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Pittsburgh/South Side

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Pittsburgh : South Side
Revision as of 21:43, 8 March 2009 by PerryPlanet (talk | contribs) (By public transit)
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Pittsburgh/South Side

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View of Downtown from Mt. Washington

South Side is the southern region of Pittsburgh, south of the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers. While this article covers the entire southern region of the city, "South Side" usually refers to a popular neighborhood directly across the Monongahela River from Downtown.

Understand

The neighborhood of South Side contains more restaurants and bars than perhaps anywhere else in the city. It is located along the Monongahela River, extending from Station Square about 30 blocks to the east, and extending inland several blocks from the river. The central artery is East Carson street on which most of the restaurants and bars are located. Historically the neighborhood was home to the millworkers for the steel mills that once lined the Monongahela river. Since most of these workers came from eastern Europe there is a European feel to it: small homes built right next to each other, dozens of churches of various ethnic persuasions and even more neighborhood bars and small shops all mixed helter skelter together.

Today the mills are gone and shops and restaurants are springing up in their place. The older area is an interesting place to wander and people-watch because it is very dense and you can easily walk almost anywhere. It is one of the few places in Pittsburgh where, in the summer, people eat and drink at tables outside restaurants. South Side is divided into two main sections, aptly named the "Flats" and the "Slopes". The flats, closer to the river, contain shops, bars, restaurants as well as many interesting homes and apartments. On the slopes, which start several blocks south of the river, are houses, hundreds and hundreds of narrow, tall homes, cheek-to-jowl with one another, perched precariously on the hillside. There are dozens of streets and pseudo-streets (steep concrete and wooden stairs maintained by the city) which residents use to get up and down.

West of South Side is Mount Washington, both a sight and a place to see from. It was once called Coal Hill because of the generous coal seams it contained (since mined). It was, and to some extent still is, one of the major residential areas for the people that worked in Pittsburgh's industrial plants and offices. Today it is most famous for the two inclines which climb the steep slopes facing downtown and the rivers.

West and south of South Side and Mount Washington are numerous small residential neighborhoods, many of them quite hilly, which don't contain as many attractions for the tourist as South Side and Mt. Washington do.

Get in

By car

From Downtown or northern and eastern neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, go south across the Monongahela or Ohio Rivers. There are six bridges you can use to cross the Monongahela River, and one bridge crossing the Ohio River. Most intersect with Carson Street after you cross the river. From west to east the bridges are:

  • The West End Bridge, which connects directly to the North Side over the Ohio River.
  • The Fort Pitt Bridge (I-279) from downtown, which has a exit onto westbound Carson Street.
  • The Smithfield Street Bridge, which will take you from downtown directly to Station Square.
  • The Liberty Bridge, which takes you from the east side of downtown. This is the only bridge into this area that doesn't intersect with Carson Street; rather it intersects PJ McArdle Road. From downtown, turning right onto PJ McArdle Road will take you up to Mount Washington. To get to South Side and Station Square, turn left onto PJ McArdle Road, and turn left again at the very next stoplight (Arlington Avenue). This will take you directly to Station Square and Carson Street.
  • The 10th Street Bridge, which takes you from the Duquesne University area into South Side.
  • The 22nd Street Bridge (also known as the Birmingham Bridge), which takes you from I-376 at the foot of Oakland into South Side.
  • The Hot Metal Bridge (so-named because it was formerly used to transport ladles of molten steel from the blast furnace on one side of the river to the rolling mill on the other), which takes you from I-376 south of Oakland into South Side.

In the South Side flats you can sometimes find on-street parking on the side streets and there are also some metered parking lots.

By public transit

Pittsburgh's light rail system, "The T", runs from downtown into the South Side. Immediately after crossing the Monongahela River, the 42 and 47 lines stop at Station Square. Right after that they proceed into a transit-only tunnel under Mount Washington, and come out at the South Hills Junction station on the other side before the 42 and 47 lines split apart, with the 42 traveling through Beechview and the 47 through Overbrook before heading into the suburbs south of Pittsburgh. A less-frequent light rail line, the 52, travels from downtown across the river and onto Arlington Avenue, going through the small neighborhood of Allentown before terminating at the South Hills Junction.

Alternatively, you can take any of the 51 bus routes to get from downtown down Carson Street right into the heart of the South Side neighborhood. The 51A and 51C will take you from downtown past Station Square down Carson Street. The 54C will get you from South Side to Oakland.

Get around

In the case of Mount Washington, getting there is half the fun. And there are many ways to do it, almost all of them interesting. Many people take one of two inclines, each a mile apart, to the neighborhoods atop Mount Washington. The Monongahela Incline [3] is probably the most direct from downtown and the more tourist oriented, rising from near Station Square to Grandview Avenue in the neighborhood of Mount Washington. The Duquesne Incline [4] goes to Grandview Avenue in the Duquesne Heights neighborhood has the better view from the top, able to see down all three river valleys. Both inclines are essentially a tramway, or funicular railway that scales the side of the mount. At the peak of the industrial era, a number of similar inclines transported workers from the top of the mount to the South Side "flats", where they either walked across one of the bridges, or took a streetcar to their work. Today the Duquesne Incline and Monongahela Incline are the only two inclines remaining.

