Beer Run: East Liberty Edition
This edition of Beer Run highlights the booming area of East Liberty, which is in the midst of revitalization. More businesses are choosing to call “East Lib” home and more shopping, dining and boozing options are planting themselves in the hood. While we’re sad to see the Shadow Lounge go, we’re happy for entrepreneurs like Kevin Sousa, chef extraordinaire who opened two restaurants and the new martini bar Harvard and Highland in the area within the past two years. There’s also the Bakery Square 2.0 project that will redevelop the Reizenstein School across the street from the existing Bakery Square, enhancing the east end’s appeal as a “destination”. We here at NakYouOut have had the pleasure of calling East Liberty home for the past few years, as we currently reside in the co-working space of the Beauty Shoppe and used to occupy the now defunct PNC bank on the corner of Penn and Highland where VIA took place last year. With all the change in the air these days, we can’t help but get excited about what’s to come. We decided to pay a visit to some of our neighbors and spread the love one case of Iron City Beer at a time.
Google‘s main headquarters, known as the “Googleplex”, reside in Mountain View, California. Today Google has more than 70 offices in over 40 countries around the globe, and Pittsburgh is lucky enough to be one of them. Google Pittsburgh calls Bakery Square home and their offices were designed by local architecture firm Strada. This spot has to be a contender for one of the coolest workplaces in the city. Check out the photos!
The Kelly Strayhorn Theater is a community performing arts center named for two of Pittsburgh’s most celebrated talents in the last century – dancer Gene Kelly and composer Billy Strayhorn. KST is home to a number of programs, including The Alloy School, artSEEDS initiative and their own artist residency programs. The space holds 350 (seated) and has the capability to host performances in a variety of mediums including concerts, dance, music and theater. Their contribution to the vibrancy of the community is undoubtable. Upcoming events include Kelley Hunt in concert, Club Bellydance and a NEXT STAGE Dance Residency Showing. Visit their website for more details on each show.
Formed in 1979, East Liberty Development, Inc. (or ELDI for short) is the heart and soul of the neighborhood. Their mission is to foster the revitalization of the East Liberty community by collaborating with neighborhood stakeholders in the areas of Planning, Advocacy, Facilitation and Investment. They have both a full time staff and a Board of Directors who set the agenda for the redevelopment of East Liberty. ELDI recently switched their offices to here in the Beauty Shoppe, as they used to reside across the street. Congratulations on your new space, ELDI and welcome to the Beauty Shoppe!
Thread International, also located in the Beauty Shoppe “transforms waste in desperately poor countries into the most innovative products possible. They strive to set an example for environmentally-conscious innovation, provide economic opportunity for and improve the general welfare of the people they do business with, and use their business to inspire common sense and actionable, sustainable solutions”. They offer wages and services that provide access to health and education in the communities they serve. Their newest project is currently increasing production of PET flake, which gets more plastic bottles of the streets and canals, and provides new jobs at in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
The Beauty Shoppe is based from a very simple model. For the cost of three lattes a day, you can have your very own desk in this co-working space. Other amenities include swanky furniture and a hip decor, conference rooms, wireless internet, office tools, a mailing address and as much coffee as you can drink, courtesy of their neighbors at Zeke’s Coffee. We interviewed the fella pictured, Matt Ciccone, a while back, so if you’d like to learn more, be sure to check that out. Their increasing success has afforded them the opportunity to expand to a larger, 3,000 square foot space, with a refined design they’ve perfected based on needs they’ve noticed over the past year.
Zeke’s Coffee, the Beauty Shoppe’s next door neighbor, is possibly the best any office could ask for. This place has been keeping us caffeinated since we moved here and we always look forward to what new blend they’re roasting up next. The case we dropped off yesterday provided them with the necessary fuel to pull an all-nighter! In addition to savory coffees, they also offer sweets courtesy of the Pittsburgh Pie Guy. Their coffees can be found brewing up at other local establishments such as Kelly’s Bar and Lounge and their beans are sold at various locations around town.
Cupcakes always pair well with coffee, so we headed to Vanilla Pastry Studio next, and were pleasantly surprised to see they’re still serving up cupcakes for the pubilc (in addition to their catering services) before they relocate to Regent Square in the spring. Often touted as one of the best cupcakes in town, and voted #1 two years in a row by WPXI viewers, Vanilla also offers cake pops, brownies, biscotti, whoopee pies, wedding cakes and more. Be sure to check out their special Valentine’s Day menu and pick up a sweet treat for your lova!
Pittsburgh Aids Task Force continues to be the leader in HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in this region. Through programs like the FAITH Initiative, M2M, Girlfriends and Girl Talk Projects, PATF is reaching target populations of individuals most typically underserved and most at risk. They have undergone many positive changes this past year. Improvements include the way clients are served by more clearly aligning their medical case management services with the national strategy to reduce new HIV infections through adherence to medical treatment and reduction of viral loads. Their testing hours are Sunday from noon-4PM, Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 9AM-5PM and Wednesday-Thursday 9AM-7:30PM.
After a long day, a slice of pizza is sometimes necessary. Local chain Pizza Sola has been serving up slices in the area for some time now, expanding from their original South Side location to spots in Oakland, East Liberty and even the burbs. We used to share an office with them and were situated right above their South Side store, so we frequently gave into the smell that lingered every time we entered or exited the building. It’s hard to resist even walking by! The next time you’re in the mood for some za, consider this place, which serves up whole pies or pizza by the slice. Their large portions can feed even the hungriest of bellies. Not to mention, they’re one of our favorite places in town to satisfy our pizza cravings!