Looking for a Good Time in Pittsburgh/Millvale, PA
May 14, 2014 3:24 PM   Subscribe

Going to be in Pittsburgh/Millvale for an evening and looking for recommendations.

As part of a birthday surprise, me and some friends are off to Millvale, PA, for a concert. We're staying a hotel in the Carnegie neighborhood in Pittsburgh. Looking for some recommendations on what to do before and after the show. Can anyone recommend:

Good dinner between the Carnegie and the Millvale. Challenge: a couple vegetarians and a vegan;
Good breakfast the next morning;
A nice bar to go to after the show, somewhere low-key (not a night club) and maybe with bands;
Any used book or record stores.

posted by melgy to Travel & Transportation around Pittsburgh, PA (13 answers total)
Best answer: It may not be on the way, but it's well worth it!

Go up to Mt. Washington by way of the funicular! There are great views up there, and you have some choice of restaurants. Or do the ride, and then eat a fancy-schmancy dinner at the Grand Concourse, a restored railway station, or the bar menu at the Gandy Dancer.

Your best bet for a bar scene is on the South Side on Carson Street.

Pamela's Diner (4 locations, I think Oakland will be closest to you) For a truly 'burgh meal, you could do Eat n Park. Order dippy eggs if you like them over easy.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:57 PM on May 14, 2014

Best answer: Jerry's is the only record store you need to consider. It's about twenty minutes from Carnegie.
posted by punchtothehead at 4:08 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

I haven't tried it yet, but I hear nothing but good things about combination antique store/vegetarian restaurant Zenith.
posted by MsMolly at 4:15 PM on May 14, 2014

Best answer: First off, Mr. Smalls is a great venue. You'll enjoy it. FYI, one block west and two blocks north there's a parking spot on street in front of the bank that's been available for every concert I've been to there.

If you're in on a night they're open for dinner, Kous kous cafe on Washington is great. Another option would be Aladdin's Eatery. Both have vegetarian/vegan options; Aladdin's has many more than most local establishments. Mad Mex is also right up Chestnut St. in Greentree and has southwest inspired vegetarian/vegan fare.

After the show, I'd recommend Acacia on the south side. It's very much going for the speakeasy vibe, but fair warning: anything on the south side will get VERY, VERY loud and packed on Friday and Saturday nights.

Breakfast: definitely Pamela's as suggested. Mt. Lebanon is going to be the closest location to you if you're in Carnegie, not Oakland.

As another option, if you're beer fans and want to hit up a place with several hundred to choose from, the Sharp Edge in Crafton would be a good, low key choice for after the show.
posted by bfranklin at 4:22 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: There's a Pamela's just up Murray Ave from there if you wanted to go to Jerry's after breakfast. Caliban Book Shop is about 10-15 minutes from there, as well.
posted by notquitemaryann at 4:36 PM on May 14, 2014

Best answer: From Carnegie, the Strip is a real possibility for breakfast -- about 15 minutes by car, and a great place to visit for a taste of Pittsburgh. My personal favorite is Marty's Market (http://martysmarket.com/menu/breakfast/) for breakfast, and they'll validate your parking if you park in thier garage. Yes, it is in a grocery store, but dang that food is good. Alternatively, Bobs Diner in Carnegie (http://eatatbobsdiner.com/) just got a good writeup in the City Paper -- but I haven't been yet.

Seconding Jerry's for vinyl, THe place is a treasure trove. Dave's Music Mine in the South Side is also worth a look-see.
posted by chocolate_butch at 5:12 PM on May 14, 2014

I'll eat 'cat on a stick' from The Strip, any day.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:57 PM on May 14, 2014

Your best bet for a good meal on the way to Millvale may be to detour into Lawrenceville - it's on the way, and would put you closer to Mr. Smalls - I assume that's where you're going - I recommend Franktuary (has good veggie options and beer) as well as Thai Cusine in Bloomfield a few minutes east. Lawrenceville has good Mexican too (Round Corner Cantina), and whatever you choose, you're just across the 40th Street Bridge from Millvale. Bar-wise, I have heard nothing but good things from friends about the Allegheny Wine Mixer in L'ville, or you could try Cain's Saloon in Dormont, back closer to Carnegie.

I am n-thing the Pamela's recommendation; their pancakes are a delicious butter fest, and though Pittsburghers are super-loyal to Eat n Park, Pamela's (in the Strip or Shadyside) is totally unique Pittsburgh to me. Have fun!
posted by deliriouscool at 6:38 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was just at the Mr Smalls venue a couple weekends ago. It was really cool. Good job, Pittsburgh.

There's a used record store that was pretty legit a block over from the venue called Attic Records. The guys were super friendly, their records very fairly priced (they cut me a pretty sweet deal) and they had like a million in there. Didn't make it to Jerry's so I can't compare, but it was a nice stop before the show.
posted by kerning at 8:04 PM on May 14, 2014

If you go to Pamela's for breakfast, particularly the one in the Strip (the one people are usually talking about when they talk about "Pamela's"), be prepared for a wait, especially on a weekend. The one closer to you, in Dormont, *might* be slightly less crowded, but you're getting into the suburbs and it's a tough call. The one in Millvale is my favorite, actually.

I don't have much late-night experience with Millvale other than Mr. Smalls, so my best recommendation for a bar that fits your bill and your location is The Thunderbird. It will likely be pretty busy, but they do have live music pretty regularly. They also allow smoking inside, for what it's worth.

If you're willing to travel a little further afield, Pittsburgh is packed cheek-by-jowl with bars of all shapes, sizes, and descriptions. Do you have anything more specific that you're looking for in a post-show bar? You're embarrassed for choice in the Three Rivers.
posted by Poppa Bear at 6:09 AM on May 15, 2014

I love Mr. Smalls, it's a great venue! Seconding deliriouscool's suggestions, and I agree that your best bet is Lawrenceville.

For breakfast:
Zenith, specifically their Sunday brunch. $11.50 will get you a delicious entree and access to the buffet of cake and yummy salads. Everything is vegan, even the cake, and sooo good. I can't say enough good things about this place, really. Brunch starts at 11am.

Just a head's up, there is nothing vegan at Pamela's.

These bars usually have something going on:
Brillobox, Howler's, and 31st Street - lots of bands
Remedy - lots of dancing
Industry - just cool looking

For vegan food, these places have more than one option and they are my favorite:
Spak Brother's - these seitan wings are the best ever. I basically compare all seitan to Spak's.
Round Corner Cantina
China Palace
And if you need more options,Vegan Pittsburgh is a good resource.

Sadly not vegan, but this french bakery in Lawrenceville is amazing: La Gourmandine

I hope you have a great time. I'm excited for you!
posted by pumpkinlatte at 8:03 AM on May 15, 2014

Response by poster: This is all incredibly helpful! I'll report back with best answers when the trip is over. Thanks so much for giving us things to do, I'm sure the trip will be great. (And yes, Mr. Smalls is where we're going.)
posted by melgy at 4:58 PM on May 16, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks again everyone. We ended up trying Franktuary for dinner, but it was closed, so went to a pizza shop. We didn't end up going out after the show, but the next morning we hit up the Pamela's on Murray (which made everyone very happy), and Jerry's (which made half of us happy, while the other half waited impatiently in the car). The most surprising part of the trip was learning that locals pronounce Carnegie with the emphasis on the middle syllable. Pittsburgh is a lovely city, and your recommendations made it even better. Thanks!
posted by melgy at 4:40 PM on May 19, 2014

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