Originally published January 15th, 2017.
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Three months ago I published a post on how to spend an afternoon on the North Side of Pittsburgh. Let's call this piece Pittsburgh's North Side, Level 1. There are some good tips in there. Check it out.
This weekend I spent another day on the North Side of Pittsburgh, doing none of the things mentioned in that guide.... but having an equally awesome time!
Obviously this was the genesis for Pittsburgh's North Side, Level 2. Enjoy!
MORE THINGS TO DO ON THE NORTH SIDE OF PITTSBURGH:
CITY OF ASYLUM AT ALPHABET CITY
The Pittsburgh chapter of the international City of Asylum organization has been located on the North Side of Pittsburgh since 2004. As one of the founding chapters in the United States, the Pittsburgh branch of the City of Asylum project provides relief for writers in exile, as well as awareness to their cause.
City of Asylum has weaved itself into the community of Pittsburgh, especially on the North Side. After a decade, the project was finally able to open their next venture: the Alphabet City Literary Center.
Alphabet City, which opened on the 14th of January, 2017, is a bookshop, restaurant, and performance space. The bookshop is curated by the City of Asylum, and features the largest collection of work produced by exiled writers in the world. The restaurant is a New York style wine and cheese bar, but with affordable prices (I shouldn't need to say much more).
Though it just opened, the performance space already has a hefty lineup of literary events . The interior of Alphabet City is fantastic. The passions and sweat put into the project is evident. The space is very versatile - I can see myself meeting friends here for drinks, picking out a new book, getting some work done, or enjoying a poetry reading.
BENJAMIN'S WESTERN AVENUE BURGER BAR
Voted: Best Burger from the Smallest Kitchen Ever award, 2017, by Madeline Quigley.
Benjamin's has been serving up gourmet burgers from a grill the size of an Oxford English Dictionary since October 2012. Though burgers were not the original plan for the establishment, they have certainly found their niche. Between Goat Cheese & Apple, Truffle Mustard, and "Top Shelf Cheese," there is a burger option for everyone... including me, who hates burgers.
Benjamin's is a chic sports bar with trendy food, a bloody mary bar on weekends, and a massive beer/wine list. Worth seeking out. Also... I am not kidding about the kitchen thing. Unreal!
EL BURRO COMEDOR
This is El Burro's original location (the second one just opened in Regent Square). El Burro is the place to get hearty burritos, tacos, y mas on the North Side of Pittsburgh. The space is awesome and the food delicious, but I was a bit baffled by the prices. $8 burritos? In Pittsburgh? On the North Side? Is that average? Do I not know how much a burrito is worth?
However, I must say... by 8pm that night I was still full from my 11am lunch. Seriously, one burrito was the only meal I needed that entire day. Also, they don't charge extra for sauces, which is about the coolest thing any restaurant can do.
Right around the corner form Benjamin's Burgers is City Books, now in a new location and under new ownership.
When I was writing the Pittsburgh Literary City Guide for Eat This Poem I visited every independent bookstore in the city, and I can tell you, City Books is a real gem. They have a wide selection of unique books organized by genre, and a collection of other locally crafted trinkets (candles, earrings, pins, ect).
I was especially excited by their "blind date with a book" project. They sell different books wrapped in brown paper - some with a description, some blank - and you can pick one on a whim. Some say "Thank You," or "Get Well Soon," and would be the perfect hostess gift.
Also, the owner, Arlen, is incredibly sweet and knowledgeable. Stop in - I bet you don't walk out empty handed.
ALLEGHENY CITY BREWING
Once upon a time there was East End Brewing, Roundabout and Full Pint. Now there seems to be a new brewery popping up everywhere in Pittsburgh.
Allegheny City Brewing opened in July of 2016, and is a necessary addition to the North Side of Pittsburgh. The name is inspired by the previously independent city that used to be located on the north shores on Pittsburgh, Allegheny City (annexed in 1907).
Perfectly poised for pre or post game fun, (or when you need a pint), ACB is your quintessential brewery. Food trucks outside, boardgames, trendy shabby-chic decor, and, of course, a wide variety of brews. It's also super cozy.
Come on guys, I shouldn't have to convince you to check out a brewery.
THE FARMER'S DAUGHTER
With over 20,000 followers, there is a chance you have seen the Farmer's Daughter's instagram. What you probably didn't realize is that this trendy AF flower shop is located on East Ohio Street on the North Side.
It is a flower shop that belongs in Brooklyn, but we somehow have it here in Pittsburgh. The Farmer's Daughter has been creating amazing flower arrangements from their North Side digs for the past two years. Even if you don't need flowers, the Farmer's Daughter is worth the trip for the atmosphere alone. They have amazing jewelry, pots, accessories and more.
STEDEFORD'S DISCOUNT RECORDS & TAPES
I embarrass myself by not being able to tell a good record shop from a bad one, but record collectors probably like figuring that out for themselves. So, collectors, here you go: there is a record shop on East Ohio Street called Stedeford's Discount Records & Tapes. It has a lot of good reviews. LMK what you think.
FINE PRIORY PASTRIES
I say this with no jest: a day isn't over until you've dessert. Luckily, a Pittsburgh favorite, Fine Priory Pastries, is located on the North Side of Pittsburgh. Priory's space on East Ohio Street has a very interesting history, and has been a bakery since 2004. Serving everything from eclairs to strudels to wedding cakes, end your day with a sugary treat and a cup of coffee at Fine Priory Pastries.
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