My day had a very relaxing pace to it and that was a good thing since my night was about to be kicked up a notch.
Dinner at Benjamin’s Burger Bar
Benjamin’s Burger Bar is one of my guilty pleasures in town and when I found out this was the location of my surprise dinner I realized the secret was out. Behind the scenes my wife and good friends Adrienne and Drew sent out the call for coming out for drinks and grub with me for my birthday. I still don’t know who all was invited but I thank every one of you who could stop out and in some way sent me a message wishing me a special day.
As I expected, my party was treated top notch. For many it was their first time at Benjamin’s and the overall reaction was “HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THESE BURGERS!”. Great, now I won’t be able to find a seat but that’s a good problem for Benjamin’s! We had the upper room reserved and while I can’t speak for what everyone else ate, my Buffalo Blue burger blew me away.
South Side Crawl
The only saving grace of our hotel stay was the proximity to the bars on Carson St. Interest in bar hopping days down there ended about 10 years ago. These days I like to have good beer in relaxing atmosphere and actually be able to hear the people I’m there with. That’s how my night started at The Urban Tap, my favorite place to chill on the South Side and on our way there we met up with my old roommate/former co-worker Dan. I was ready to hang for a bit but apparently there was a plan in place. It was called
“How much can the beer podcaster handle?”
Drew called the group together and announced 1 beer/1 bar was now in effect and our next stop was at Mario’s/Blue Lou’s for old times’ sake. You can’t plan an epic night, they just happen and little did we know we were going to close the bar.
And Now we Dance!
Mario’s was packed which is typical on a Saturday night so we moved over to the connecting bar, Blue Lou’s. Every time I’ve been in this bar I’ve never bothered to venture upstairs and if it wasn’t for Christine watching people head north we would have most likely left.
We finished our drinks with a now crowded second floor and were about to leave until Christine’s eagle eye saw another set of stairs.
3rd floor? WHAT?
Sure why not. THIS was the place to be! Smaller bar but fully stocked with what we needed and the crowd wasn’t overwhelming. This is when they arrived… The Irishmen
10 friends gathered for their buddy’s bachelor party and dressed in Irish flag outfits while the groom-to-be was the master leprechaun. Something just clicked and our two groups not only became instant friends but we ended up running the 3rd floor for the rest of the night.
One thing annoying most of us was the abundance of really bad dance/rap music being played on the jukebox and it was up to us to end the night right. Christine and myself crammed in extra cash so our music would get bumped to the top of the playlist and loaded it up with Pearl Jam, Talking Heads, Queen and David Bowie. Millennials, you’re welcome for the education.
Late Night Noms
It wouldn’t be a trip to the South Side if we didn’t stop at Primanti’s for late night food to soak up the beverages. The great thing with the people in our group was that no one gets obnoxiously sloppy. We’re professionals and know our limits. Unfortunately I can’t say that about others falling around the South Side. I ordered my traditional Cap-N-Cheese and soaked in the final moments of my birthday celebrations.
It’s incredibly rare these days that I get to spend a care-free night out and this was not only needed but should happen again with those who couldn’t make it. So, who’s birthday is next?
This is post 8 in the “100 Days of Blogging” with the Pittsburgh bloggers. If you’d like to find out more about the group, join us on Facebook.