For the less adventurous, one may "mount the mount" in an automobile. Also if you are willing to go out of the way for a picturesque view one would probably take the car farther up the side of the river to Fineview. Take the Liberty bridge from Downtown south, across the Monongahela river; just before you would enter the Liberty tunnel--don't--instead turn right and go up the McArdle roadway. Don't let the driver watch the expanding view as you travel up the face of the mount.

See

  • Station Square, 10th and East Carson St, [5] was at one time a railroad station. The original station, fully renovated, is still there. Now housing the Gandy Dancer Saloon and the Grand Concourse restaurant, it is a beautiful example of the grand train stations of the past with a huge, beautiful colored glass skylight that seems to be a mile in the air, feaux marble columns and fine wooden appointments. You may still see a train passing on the tracks between the station and the river, but they are freight trains, not passenger trains.

In the many ancillary buildings (some new, some original) that surround the station itself are a unique entertainment and office complex. One is tempted to use the term "mall", but that really doesn't cover it. In the space between the buildings you will find several artifacts of the steel industry past on display: huge ladles and furnaces and other equipment.

  • The Gateway Clipper Fleet [6] will give you the feel of the old days when paddle wheel boats plied the rivers in a never ending stream pushing barges and transporting passengers up and down the Ohio, Mississippi riverways. Today they will take you for a short tour of the nearby river system and point out many of the interesting sights to be seen along the water. There are also ethnic dinner and dance night cruises, where you can eat galumkies (Polish stuffed cabbage) and polka away the evening on the river. Its dock is immediately west of Station Square. Check the link out for directions, events and schedules.
  • South Side Shops and Restaurants [7] are strung out along East Carson street from about 10th street to 27th street, an unbelievable melange of quirky shops, used book stores, tattoo parlors, mystic readers, and ... well you get the idea. Mixed in with all these are so many bars and restaurants that if you attempted to have one drink in each—people have attempted—you would not make it nearly from one end to the other before requiring assistance. There are fine restaurants mixed in too. The street traffic on a weekend night can be formidable, but fun if you have the right constitution.
  • South Side Works [8] is the reconstituted site of the old Jones & Laughlin steel mill in Southside. Today it has become a residential-commercial-industrial park, but it also has some bars and restaurants, the appropriately named, Hot Metal Grill, for example. It also contains a complete football field where the Pittsburgh Steelers practice and where, logically enough, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center maintains a center for the study of sports injuries. This is a work in progress and new facilities, including a ten theater film complex, are sprouting like mushrooms.
  • You will first see Mount Washington as a sheer bluff near the southern shore of the rivers. It rises, in some places almost vertically, 500 feet (150 meters) above the river valley. It offers a spectacular view of the rivers and of the downtown area. Atop this geologic structure, too tough for the rivers to erode, is a large district of residential homes, commercial businesses, multi-storey apartments and a number of popular restaurants that share the beautiful view of the valley and the city.

Do

Buy

Eat

  • Beehive Coffeeshop, 1327 E. Carson Street, Ongoing exhibits, a relaxing atmosphere, young crowd, courtyard and a wide selection of gourmet coffees, teas, sandwiches and other snacks contribute to the Beehive's ongoing reputation as one of the best spots in Pittsburgh to relax and socialize.
  • Café du Jour, 1107 E. Carson Street, (412) 488-9695, Call for a reservation and enjoy a seasonal menu at incredibly reasonable prices. The courtyard provides an intriguing setting for your meal. BYOB (A stem fee applies).
  • Cheesecake Factory, 415 South 27th Street, in the SouthSide Works plaza, near the Hot Metal bridge +1 412 431-7800. A busy, upscale bar and restaurant with good food, a long list of drinks, a trendy crowd, and excellent dessert.
  • Don's Green Front Inn, 2341 E. Carson St, +1 412 488-3140. Bar and restaurant, a peppy crowd, and friendly bartenders.
  • The Grand Concourse, [9] in Station Square. Site of the former train station, hosts a huge Sunday brunch and a beautiful view of the city.
  • Le Pommier, 2104 E. Carson St, +1 412 431-1901. Authentic Country French menu.
  • Louis Tambellini Restaurant, 860 Saw Mill Run Blvd (Rt. 51), +1 412 481-1118, [10]. A large, classic seafood and meat restaurant in the "Italian-American" manner. Open for lunch and dinner except on Sunday. This gem is a favorite of the local "over 40" crowd. No rock and roll here, just excellent food and a good wine cellar.
  • Mallorca, East Carson St at 22nd St, +1 412 488-1818, [11]. From Downtown you can take the 22nd street bridge south across the Monongehala river and you will run right into it. This restaurant specializes in authentic Spanish and Portuguese food, lots of seafood dishes but also very large steaks and chops. Hope you like garlic. In pleasant weather you can be seated outside on the terrace. It has possibly the best waitstaff of any restaurant in Pittsburgh.
  • Zenith Tea Room, 86 South 26th Street, +1 412 481-4833, [12]. Just a couple of blocks off E. Carson St, Zenith offers an all-vegetarian Sunday brunch, with salad, fruit, bread, pastries, and an amazing vegan dessert table. It's also an antiques store and art gallery.

