Bracket Night Brings Tournament Style Improv Downtown

If you are a fan of stand-up comedy, odds are good you've taken in a show at Arcade Comedy Theater in downtown Pittsburgh. This one features an array of performances ranging from live standup to themed shows run improv style and more.

We were invited to check out one of these shows, aptly named Bracket Night, and got to throw down with other guests in an interactive, tournament-style battle focused on a single topic. As we visited for a pre-Halloween show, the theme was a timely one, Best Candy, and as they say, there can only be one winner!

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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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The Rib Room Review – Speakeasy Vibes at Meat & Potatoes

The Rib Room is an intimate 8-table restaurant hidden away in a room at the back of Meat and Potatoes in downtown Pittsburgh. As you might guess, this Richard DeShantz spot features prime rib, premium cocktails, and an exclusive vibe with prices to match.

While you likely need to be a big fan of prime rib to enjoy this menu fully, anyone who loves Meat & Potatoes and their delicious creations should consider snagging a reservation to this one!

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Sly Fox Brewing Review – A Great Time at The Highline

When we first visited Sly Fox Brewing, it was for their downtown Pittsburgh location just steps away from Point State Park.

To put it bluntly, we were not fans.

While the beer was true-to-form for their traditional styles, we just generally thought the space was small, cramped even when the patio was closed, and wasn't the kind of place we would make a dedicated trip downtown to enjoy. If you work nearby it is great for a quick round, but we just never found ourselves prioritizing a second visit.

Thankfully, Sly Fox Brewing has opened a second location in Pittsburgh, at the stunning Highline in South Side (close to Station Square right on the Great Allegheny Passage), and has quickly become one of our favorite spots for beer in Pittsburgh!

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Wood Street Galleries is One of Downtown’s Premier Galleries

Pittsburgh has a thriving arts scene, and no matter what neighborhood you are in odds are good you're not too far away from a world-class museum, independent art gallery, mural, and everything in between.

This is especially true in downtown Pittsburgh as the Cultural District hosts numerous galleries worth visiting. Wood Street Galleries is one such spot, located in the T Station of the same name, and is managed by Cultural Trust with frequently rotating exhibits throughout the year. 

After visiting this one dozens of times over the years, we have to admit, it is one of our favorite galleries in the city!

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Barcadia Offers Drinking and Gaming in Market Square

Barcadia opened in 2022 as a second-floor concept for The Market Exchange. This bar, accessed via a separate staircase at street level, boasts 35 games (a mix of pinball and arcade games), a bar, food service from nearby Slider Vibes, and access to a backroom speakeasy with separate bar menu to name a few.

For our first visit, we had a bit of time before a dinner reservation downtown and decided to pop by to play a few games with an alcoholic beverage. While I want to tell you that we liked our brief time at Barcadia, I have to admit, there were several misses here.

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Con Alma Review – Dinner and Live Jazz Downtown

Con Alma in downtown Pittsburgh is a restaurant and bar that features live jazz music. With an impressive cocktail menu, delicious international food, and stellar music, Con Alma is a shining star in the Pittsburgh food and music scene.

Before jumping into this one, it's worth noting that Con Alma has two locations, one downtown and one in Shadyside, with the latter being a more intimate spot serving a completely vegan food menu. We recently visited the downtown location, and after our great experience there we can't wait to visit the Shadyside location, too.

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Sally Ann’s Review – Cafe-Style Dining in Downtown

Sally Ann's is yet-another Richard DeShantz restaurant concept, and it fills a much-needed niche of providing casual, veggie-forward breakfast and lunch fare in downtown Pittsburgh.

Taking over the old Pork and Beans spot, this large space in the heart of the Cultural District has a vibrant, casual feel with lounge-style couch seating in the center of the restaurant, plenty of high-top tables, and a large outdoor seating space on 6th Street.

Keeping in line with the cafe vibe, the food and drinks are all counter service- there is a dedicated register for ordering food, while drinks are ordered separately at the bar. There's also a separate line for coffee drinks during the day. While this took a second to get used to, it really highlighted just how different this one is compared to other restaurants nearby!

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Brew Gentlemen Returns Downtown Pittsburgh at Steel Plaza

If you're like us, you were probably pretty sad to hear that the Allegheny Overlook was not returning for another season in 2022. This pop-up space on Fort Duquesne Blvd was a relaxing hangout spot with food trucks, great views of the Allegheny River and PNC Park, and, perhaps most importantly, beer flowing from one of our favorite breweries- Braddock-based Brew Gentlemen.

While we still lament this closure, there is good news in that Brew Gentlemen is sticking around downtown Pittsburgh in the summer of 2022 with a new pop-up beer garden at Steel Plaza on Grant Street!

Naturally, we had to check this one out shortly after it opened for the season and share a bit more about what to expect at this one.

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An Attraction and Dining Guide to Downtown Pittsburgh

Downtown Pittsburgh has come a long way over the years, and aside from being the economic center of the city (and truly, of southwestern Pennsylvania), the neighborhood that we would call downtown proper features a number of restaurants, activities, and attractions suitable for visitors of all ages and interests.

To share some of our own personal favorites, this guide to things to do in downtown Pittsburgh was born!

As with all our guides, it is worth noting that the following is not a collection of every business in downtown Pittsburgh. This one only features businesses we personally visit, enjoy, or are planning to visit in the near future. As such, it should only be taken as a starting point. If you see something interesting while walking around downtown Pittsburgh, do yourself a favor and check it out!

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