Best of the ’Burgh 2013

From vegan shakes to popup block parties to foodie classes, here are 40 of our favorite Pittsburgh things.



   

    

 

Hottest Drink in Town
Smoke Stack at Industry Public House

Your weekend plans have fallen in a rut: Friends want to visit the usual watering hole for the same martini specials. Can’t you go somewhere different — maybe to a place offering hot drinks, literally as well as figuratively? Industry Public House needs to be on your radar, if not for the dark and cool interior, then most definitely for the Smoke Stack. Giving a nod to the Steel City’s working-class past, bartenders make the bourbon drink and then place flavored wood chips (try the apple-flavored) atop mesh covering the rim. After they’re finished using the blowtorch to heat the chips, you’re left with a smokin’ cocktail. — K.M.

4305 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/683-1100, industrypgh.com

Best Way to Make Your Corporate Team-Building Day Bearable
Copper Kettle Brewing Co.

Forget the trust falls, nature hikes and ice-breaking games. Let’s make some beer, shall we? Copper Kettle Brewing Co., the microbrewery arm of Greenfield favorite Hough’s Taproom and Brewpub, walks you through the brewing process step by step. From selecting a flavor to measuring grains to pouring this and that into giant kettles, you’re the brewer, working under expert guidance. What makes the process great for your office outing? The subject matter is interesting, you’ll get to work with colleagues to concoct a new brew (and design your own label, if you so choose) and you can kick back together at Hough’s during downtime. You’ll even get a second spiced-up day at the office for free — the day you go back to pick up the bottled results and pop open your creation. — S.C.

557 Greenfield Ave., Greenfield; 412/906-9400, copperkettlepgh.com

Best Lunch for Those Looking to Skip Dinner
Casa Rasta

What would you spend on a decent lunch? Not your average drive-thru meal — we’re talking about a sit-down lunch. Fifteen bucks? At most noontime spots, that’ll get you a sandwich, a depressing quantity of fries and maybe a Coke. So divert your attention to Casa Rasta, a Mexican-Caribbean gem in Beechview. For that same $15, you can score a chorizo burrito ($7), a Jamaican jerk-chicken taco ($3), an enchilada ($3) and a side of Mexican rice ($2), among nearly infinite low-cost combinations. Chef Antonio Fraga, a native of Mexico City, perfectly seasons his simple yet filling menu items. Last month, Fraga and company brought a location to the North Side. — S.C.

2102 Broadway Ave., Beechview; 412/223-6106, casarastapgh.com

Best Devilishly Good Local Brew
Helltown Brewing’s Insidious IPA

At 6 percent alcohol by volume, Helltown’s Insidious IPA nicely balances citrusy drinkability with a pungent, hoppy bite. The Mt. Pleasant brewery takes its name from the Westmoreland County town’s history as a raucous crossroads between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia during the Whiskey Rebellion. Look for Helltown’s Insidious IPA on tap around the city at establishments where beer is taken seriously — including D’s Six Packz & Dogz, Fat Head’s and Bocktown. You’ll be forgiven for having more than one pour — it’s that good. — M.S.

13 Henry C. Frick St., Mt. Pleasant; helltownbrewing.com

Best Indulgent Vegan Treat
Tuesday Milkshake Special at Burgatory

At Burgatory, home of behemoth beef patties and sriracha wings, you’ll find an unexpected treat: vegan milkshakes. Seriously — this is one of many offerings for those who skip meat, eggs and dairy. Vegan shake specials are served up on Tuesdays, and shakes feature thick soy-based ice cream. While varieties change, you can guarantee seeing fruit flavors, such as strawberry-banana, or at least fruit mixed with peanut butter because fresh produce mixes well with the ice cream. Living up to its name, Burgatory still delivers on its promise to bring “heavenly shakes” with its vegan option. — K.M.

