Film & Nightlife: July 2010

One downtown hotel bar to avoid—and another worth a stop. Plus, there’s a secretive movie walking the shadow of The Joker.



Pittsburgh likes its buildings. (Not exactly a profound statement, but I’m going somewhere with this, trust me.)

You don’t hear about “that new building,” you hear about “that building that once was turn-of-the-century apartments, then a Chinese restaurant, then an adult movie theater, then was condemned and now is a gallery.” That’s just how we like it.

So when downtown sees a brand-new high-rise luxury hotel, there’s bound to be some chatter. The Fairmont Pittsburgh is a striking addition to the skyline and the culmination of an ambitious (and thoroughly green) construction project. The hotel boasts 185 guest rooms, a gigantic health club, ample event space and a restaurant billed as offering “an international approach to domestic fare.”

The hotel also contains a bar, Andys, named in honor of Warhol and Carnegie. I had heard quite a bit about Andys, which advertised itself heavily in Fairmont press releases and on the hotel’s website, which was quick to describe the bar as “one of the most captivating spots in the city.” The hotel hadn’t been open a month when I made it to Andys; no one I knew had dropped by, and I was pumped to try out a swanky spot.

To be fair, I was plenty stunned when I sat down at Andys. Not by the advertised “classic cocktails and … extensive wine list,” or by the alleged “ambiance … reminiscent of Pittsburgh’s artistic and industrial heritage.” See, none of those things is true.

I was stunned to find that Andys is, without a doubt, the most unremarkable and uninteresting bar I’ve ever seen.

Barely separated from the hotel lobby, Andys seems like an afterthought: a tiny, cramped bar awkwardly attached to an existing space seemingly out of obligation rather than inspiration. “Ambiance” is not a word that can be uttered within a mile of this place. It’s well-lit by irritating compact-fluorescent light; and unless you count overhearing guests checking in 20 yards away as mood-setters, drinking at Andys feels more like pulling up a bar stool in the kitchen than visiting a “captivating” spot.

The beer list is fine but nothing special in Pittsburgh. Two dozen or so bottles do not constitute an “extensive” wine list anywhere. And Andys is yet another trying-too-hard wannabe hotspot that misinterprets the word “classic” when it comes to cocktails. An Old-Fashioned is a classic cocktail. A Tom Collins is a classic cocktail. My Manhattan, which contained champagne and strawberries (yes, seriously, strawberries), is not a classic cocktail.

I could stand Andys for about half an hour before I simply had to get out. Hoping to find a worthy hotel bar to compare it with, I wandered over to Braddock’s Street Side in the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel. While there were still a few bewildering similarities to Andys—shouldn’t hotel bars be dimly lit and comfortable, if nothing else?—Braddock’s is a much more pleasant experience. It’s inviting, welcoming and has an impressive drink list focusing on more than 50 whiskeys and related cocktails—I ordered a Saratoga (rye, cognac, sweet vermouth and bitters), and it was one of the best cocktails I’ve had downtown. (Andys, Fairmont Pittsburgh, 510 Market St., downtown. Info: 412/773-8800, fairmont.com/pittsburgh; Braddock’s Street Side, The Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, 107 Sixth St., downtown. Info: 412/992-2005, braddocksrestaurant.com)


INCEPTION: JULY 16
Sometimes unlikely turns can turn a director into a superstar. Before Batman Begins redefined what comic-book heroes could bring to the big screen—and The Dark Knight became one of the most successful and beloved pictures of all time—Christopher Nolan was chiefly known for heady, complex thrillers.

2000’s Memento wrapped a deft and ambitious plot structure around a tense whodunit; 2002’s Insomnia was a bleak and atmospheric mystery featuring perhaps the last great performances by Al Pacino and Robin Williams.

Following up an instant classic that made more than a billion dollars is no easy task, but the buzz is running high on Nolan’s new baby, Inception. He’s remained highly secretive about his first film since Knight, but an eye-popping trailer and an impressive cast (Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Caine, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard are but a few) have helped to make Inception one of the most anticipated films of 2010. (Inception, in wide release starting July 16.)