There are numerous restaurants and bars on Mount Washington, from small neighborhood "shot and a beer" bars to grand cuisine. At least one president and a British prime minister have dined here. Visitors -- especially the well-heeled -- will want to try one of the popular restaurants along the edge of the bluff. Here is a website where you will find all the information you need. For those on a budget, take the incline up from station square, walk along Grandview Avenue and enjoy the view, then wander farther south, back from the bluff, along almost any street and you will find modest restaurants and bars of all types. The locals are very friendly and will be happy to tell you their favorites.

Drink

  • 17th Street Cafe, 75 S. 17th Street, (412) 381-4566, [13].
  • Angel's Club, 2604 Josephine Street, (412) 488-2700.
  • Bar Eleven, 1101 Bradish St., (412) 381-0899.
  • Bar South Side, 153 S. 18th St., (412) 432-7000.
  • Barry's Pub, 1009 East Carson Street, (412) 481-3480.
  • Blue Lou's, 1510-1512 E. Carson St., (412) 381-7675.
  • Blue Note Cafe, 1832 East Carson Street, (412) 431-7080.
  • Brewski's, 801 E. Carson Street, (412) 481-9140.
  • Casey's Draft House, 1811 East Carson Street, (412) 431-3595. Casey's has a midget bartender on Monday's. He walks on the bar and dumps shots into your mouth.
  • Cupka's Cafe II, 2314 East Carson Street, (412) 431-9691.
  • Cupka's I, 46 S. 27th Street, (412) 481-6262.
  • Dee's Café, 1314 E. Carson St., (412) 431-1314, [14].
  • Don's Green Front Inn, 2341 East Carson Street, (412) 488-3140.
  • Excuses Bar, 2526 E. Carson St., (412) 431-4090, [15].
  • Fat Head's, 1805 East Carson Street, (412) 431-7433, [16]. A giant beer selection. They have hundreds of beers.
  • Games N' At Arcade, 2010 Josephine Street, (412) 481-2002, [17]. All ages. *Intermission Lounge, 1908 E. Carson St., (412) 381-3497.
  • Jack's Backroom, 1117-1121 E. Carson St., (412) 431-3644.
  • The Jaggerbush- Bar and Grille, 133 S. 23rd St., (412) 431-5244.
  • Kaworski's Tavern, 132 S. 24th St., (412) 431-0160.
  • Kopy's, 80 S. 12th St., (412) 431-9282.
  • Lava Lounge, 2204 East Carson Street, (412) 431-5282.
  • Mario's South Side Saloon, 1514 East Carson Street, (412) 381-5610.
  • McArdle's Pub, 1600 Bingham St., (412) 431-9358.
  • Nakama Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar, 1611 East Carson Street, (412) 381-6000, [18].
  • Onyx Inn, 1011 E. Carson St., (412) 431-8958.
  • Piper's Pub, 1828 E. Carson St., (412) 381-3977, [19].
  • Primanti Bros. Blues Café, 46 South 18th Street, (412) 263-2142, [20].
  • Rumshakers, 1224 E. Carson Street, (412) 431-5910.
  • Shootz Cafe & Billiards, 2305 East Carson Street, (412) 488-3820, [21].
  • Smokin' Joe's Saloon, 2001 E. Carson St., (412) 431-6757.
  • South Shore Saloon, 601 East Carson Street, (412) 488-1960.
  • South Side Caravan Club, 1113-1115 E. Carson St., (412) 488-1505.
  • The HKAN Hookah Bar & Lounge, 2210 E. Carson St., (412) 381-1813, [22].
  • The Smiling Moose, 1306 East Carson Street, (412) 431-4668, [23].
  • Tiki Lounge, 2003 East Carson Street, (412) 381-8454, [24].
  • Walker's Pub, 2024 Sarah Street.

Sleep

  • Holiday Inn Express - South Side, 20 South Tenth St., +1 877 863-4780‎, [1]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12PM.
  • Morning Glory Inn, 2119 Sarah St, +1 412 431-1707, [25]. A historic Pittsburgh bed and breakfast in the South Side district. Within walking distance to shops, art galleries, jazz bars, and a variety of gourmet restaurants.
  • Sheraton Station Square, 300 W Station Square Dr, +1 412 261-2000, [2]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12PM.

Contact

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!