Available at Fox Chapel and North Fayette locations; burgatorybar.com

Best Bunch of Land Rovers
Local Food Trucks

For years, stationary food vendors have set up near local colleges to feed 20-somethings in between classes. In late 2012, we saw a spike in mobile food activity. The Pgh Taco and Franktuary trucks helped to drive things forward as BRGR, Dozen and others got into the mix. Recent additions — such as Oh My Grill and The Steer and Wheel — can be found alongside others at area food-truck roundups; events have been held from South Side to the North Hills. Next time you see a truck parked, be sure to grab whatever’s cooking. Each vendor serves true treats — from Polish-style pierogies to decked-out burgers. Rave reviews from locals prove that Pittsburgh wants and needs a mobile-food community. — K.M.

pghmobilefood.com

Best Place to Find Treats That Trump the View
Grandview Bakery and Sweet Shop

The view of the city from Mount Washington makes for incredible eye candy. If you want to complement that Grand View with a sweet treat, head over to Grandview Bakery and Sweet Shop. Choose from a wide assortment of doughnuts, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, pastries and cakes. Or sweeten up with chocolate-covered Oreos, turtles, coconut clusters or chocolate-caramel pretzel drumsticks. There are also breads, muffins, breakfast items and savory snacks. Dine at the dessert café, or take patriotic-themed cookies back to the overlook for fireworks on the Fourth. — M.M.

225 Shiloh St., Mount Washington; 412/251-0811, grandviewbakery.com

Best Spontaneous Block Party, Without the Cleanup
Tapped! Pop Up Beer Gardens

A wise man once sang, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood” — lyrics that capture the spirit of Tapped! Pop Up Beer Gardens. Featuring local craft brews, food-truck fare and an authentic sense of community, the Saturday-afternoon block parties are designed to show off neighborhoods with what you might call “untapped” potential; past shindigs have taken place in Braddock and Larimer, near the new home of East End Brewing Co. No invitation is necessary — just keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter for posts about future events. — M.S.

facebook.com/tappedpgh; twitter.com/epicdevpgh

Best Late-Night Sampling
American Dim Sum Menu at Spoon

In the past, if you were hungry at 11:30 p.m., you might’ve been forced to settle for fast food or diner fare. Among the local spots that have recently added late-night menus is Spoon, one of our 2013 Best Restaurants. The eatery serves American dim sum Thursday through Saturday from 10 p.m. ’til midnight. Traditionally, the Asian-originated dim sum consists of small plates, some of which are cooked via steaming. At Spoon, options range from pork-belly bites to shrimp-pork potstickers. Chef/co-owner Brian Pekarcik puts his spin on these American-inspired items through the use of such common ingredients as white cheddar and arugula. — K.M.

134 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty; 412/362-2001, spoonpgh.com

Best On-Pointe Post-Workout Snack
Barre

Dancers are known for their agility, focus and strength. What fuels them? Light meals and sugar-filled snacks won’t keep active types well-nourished. That’s why Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre dancers Julia Erickson and Aaron Ingley decided in February 2010 to create an energy bar for those who are constantly on the go. Their product line, Barre, contains three nutrient-packed varieties to suit the needs of prima ballerinas, marathon runners and everyone in between. Our favorite is the Ballerina Spirulina, which provides a wealth of vitamins via the algae, coconut and other ingredients. Pick up a few online or at Marty’s Market, PBT’s headquarters and area yoga studios, among other spots. — K.M.

realfoodbarre.com

Speediest Indian Lunch
Sree’s Foods

Name any fast-food restaurant, and we guarantee that Sree’s has quicker service. Approach the counter, name your dish and Vydehi Mekala will instantly fill a Styrofoam box with rice and stew. Sree’s is so streamlined and customer-friendly that you can enter the building and leave with a hearty meal in less than two minutes. Better still, the food is delicious and nutritious: Mekala uses only pure vegetable oil, fresh greens and boneless chicken — no red meat or MSG. Whether you visit the downtown location, the lunch truck on Carnegie Mellon’s campus or the corner store in Squirrel Hill, you’re bound to find a crowd of regulars. Sreevardhan Mekala, the eatery’s namesake, passed away a couple of years ago, but people are still fanatical about “Mrs. Sree’s” lunches. — R.I.

