A Cool Hotel Bar:
With the arrival of Kimpton and Ace in the 2014/2015, we no doubt will have two fun additions to the bar scene. But lets not wait til then. There are great spaces that should be epicenters of cool and instead they are missed marks; I'm looking at you Tap Room, Braddock's Side Street, and Andy's. And it doesn't need to be rocket science. Good music, knowledgeable/fun bartenders, and yummy snacks. Maybe bring in a local taste-maker like Justin Severino of Cure or Brian Pekarcik of Spoon/Grit & Grace to add some flavor. What exist now seems much like afterthoughts rather than places that non-hotel guests would ever seek out. These are also often times the first thing visitors experience, so that alone should be reason to step it up. Doing it well: Bar at The Nomad Hotel or Redwood Room at The Clift.
|Amazing underutilized Renaissance Lobby/Adjacent Bar, it should be a scene and its not|
Design Continuing to be Center Stage:
Mid-Atlantic Mercantile, Butcher & the Rye, Gaby et Jules, Grit & Grace, Pub Chip Shop, Lot 24. 2013 stepped it up with thoughtfully design (spaces/graphics/vibe) that enhanced the respective offering rather than leaving us underwhelmed. But in PGH these guys are still the minorities. We need to continue to push for design to be integral in new projects rather than after-thoughts. Also, lets slow the roll on reclaimed barnwood, its a sinking ship. New look: Scandinavian, clean lines...check out Table in DC for a simple but spot on design.
|Butcher and the Rye's attention to detail for coat hooks under the bar|
A Good Sports Bar:
|Table, DC |
Not a bar with tvs but a sports bar, where there is volume for games (Industry you have about 10,000 tv's and you make me listen to Phil Collins during a game?!?) that also serves as a hub for residents to follow their hometown teams. You can go anywhere and watch the Steelers game, but try and find a place to watch the Bears and you are out of luck. Solid beers and food would make this a dream location for a weekend in fall or March Madness. Doing it well: Stats in Atlanta, 100% dedicated to sports without compromising food or vibe.
This goes without saying but if we all keep harping on it, maybe it happens quicker. Maybe its an express, simplified alternative bus system like the Circulator in DC
or Uber Car/Lyft
(both rumored to come to PGH but no dates set) but something has to step up. The Bike-share launch will certainly add a new element but there is still much improvement to be made. I still vote for extending the T to the Strip
|Lyft's Signature Pink Car Mustache |
A good coffee and a good beer in the same place:
There are great coffee places in PGH and some terrific bars but where can I can go for both? Obviously there are places where this can be achieved to some degree but I would love a place that is both relaxed and friendly where I can pony up with a laptop for three hours and not get the stink eye from my server for holding up a table with a tab of $10. Doing it well: just about every cafe in Europe. A closer to home example is Talula's Daily in Philly
|Talula's Daily, Philadelphia|
We are making some great steps PGH but for those of us that have been to Portland, Nashville, or DC in the past couple years, we know there is still a ways to go! Now let's get crackin.