can get a craft beer, cider or hard seltzer in the adjoining beer port, a bottle shop and a pub. Next month you can cross the street and pick up a donut from Oliver’s Donuts, owned by one of the founders of Row House. Participants are required to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours, so be sure to bring your Vax card and ID with you.
The theater is wheelchair accessible and offers subtitles for certain performances.
Places to eat and drink:
Belvedere’s is both a place to drink and things, as our favorite places are where we can drink and do something. The drinks are cheap, the bartenders are cool, and the themed nights are perfect if your biggest problem with Pittsburgh clubs is the lack of ABBA or emo music. Tuesday evenings is karaoke, Wednesday evenings stand-up comedy and the rest of the week is full of retro dance parties, the aptly named “Sadderday” emo nights and themed disco events. Like the townhouse, the Belvedere requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test so you can sing, dance, and sweat with a relative sense of security.
There is one step into the bar and the bar and tables are high tops.
Bar Botanico’s craft cocktails and small plates are ideal for a first date or happy hour with friends. The Scratch & Co Kitchen at Bar Botanico has possibly the best appetizer game in Pittsburgh – the pierogi of the week is always good, or try the vegetable pusher or butternut and coconut curry. While the bar has a good selection of wine and beer, the cocktails are unique and well prepared and really are the best part of the drinks menu. Bar Botanico’s bartender feature this month is Beetle Juice, a mix of green chartreuse, midori, lemon and absinthe. The Cool Hand Cuke, Gillyweed Gimlet and Espresso Martini are exceptionally good and underline the skills of the bartenders. If nothing feels right on the drinks menu, the bartenders will mix a custom drink for you based on the flavors you like.
The Bar Botanico is wheelchair accessible and offers both bar and table seating.
Franktuary is a locally owned, locally sourced eatery that serves adult hot dogs, beer, and alcoholic carts in a shop that feels more like your favorite food truck – not surprising when you consider it started that way. The all-hot dog menu may seem tricky, but the loaded hot dogs, pierogi, and poutine are so good you forget the humble hot dog among the piles of coleslaw, pineapple, or chilli. Two favorites are the Oahu, a pure beef frank with grilled pineapple, bacon, and teriyaki, and the Chicago Imposter, a skinless one with cucumber wedge, tomatoes, onions, banana peppers, relish, mustard, celery salt, and poppy seeds.
Franktuary is wheelchair accessible and has table and cabin seating.
With savory and sweet crpes and waffles, The first Espresso and turkish coffee,
Café Geppetto is for sure one of the best brunch in town – the abundance of sweet and savory crpes, waffles, French toast and paninis is perfect for a big brunch with friends. The sweet crpes with tiramisu and banoffee are particularly rich and delicious, and the panini with ham and gruyere with honey aioli is a chic, filling, grilled cheese for adults. The café also offers an extensive tea and milkshake menu.
The café is wheelchair accessible and has free-standing tables.