701 Smithfield St., downtown; 412/860-9181, srees.com

Best Place to Find Wild Things
Wild Purveyors

Those pesky weeds are cropping up in your yard again. Rather than having a cook-off with items that have sprouted on your lawn, visit the experts at Wild Purveyors. A hidden haven for all things foraged, Wild Purveyors sells everything from ramps to Japanese knotweed, plus an extraordinary selection of cheeses and more (great for pairing!). Brothers Cavan and Tom Patterson take pride in offering a variety of mushrooms; choices change based on time of year but may include morels and black trumpets. Be sure to pick up grass-fed beef to cook with your fresh finds. — K.M.

5308 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/206-WILD, wildpurveyorsmarket.com

Best Way to Roll Out
Fukuda’s Sushi-Rolling Class

It goes without saying that sushi is popular. Many aficionados leave the fish selections and prep work to the pros — but wouldn’t it be fun to make your own nigiri? If you’ve answered yes, you’ll need to get to Fukuda for one of the sushi-rolling classes. Executive chef/co-owner Matt Kemp guides a group of 10 through the ins and outs of sushi types and prep work, while also offering a little history lesson. Classmates use authentic tools, and a Best Sushi winner is crowned in every session. Keep an eye on the Fukuda site or Twitter feed (@FukudaPgh) for upcoming class dates. — K.M.

4770 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield; 412/377-0916, fukudapgh.com

 

Best Thinking Outside the Bot
Toby Atticus Fraley

The Jetsons loved Rosie; Will Robinson had a bot buddy on “Lost in Space.” Here in the ’Burgh, robotophile Toby Atticus Fraley has turned our attention to his own charming mechanical creations. Fraley’s Robot Repair Shop, across from Heinz Hall, engaged passersby with a public-art installation that some mistook for a real business up until its closing in May. You also may have seen robots by Fraley in other spaces and places around town, including Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and Wood Street Gallery. Speaking of space, as in downtown’s SPACE gallery, look for new work by Fraley in a show that debuts in February. — M.M.

tobyatticusfraley.com

Best Way to Get the Little Ones Dancing
“The Josh & Gab Show”

Gab Bonesso and Josh Verbanets are well-established local voices. He’s the front man for Pittsburgh-based indie band Meeting of Important People, and she’s an acclaimed performer and stand-up comic. “The Josh & Gab Show” isn’t aimed at the crowds that might turn up for a concert or comedy show at brillobox; the target audience is actually quite a bit shorter. The duo performs original songs with an anti-bullying message for youngsters at school assemblies, community events and family outings. They have a debut CD on iTunes and the duo’s website, plus a single popping up on radio nationwide — not just on children’s radio either. Tracks including “Everybody Clap Hands” and the rockin’ “Nine O’Clock Behind the Jack Rabbit” send a positive, timely message. More importantly, the tunes will get both parents and tots moving. Just try to get these songs out of your head. — S.C.

joshandgab.com


Best Alternative to Paint By Numbers
Paint Monkey

Offering a merry mix of painting, drinking and music, Paint Monkey makes for a festive night out. During a two- or three-hour session, an artist guides you through the process of creating your own masterpiece — anything from a Kandinsky to a Picasso, depending on the schedule. With as many as 35 people gathered in the vibrant studio, what begins as a painting class quickly takes on the relaxed ambience of a social mixer, complete with glasses of your favorite wine (it’s BYOB). Even Warhol would approve. — M.S.

100 43rd St., Studio 212, Lawrenceville; 412/770-4923, beapaintmonkey.com

Best Example of Musically Thinking Big
Microscopic Opera Co.

Andres Cladera and Erica Olden have this wild notion that opera can be cool. And not just cool, but fun and up-close — as in, ordinary folks will look forward to attending their next opera. Instead of endless Wagnerian epics, Microscopic Opera Co. specializes in “chamber operas.” Shows are inventive, intimate and only as long as a regular play. Later this year, Caldera and Olden promise their most exciting project yet: an operatic adaptation of Night of the Living Dead. No Italian libretto, no opera glasses and no $200 tickets — just a zombie apocalypse set to music. Opera devotees or not, Pittsburghers will surely demand an encore. — R.I.