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

For a city only two centuries old, Pittsburgh has amassed a surprising amount of history. To assemble this collection of 50 of the region’s most fascinating historical artifacts, we hunted through museums, archives and private collections. We also looked for things many of us might pass each day without appreciating their significance.
The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

Tracing the story of the chain back to its roots — which, surprisingly, are not in Pittsburgh.
In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

After making films focused on Pittsburgh, Sokolow is rising through the ranks of U.S. women documentarians.
Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Salem’s offers accessible and delicious meals for Pittsburghers of all stripes.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Mike Feinberg Company Says Goodbye to Pittsburgh

Mike Feinberg Company Says Goodbye to Pittsburgh

After 60 years of supplying Pittsburgh oddities and party favors, the staff of Feinberg’s in the Strip District says they’ll miss the love the city has shown them.
Friday Night Sleep Out to Raise Money for Homeless

Friday Night Sleep Out to Raise Money for Homeless

If you’re on the hunt for Friday night plans with a purpose, consider sleeping outside to benefit those in Pittsburgh who have to spend every night on the streets.
The Fascinating History of the David McCullough Bridge

The Fascinating History of the David McCullough Bridge

More than 80 years after its demise was erroneously reported, the David McCullough Bridge still stands as an engineering and architectural highlight among the city’s many spans.
Gone Viral: Duquesne Students Score Big With Rat Slapshot

Gone Viral: Duquesne Students Score Big With Rat Slapshot

Their tic-tac-toe passing would impress Mike Sullivan.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

For a city only two centuries old, Pittsburgh has amassed a surprising amount of history. To assemble this collection of 50 of the region’s most fascinating historical artifacts, we hunted through museums, archives and private collections. We also looked for things many of us might pass each day without appreciating their significance.
The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

Tracing the story of the chain back to its roots — which, surprisingly, are not in Pittsburgh.
In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

After making films focused on Pittsburgh, Sokolow is rising through the ranks of U.S. women documentarians.
Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Salem’s offers accessible and delicious meals for Pittsburghers of all stripes.
Pittsburgh Penguins Share Tips for Parenting on Ice

Pittsburgh Penguins Share Tips for Parenting on Ice

In a year when youth-hockey participation is expected to increase, Pittsburgh Penguins players weigh in on the role of the hockey parent.
Face the Frost: Go Daytripping on Winter Hikes in Pittsburgh

Face the Frost: Go Daytripping on Winter Hikes in Pittsburgh

There’s a magical, snowy landscape right in your backyard.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Mike Feinberg Company Says Goodbye to Pittsburgh

Mike Feinberg Company Says Goodbye to Pittsburgh

After 60 years of supplying Pittsburgh oddities and party favors, the staff of Feinberg’s in the Strip District says they’ll miss the love the city has shown them.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
CSA Day Reminds Pittsburghers (and Beyond) To Support Local Farms

CSA Day Reminds Pittsburghers (and Beyond) To Support Local Farms

It's the third year running for the concept, which was created by Simon Huntley of Pittsburgh's Small Farm Central.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Adventure Bingo Returns at the Ace Hotel

Adventure Bingo Returns at the Ace Hotel

The one-of-a-kind night of bingo, trivia and madcap monologues returns in a new spot.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Dave Hanson and the Enduring Legacy of Slap Shot

Dave Hanson and the Enduring Legacy of Slap Shot

The Hanson Brothers and other stars of the classic hockey film will return to Johnstown this weekend for a 40th anniversary celebration.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Chalk It Up

Chalk It Up

Doodle while you dine, or let your imagination run wild, with chalkboard placemats from Pittsburgh-based Chalk Lots.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Our Full 2017 Oscar Predictions (Wherein La La Land Wins Everything)

Our Full 2017 Oscar Predictions (Wherein La La Land Wins Everything)

Breaking down what we know and only think we know about the 2017 Academy Awards.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Our Favorite Unique Centerpiece (That’s Not Flowers)

Our Favorite Unique Centerpiece (That’s Not Flowers)

This couple’s centerpiece from our Real Pittsburgh Weddings shines brighter than the traditional table bouquet.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
The Candle Lab Ready To Make Its Debut in Lawrenceville

The Candle Lab Ready To Make Its Debut in Lawrenceville

The Columbus-based store, where you can customize your own candle fragrance, is expected to open in March.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at ‘Fences’

Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at ‘Fences’

An art director from Warner Bros. Studios will visit La Roche College to talk about the Oscar-nominated film with ties to Pittsburgh.

Comments