E.T.A. Review – Japanese Whisky and Cocktails Downtown

We love a themed cocktail bar, and when it is run by the team behind The Warren, even better.

E.T.A is a Japanese whisky and cocktail bar that opened in The Warren's back room in early 2024. The space was where the former wine shop was located and has been a bar we've been waiting to check out for quite some time. In fact, it wasn't until our friend Alex Eats Too Much stumbled upon this one on opening week that we even found it was close to opening at all. 

Naturally, we visited right away.

Whether you are visiting for whisky, a highball, one of their inventive house cocktails, or even a modest food menu, there really is a lot to enjoy about E.T.A.!

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Barcelona Wine Bar Review – Spanish Tapas and Wine Downtown

Barcelona Wine Bar is a new addition to the downtown Pittsburgh drinking and dining scene offering small plates and a huge selection of wine by the glass. Although it's a national chain, we absolutely love the concept of Barcelona Wine Bar- snacking our way through a meal and sampling Spanish and South American wines is our idea of a great night out.

Occupying the former Sharp Edge space on Penn Ave., Barcelona Wine Bar has completed a stunning reservation of the space; the decor suggests the kind of high end wine bar you might find in a much larger city. A long bar with sleek pendant lights runs the length of the space, with large, comfy booths beside the bar, and an adjacent room offers a larger dining space with tables.

Both the food and wine menus here are pretty extensive- it took us a while to take it all in and make decisions, as we truly wanted to order some of everything!

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Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show – Spring or Fall?

Ever since buying a house, we've been inundated with projects left and right. At times, it is really hard to know where to even begin as our list of improvements seems never ending.

So we've been heading to the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show at the convention center for their spring and fall shows to get ideas.

These events are quite massive and feature hundreds upon hundreds of local vendors covering everything from general contract work to gutter sales and everything in between.

While we'll be the first to admit that the spring show is the one to be at, if you are looking to get ideas for a future home improvement project, this one may need to be on your radar!

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Sippin’ Santa Brings a Christmas Tiki Pop-up Experience

Christmas popup bars are a dime a dozen these days, and we almost always treat new concepts with a bit of suspicion.

But when we heard the international charity pop-up, Miracle Bar, was launching a second concept, we were interested. When we heard that it would be called Sippin' Santa and was going to be tiki themed, we were in.

Naturally, we went to this one as quickly as we could after it open for the season. With tiki classics, unique house creations with tropical themes, and profits going to charity, this certainly makes for a different kind of pop-up bar that we hope will return in future seasons!

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Ritual House Review – Not Quite What We Expected

Ritual House is an upscale modern American restaurant in the Union Trust building in downtown Pittsburgh. On our recent visit for dinner, we had excellent service, although we were a bit let down by the food and drinks.

We thought the menu descriptions of the food and drinks didn't align with what we thought we were ordering, namely in terms of the flavors and presentation. Overall, the proteins in the dishes we ordered were cooked well, but we just thought the flavors had a recurring theme of being far too sweet.

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Space Bar Review – Exploring the Cosmos with a Cocktail

Pittsburgh really is becoming a space city, and the molecular mixology cocktail bar, Space Bar, will help everyone explore the universe- with tasty libation in hand.

Located right in the heart of Market Square (aptly referred to as the holodeck when onboard), the cocktail lounge is the resident bar of the SS Oasis ship which travels distant worlds and services locals of the various systems visited with tasty cocktails- some familiar, some simply other-worldly.

We were fortunate enough to visit this one during its soft open in fall 2023, and share some early thoughts of what you can expect in this one!

Disclaimer: We are friends with the owners of Space Bar, provided consulting during start-up, and attended a preview event at opening. We have also purchased the cocktails discussed below outside of these instances. As always, all opinions are our own.

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Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Review – Central Location

When it comes to hotels in the Cultural District in Pittsburgh, it is hard to beat the Courtyard Marriott Downtown.

Part of this is because the hotel is right in the middle of the Penn Avenue business district, but the other part is simply that the hotel is within just a few blocks of the theaters, the convention center, Market Square, and so much more.

But the real perk of this hotel is that if you are lucky, you may also find a room rate that doesn't break the bank. A reasonable price with a location to match? That is a winner- even if this hotel doesn't stray too far from the mold of the chain.

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How to Get the Most Out of Light Up Night in Pittsburgh

In Pittsburgh, the start of the holiday season is not ambiguous.

It is not after Halloween when department stores put out Christmas decorations (or do they do it before now?). It is not the day after Thanksgiving that many traditionally observe. It is also not the first snow sighting, December 1st, the fall time change, or any other arbitrary benchmark.

This one particular instance should not be up for debate, as the start of the Christmas season in Pittsburgh is Light Up Night- the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

In this guide, we want to share some of our favorite tips on how to get the most out of what is perhaps our favorite annual event in Pittsburgh!

Note: Prior to 2021, Light Up Night took place on the Friday before Thanksgiving. Starting that year, Light Up Night became a weekend affair with most of the true Light Up Night festivities taking place on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

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Architects of Air: Daedalum Offers a Walk Through the Art

We always love seeing what new art exhibits come to the Cultural District in downtown Pittsburgh, and in the summer of 2023, the Backyard at 8th and Penn has one of the largest pieces yet.

Architects of Air: Daedalum is a unique, immersive, and inflatable art piece that guests can go inside and explore a world of color, geometric patterns, and the influence of light.

We visited this one shortly after it opened in July 2023 and want to share a bit more about what you can expect when visiting this one during its temporary run through Labor Day.   

Note: We are limiting our shares of imagery from inside the experience to not give everything away- particularly of the two biggest art pieces found inside. Note that advanced sale tickets are available as are walk-ups, pending demand.

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The Foodture Review – Extreme Burgers and Wings

The Foodture was previously known as Back to the Foodture and changed its name in August 2023. The South Side location appears closed at this time but the Uptown location is open with the new name. This review was from before the restaurant rebranded and we are unsure if the menu has changed significantly at this time.

The Foodture has been making waves in the Pittsburgh food scene in recent years thanks to their impressive wing and, shall we say, rather extreme burger menu (amongst countless other reasons).

Sadly, due to many issues on our end, we could never make the logistics work of visiting their South Side eatery. 

But when this one announced they were adding on a new location at the former Buford's space in downtown Pittsburgh just next to PPG Paints Arena, we knew we had to visit as soon as possible. As it turns out, we happened to be at PPG Paints for a show on The Foodture's opening week (under its previous name, Back to the Foodture), and made sure to be one of the first ones in the door.

Looking back on it, we regret dragging our feet on visiting this one for as long as we did!

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