microscopicopera.com

Best Way to End a Weekend
Sunday Night Series at Regent Square Theater

In June, the theme was “Meant to Be Together: Legendary Screen Couples,” with such flicks as The Quiet Man. And May’s “Let’s Have Fun!” motif showcased feel-good reels including Bye Bye Birdie. It could be science fiction or silent classics and, more than likely, it’ll be surprising. After all, the Sunday Night Series at the Regent Square Theater is always a mystery until a few weeks in advance. The beloved cinema screens independent and foreign films throughout the week, but it reserves Sunday evenings for older favorites, forgotten gems, and curiosities for film buffs and casual audiences alike. Check the Pittsburgh Filmmakers website regularly and start circling Sundays on your calendar — or better yet, head for Regent Square without checking first. It’ll always be worth the trip. — S.C.

1035 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square; 412/682-4111, theaters.pittsburgharts.org

Best Place for an Out-of-This-World Experience
Kecksburg VFD Old Fashion and UFO Festival

On Dec. 9, 1965, a mysterious object reportedly came from out of the sky and landed in the woods near the village of Kecksburg. Folks still debate what that object was, but the event has sparked a fun annual celebration, where you can see some “aliens.” The Kecksburg VFD Old Fashion and UFO Festival, sponsored by the local fire department, returns July 26-28. It features a Saturday-afternoon parade, with prizes awarded for best UFO entry, best alien costume and best alien pet costume. Other contests are planned, along with a car show, games, crafts and entertainment for the kids. A UFO conference is set for Sunday. — M.M.

Kecksburg, Westmoreland County; 724/423-9540, kecksburgvfd.com

Best Answer to Weeknight Doldrums
Concert at Stage AE

While Andrew McCutchen dazzles us during the summer and Big Ben does his thing when the weather gets cold, plenty of other talented people play year-round on the North Shore. Stage AE, situated between PNC Park and Heinz Field, has attracted beatmakers such as Bassnectar and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. For indoor shows, Stage AE is an expansive two-story nightclub. During the summer, when bands play the outdoor stage, you’re able to soak in our lovely city as music fills the warm evening air. Tuesday- and Wednesday-night concert lineups will force you to consider changing regular weeknight plans of adding to your Pinterest boards while watching “America’s Got Talent.” — M.S.

400 North Shore Drive, North Shore; 412/229-5483, promowestlive.com

Best Performance with a Soft Touch
The Pillow Project

It’s quite the trifecta: installation art, jazz concerts and modern dance. The Pillow Project takes these disparate forms and mixes them together with mesmerizing outcomes. In the spirit of Andy Warhol’s Factory, Pillow incubates creative activity, culminating in regular performances. The company’s loft, known as The Space Upstairs, hosts all kinds of performances and events under the auspices of artistic director Pearlann Porter. — R.I.

214 N. Lexington St., Point Breeze; 412/225-9269, pillowproject.org

Best Canine Transplant
Bulletproof Sam

Bulletproof Sam left Jacksonville, Fla., as a victim of horrific abuse. He arrived in Pittsburgh as a pooch celebrity. Sam was a former dog-fighting victim rescued by the Humane Society of the United States. His former life took a terrible and visible toll on the affectionate pit bull, but he transformed instantly into a loving, grateful pup. Sam was taken in by local pit-bull rescue and advocacy organization Hello Bully. Hello Bully turned him into a social-media darling who, at press time, boasts 8,000-plus Facebook Likes, allowing him to further spread his message. Sam appeared with Pittsburgh City Council as it declared Feb. 16 “Hello Bully Day” and popped up on the radar of dog lovers everywhere. In April, he moved from the Hello Bully halfway house into a permanent home. Fans shouldn’t worry, though, because the popular pup has been as active as ever on Facebook and Twitter. — S.C.

facebook.com/bulletproofsam

Most Beloved Drag Queen
Sharon Needles

RuPaul loves Sharon Needles. Lady Gaga loves Sharon Needles. Even Pittsburgh City Council loves Sharon Needles. Our city isn’t famous for its drag queens, so who would have guessed Needles would become such a star after winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and earning her own holiday? Fans love her unwavering confidence and bizarre sense of humor. Needles has cultivated a radical style — pallid makeup, wild wigs and ghostly expressions. Needles has stirred the fashion world with her gritty image. She may have grown up in a small Iowa town, but Pittsburghers have claimed her as their own. — R.I.

