Bar Buddies: Mt. Washington
It's been the best of times, it's been the worst of times, and now it has finally come to an end. For my last week as your official bar buddy, I felt I had to do something beyond the ordinary. Over the semester, I've been to Southside, Shadyside, North Shore, and everywhere in between. There was one place however that I had yet to tackle: Mount Washington. A friend I was with described it as "the best place to be a casual alcoholic" and, while I was content just coasting at "casual drinker", I wanted to understand what about the neighborhood sparked this claim, so I set out to try and experience all of it in one night.
This was my first stop of the night. I can't speak too much on the alcohol, because all I had here was a beer, but there was one thing on their drink menu that caught my attention. Their Moscow Mule requires a $25 deposit that is refunded to you provided that you return the mug. Maybe I'm still a noob even after drinking my way across Pittsburgh for the sake of The Tartan, but I had never seen this before. I found it especially odd considering that this place was more restaurant than bar that someone would get rowdy enough to destroy a copper mug. Since it was a restaurant and my first stop of the night, I decided to also grab some food. I had been here before and remembered the mac and cheese being amazing but expensive, much like the rest of the menu. In the end I settled for a few appetizers to pair with my beer.
This was probably the highlight of my night. If you're a regular reader by now, you know I like to go for one drink on the menu to get a feel for the place before resorting to a tried and true (and cheaper) mixed drink. I must've been feeling festive this weekend because I threw that rule right out the window. The first drink I had here was called something that I can't remember with cucumber in the name and it was very refreshing. There are two types of drinks that I fear the most: ones where I can't taste the alcohol and ones that are super strong and come with what seems like a shot's worth of actual liquid to drink. This type was the former. It featured cucumber vodka, lemonade, and soda and drinking it made me feel like I was coming into the clubhouse after a long tennis lesson on a summer day.
The second drink I ordered was something I never would have thought to order called the Neon Carrot. This drink was the latter of my two fears that I was clearly planning to conquer that night. There are two main ingredients that I remember from this drink: carrots and cayenne. I was on the fence about if I wanted to try something this unconventional, but our waitress really talked me into it. The bright orange drink came in a very tiny glass garnished with what I think was parsley that was attached to the glass with a tiny clothes pin. As I'm writing this, I am only just now realizing that it was meant to resemble a carrot. It was a lot sweeter than I expected it to be, but I still enjoyed it. I personally think it tasted a bit like ketchup, but if you can get past that then I'd say give it a shot. Another notable thing about this bar is all the graffiti art on the lower level where the bathrooms are. You wouldn't expect it when you walk into the bar, but it was an interesting touch.
I finished my night at a bar that was just as new to Mount Washington as I was. A friend informed me that this bar was named after a movie reference to the 1988 film Cocktail with "bury the dead" being Doug Coughlin's most infamous law. This place is new, and everyone was just as curious about it as we were, so there was a bit of wait to get inside as they had reached max capacity. However, even if you're stuck standing outside for a bit on a cold night like we were, there's heaters and an outdoor bar to keep you warm. We stayed close to the bouncer so we quickly made our way inside, where I opted for a fruity, Hawaiian-themed beer thats brewed in Pennsylvania. It was a lot sweeter and a lot fruitier than I'm used to for a beer, but it was very tasty. A friend of mine got a blueberry beer that came with actual blueberries in it. I can already tell this place will be packed when the weather is nicer and people intentionally opt for the outdoor bar.
These places all have a really good happy hour and weekly specials if you find yourself in the area from 5 –7 p.m., so I'll be keeping my eyes on those. All in all, I've had a lot of fun writing this column. I'll be living in Pittsburgh after graduation so my exploration of the bars here won't stop, I just won't be able to say "I'm working" when I go out twice in one weekend.