Beer Run: South Side Edition
The South Side is a land of many treasures despite its reputation as the epicenter of Pittsburgh’s night life on the weekends. While the depths of East Carson Street are stocked with clubs, bars and eateries galore, the businesses, retail spaces and galleries add a touch of character to this part of town that helps to make it a unique tourist destination – one locals hold dear to their hearts despite the recent wave of bad fortune that has touched down in its streets. This is our second visit to the South Side while playing Beer Santa and gifting ten businesses with a case of Iron City Amber for the holidays. Some spots are new and some we’d like to take the time to remind you of when you’re doing your last-minute gift shopping this holiday season.
Evolver Tattoo Arts, situated at 1009 East Carson St. touts itself as having “three of the best local custom tattooists in the area”. In addition to their reputation as an in-demand tat destination on the South Side, Evolver also hosts ‘Second Fridays OnSIGHT Art Night’ which is a chance to explore the gallery in a more casual way while perusing work from local artists. This month’s event featured 3D Paintings of Nathan Van Patter, with Dee Jay Davey Maybe providing the entertainment. Their second floor space features a newly-installed espresso bar and lounge. With so many options for tattoos, why not check out a shop that offers more than just ink?
Luxx and Locks Salon and Boutique, located at 1003 E. Carson Street, offers a variety of awesome vintage clothes and accessories for all shapes and sizes. Their unique, re-purposed digs are perfect for the trendy person in your life. In addition to this, they also have a salon in their back room, which is available by appointment. Free consultations are available if you’re unsure of what you’d like to do, whether it’s custom color, a new cut or even up-dos. Their ongoing sales make it easy to snab something to wear without putting too much of a dent in your wallet, and the friendly staff is helpful for a second opinion on your purchases.
The Silver Eye Center for Photography, located at 1015 E. Carson Street, is one of the premier destinations in Pittsburgh for photography exhibits, earning a “national reputation as one of the country’s pre-eminent photography centers.” Their mission “is to advance understanding, appreciation and active engagement with photography as a vital form of creative expression and as an educative force in communicating the diverse values, histories and issues that shape and influence our lives.” We stopped by during the last day of their No Job No Home No Peace No Rest installation by Will Steacy, which was comprised of a 170-foot collage that covered most of the gallery’s walls. Be on the lookout for their next exhibit which opens mid-January.
Decade Pittsburgh, located at 1407 E. Carson Street, is “more than just a storefront, it’s a culture”. Launched back in 2006, the entire store was handcrafted by owner Steve Ford and carries casual attire for both men and women, featuring a variety of new brands such as Obey, Freepeople, Commune, Insight, FluxUs, Brixton, WeSC and DeadBuryDead. They’ve been known to host a party or two, inviting patrons to stop in for a complimentary beverage and enjoy jams from out of town bands. There are also frequent sightings of the store’s resident pup, who is quite partial to their owner, but doesn’t mind those who stop in to peruse or buy an item or two.
One Up Skateshop, located at 1409 E. Carson Street, was naturally our next destination as it’s right next door to Decade. Established in 2003, it’s a one-stop destination for any skater, carrying a variety of brands such as Vans, Adidas, NikeSB and Converse, as well as trucks, wheels and anything that relates to skating. In addition to apparel, shoes and skateboards/accessories, One Up also offers gift certificates for the skater in your life. You don’t have to be well versed in skate culture to give someone the gift of sweet wheels.
When we visited Fireborn Studios, located at 2338 Sarah Street for the second time, we were unaware that our first visit sparked a tradition amongst its owner and his students. After gifting him with a case of IC Light Mango last year, he required his class to make beer mugs and proceeded to drink the case with his class once they were complete. Now, it’s become a common practice for students to bring a bottle of wine or beer to share with the class as they sharpen their pottery-making skills. This year marks their 25th anniversary, so be sure to stop by and check out their beautiful selection of glass and pottery items.
While most 9-5ers have Saturdays off, there were a few hard-working fellas remaining when we stopped by Branding Brand at 2313 E. Carson Street. Launched in 2008 as a start up by a few CMU entrepreneurs, the company has quickly grown to be the largest and fastest-growing mobile commerce platform in the industry, garnering attention from outlets such as CNN. According to their page, “In addition to being a PayPal Channel Partner, Branding Brand is the only mobile technology provider to be a Facebook Preferred Consultant Developer and Google Commerce Search Partner.” They represent such powerhouse brands as American Eagle Outfitters, Crate & Barrel, Sephora and Dicks Sporting Goods.
Shop412 was straight up bumpin’ with business when we stopped by, so we know they’ll definitely be using the case of Iron City Amber we left on their counter between customers. Located in the South Side Works at 420 S. 27th Street, this urban lifestyle store carries a variety of streetwear brands such as Barbour, Life After Denim, No Mas and their very own 412 brand which can be seen around town and is frequently rocked by fashionable ladies, fellas and even celebrities. Their prime retail space, with its inviting and stylish interior make for a one-of-a-kind Pittsburgh shopping experience that spreads the 412 love one tee at a time.
This fella at Blasfome was so thirsty that he couldn’t even wait for us to snap a picture before he opened a bottle. It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, right!? Located at 1923 E. Carson Street, Blasfome prides itself on building “a strong national and international following with their controversial designs and fuck you attitude”. It caters to a rebellious clientele ranging from Chris Kael of Five Finger Death Punch, B. White and B. Mayo of the 58s, and Mr. Mother Fuckin Exquire, to name a few. In addition to a retail space, they offer exclusive discounts online. Enter promo code “krampus” for 10% off your order on their website.
Our last stop was CommonWealth Press, who wasn’t open when we initially visited, so we stopped by during the week while they were coincidentally hosting a Yelp party. We know that beer was put to good use! Known for their variety of awesome Pittsburgh-themed apparel, they recently launched an Official Pittsburgh Parking chair just in time for winter to hit. On a more timely note, check out their MyYinz Apocalypse tee, which is full of everything that makes Pittsburgh home! If the world ends tomorrow, whoever takes over will have this tee to remember us by!