sharonneedles.com

 

Best Place to Buy the Coolest & Weirdest Imported Japanese Toys & Collectibles
Kawaii Gifts

“Kawaii” is Japanese for “cute,” and Kawaii Gifts is cute overload. A tucked-away treasure trove down a pathway between stores on Walnut Street in Shadyside, Kawaii Gifts specializes in Japanese imports, and the store is “overflowing with everything pink and fuzzy,” as its website says. You’ll spot lots of the requisite Hello Kitty, plus San-X characters, vinyl toys and full lines of accessories, from pouches and bags, stickers, notebooks and erasers, housewares and bling to dress-up phones and other mobile devices. There are plenty of “plushies,” too, as well as Ugly Dolls and Giant Microbes. — J.W.

5413-B Walnut St., Shadyside; 412/687-2480, shopkawaii.com

Most Relaxing Place to Have a Ball
Knit One

Whether you’re a ninja with a knitting needle or merely a novice, Knit One in Squirrel Hill welcomes everyone. It is, after all, as much a community gathering space as a business, providing funky leather sofas for informal group sessions as well as classes for those who’d like to try the craft. While owner Stacey Wettstein does sell yarn and other supplies at her shop, she’s especially pleased to offer a place for folks to pursue a calming hobby. — M.S.

2721 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/421-6666, knitone.biz

Best Way to “Rent” a Shirt
Share Closet App

People exchange outfits all the time — skirts and jackets, shoes and hats — but the process is slow. You have to fish through wardrobes, try everything on and haul it all home. Andrea Wetherald and Sara Longo decided to simplify the process by making a social media platform with specialized iOS and Android apps, which won first place in April at Startup Weekend Pittsburgh. Share Closet helps people meet, talk trends and share, sell or trade lightly used garments. Its distribution model can be compared to Google+ in that it enables you to build circles of connections for sharing; some access is based on familiarity of people. Users clean out their closets and obtain free vestments at the same time; as with Instagram, folks upload photos of items that are up for grabs and post usage terms. Bonus: There are even borrower ratings and automatic return reminders so you know who to loan to and when to give back goods. The app is starting small, but as with ModCloth — which began as a tiny startup — there’s enormous potential. — R.I.

Download the app at sharecloset.net; sharecloset.com to debut in September

Best Way to Cheekily Sport Hometown Pride
Steel City Cotton Works T-Shirts

Want to wear your hometown pride on your (short) sleeve? Steel City Cotton Works creates fun shirts that are perfect for giving — unless you later decide that you’re keeping them for yourself. Some sports-related tees feature icons from Pittsburgh’s past — including “the Igloo” and the Pittsburgh Hornets and Homestead Grays teams. There’s even a Warholesque portrait of newscaster Sally Wiggin and a shirt decorated with “Smiling Like a Butcher’s Dog,” a line famously uttered by Penguins play-by-play announcer Mike Lange. Besides shirts, offerings include hoodies, buttons and a bumper sticker: “Keep Pittsburgh Weird.” Look for products at such places as the Sen. John Heinz History Center, Mattress Factory and Decade. — M.M.

steelcitycottonworks.com

Best Use of Salvaged Materials for Handmade Furniture
Reclaimed Things

Imagine a table built from planks rescued from a Coney Island boardwalk and a desk crafted out of wood from an oyster house in Maine. Those are among the one-of-a-kind items available from Reclaimed Things, which specializes in home wares created from sustainable and salvaged resources. Co-owners Jenna and Jeremy Shock are “passionate about giving life to forgotten things,” as they state on their website. There are items for kids, including a step stool/storage box, and for animal companions, such as elevated holders for pet bowls. Commissioned and personalized pieces are also available. Reclaimed Things is currently located at a home workshop, but future plans include an expanded workshop and studio.
— M.M.

reclaimedthings.com

Best Place to Try a New Game That Has Absolutely Nothing to Do with a Video Screen
Games Unlimited

Games Unlimited is 3-D gaming at its best. Not “virtual 3-D,” but real 3-D, as in actual board games with pieces you can pick up. Since 1979, Games Unlimited has lived up to its name by providing a wide variety of games, many of which can’t be found elsewhere in the area. Chess player? You won’t find a better selection of sets than you will here. The same goes for varieties of Monopoly, Euro games and a collection of jigsaw puzzles that makes aficionados fall to pieces. — J.W.

