So I wouldn't call myself the world's biggest sports fan by any stretch but I follow my Mountaineers, Fighting Irish, and Pittsburgh teams with some level of devotion throughout the year. And it course it goes without saying that Pittsburgh itself is a huge sports town. So then I put the question to you, if you want to watch a game (non-Steelers/Penguins hockey) where does one go in the city. For a town that wears Steelers jersey as if they are the latest fashion, we are sorely missing a place for those to watch their game not the game.
I never had noted this previously and had actually felt as though Pittsburgh bars have tv's when they seem out of place (lucky there's been a slew of bars/restaurants without them, Bar Marco, Meat + Potatoes, Harvard and Highland, etc). But my frustration with this hit a break point when in late fall I drove aimlessly around the city to watch the 8pm ABC Notre Dame game only to find it not to be found. We ended up at Bettis' on the North Shore which ended up being a pleasant surprise with solid bar food and a football watching crowd. For other games we did Buffalo Blues in Shadyside which is fun and also has yummy food and a ton of tv's. But beyond those two (and surprisingly, the Casino), we really struggled to find places that fit our relatively easy criteria: fun, good food, and sound on for games. And I was looking for teams with big support bases in Pittsburgh, imagine the plight of a Texas A&M or Oklahoma fan (another possible byproduct of the Marcellus boom perhaps?) looking for his Aggies or her Sooners.
One town that does it right for sports is Chicago. Come Saturday and Sunday in football season, bars transform into hubs for specific teams. You're an Ohio State fan, you go to McGees on Saturday afternoon where you would never know you were not drinking on High Street. Just about any major (and even some pretty obscure) program has a home base in Lincoln Park; check out the "Chicago College Bars Project" to find where you would watch your ream. Obviously Chicago has a larger audience of non-native sports fans, but if Pittsburgh is positioning itself to be a draw for new migrants and that will certainly include sports fans (hopefully recent college grads looking to support their alma maters among them) from a much broader pantheon than we have been used to in the past. Small things like accessible sports bars are actually major definers of successful cities from an out-of-towner perspective.
|Dark Horse in Chicago hosts is a rowdy Steelers (and Penn State) bar. Would Bears fans feel as welcome here?|
So I throw it out to you. What bars am I missing that make the list of great places to watch a non-Pittsburgh game in the City (spare me the list of suburban chain sports bars, you know that's not what this blog is about...I'm looking at you B Dubs)? What teams have the following to support a Chicago style tavern takeover on weekends?