2115 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/421-8807, bgamers.com

Best Way to Ensure You Don’t Skip a Beat
Visit Unifaun Records

It’s official: Vinyl has made a comeback. iTunes may have ruined the CD industry, but the demand for floppy black discs is soaring. For whatever reason, Lawrenceville has become a mecca for phonograph merchants, and the newest firm is Unifaun Records. In this quirky shop, you’ll find crates brimming with albums, plus CDs and cool green walls covered with vintage posters. There’s even a “listening station” for sampling tunes. A transplant from New York City, owner Larry DeMellier theorizes that Pittsburgh is hungry for some 45s. For those of us with turntables and extra shelf space, let’s help prove him right. — R.I.

5417 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/781-2027

Best Line of Hip Swag for Little Lads
YOBRO

Boys will be boys. Style-conscious moms of boys want them to look sharp. Marybeth Mahoney and Lori Sipes, who each have two sons, are partners at YOBRO and, with an eye for style and affordability, have created a line of boys’ apparel. With diverse backgrounds in apparel design, graphic design, marketing and business development, they’ve forged a common sense of style and color in creating clothes ranging from “Baby Bro” (6-12 months) to “Big Bro” (up to size 10), including onesies, hoodies and T-shirts. YOBRO donates 10 percent of profits to local kid-related charities each season. Keep an eye out for the reopening of YOBRO’s renovated shop — expected to be up and running by early September, and open certain weekends and during special events. — J.W.

3818 Butler St., Lawrenceville, with limited hours of operation; 412/407-7689, yobroapparel.com

Best Shop for Finding Décor with an Eclectic Approach
Urban Cottage

The name alone implies a varied mix. That’s just what Urban Cottage owner Linda Nawrocki presents in her home decor and accessories shop. With a keen eye for design and combining vintage items with new, Nawrocki chooses each item herself. She also pays close attention to what her customers favor. She carries items for every room of the home, plus jewelry and office goods. Nawrocki opened Urban Cottage last August when she moved back to Pittsburgh after living in several locations around the world. Now that she’s back in the ’Burgh, Nawrocki especially enjoys featuring items made in the area. — J.W.

4602 Penn Ave., Lawrenceville; 412/683-1950, urbancottagedecor.com

Easiest Way to Make a Buck for Science
CMU Research Truck

On a warm afternoon, a long white trailer appears — splattered with colorful graphics, boasting “RESEARCH” across the side. Friendly students stand outside with clipboards, and as you pass, they ask, “Excuse me, would you be interested in earning $5?” Officially, the vehicle is called the Center for Behavioral and Decision Research Data Truck, and experimenters use the mobile facility to test community and targeted subjects, such as basketball fans. Tasks vary, as do the rewards. Some people type on a computer and walk out with cash, while others fill out a survey and receive a candy bar. One thing’s for sure: For everyday people, science was never so satisfying. — R.I.

cbdr.cmu.edu/datatruck

 

Best Place to Get Down and Dirty
Tour-Ed Coal Mine & Museum

Without coal, Pittsburgh couldn’t have become the Steel City. Though this region offers many reminders of our industrial heritage, past and present, there’s not much to tell us about the important element that continues to power the industry. One place to find out all the dirt is Tour-Ed Coal Mine & Museum, which has been educating visitors since 1970. Don a hard hat and ride an actual coal-mine car for a half-mile. Mining-related artifacts, demonstrations and even a recreation of a miner’s home add to the experience. — M.M.

748 Bull Creek Road, Frazer Township; Memorial Day through Labor Day; 724/224-4720, tour-edmine.com

Best Event to Enjoy with a PBR in Hand
KSWA Wrestling at Lawrenceville Moose

Long before The Rock headlined sold-out Wrestlemanias at football stadiums, pro-wrestling matches could be found in smoky legion halls and age-old back rooms. In 2013, you could go to the CONSOL Energy Center for the production values … or just head to the Lawrenceville Moose for old-school grappling. The Keystone State Wrestling Alliance runs monthly shows at the Moose hall, which is rebranded as the KSWA Arena for the events; costumed locals brawl for the love of the show. Grab a beer and a hot dog, and if you feel like helping out a neighborhood wrestler, spring for a T-shirt or an enlarged photo of one of the weekend warriors on the KSWA roster. Keep an eye out for local legend Lord Zoltan, who put in time in the 1980s WWF; he’s one of only a few active performers worldwide who can say they wrestled Andre the Giant. Don’t be afraid to bring the young’uns, either; the events are decidedly PG-rated, and kids’ tickets are just $8. — S.C.

120 51st St., Lawrenceville; 412/726-1762, kswa.net

Best Way to Get Into the Downward Dog Pose Virtually Anytime
Amazing Yoga’s Online Course

Amazing Yoga has popular locations in Shadyside, South Side and Wexford. But yogis can now take classes in billions of locations worldwide, thanks to the online class offering. So long as they have a computer or mobile device connected online — and a mat to roll out — they can practice any time, anywhere. Members get instant access to Amazing Yoga’s library of courses, which are recorded in its studios. Pick classes based on the type of session or the instructor. Curious? Amazing Yoga offers a free 10-day trial. — J.W.

amazingyoga.net

Best Site for a G-Rated Bachelor Party
SteelTown Paintball Park

If the groom-to-be is looking for one last chance to act like a kid again, a friendly get-together at SteelTown Paintball Park is a good way to blow off steam before the big day. With three playing venues — an enclosed turf field, an open grass field and a wooded setting — the outing is sure to be a blast. Better yet, nobody will need to take a vow of secrecy about what happened during the bachelor party. — M.S.

500 Huntington Ave., Suite 202, Emsworth; 412/443-9287, steeltownpaintballpark.com

Best Way to Exhibit a Little Moxie
Take a Class at Moxie Mind & Body

It’s easy to fall into routine and do the same workouts. Failing to challenge yourself doesn’t get you anywhere, though. That’s what Moxie Mind & Body would like to remind you. Set up in a second-floor studio, Moxie has a lineup of Pilates classes for folks of every level. In Pilates, you work to strengthen core muscles through movements that also help increase flexibility and correct posture. First-timers can go for private instructional sessions, while experienced practitioners may be ready for group equipment classes that incorporate Pilates apparatus with mat work. Veteran practitioners can try Moxie’s weeklong sampler package for $35. Those who are new to Pilates can take advantage of custom private-class deals. — K.M.

24 Market Place, downtown; 412/261-2299, moxiemindandbody.com

Best Annual Event to Test Your Mettle on Your Pedals
Pedal PGH

On Aug. 25, the cycle continues — 20 years of Pedal PGH providing people of all ages and fitness levels with a day to celebrate bicycling in Pittsburgh. The event includes three well-marked rides on cycling-friendly streets: the Family Ride, which is perfect for beginners; the 25-mile City Tour; and the 62-mile Metric Century Challenge (each includes full-service rest stops). Afterward, cyclists can pick up their T-shirts, enjoy music and buy food from local food trucks. Pedal PGH is a fundraiser for BikePGH, which works to make communities safe and accessible for bicyclists. — J.W.

pedalpgh.org

Most Unexpected Place for Urban Climbing
The Reservoir

“The Reservoir” is a stone wall that wraps around some tennis courts. The wall is just 18 feet high, and it doesn’t serve much purpose. For rock climbers, though, the sandstone ring is a perfect place to practice. Climbers find handholds, build upper-body strength and gradually work their way around the circle without ropes. The area is generally empty, and unlike official climbing gyms, the reservoir is free to use and accessible anytime. Whether you’re a newbie looking for a place to start or a veteran mountaineer, it’s a great spot to “hang around.” — R.I.

Oakwood Park, Durbin Street, Oakwood

 

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