Wrap Sheet: Where to Dine/Drink for the Oscars

I've taken the responsibility of pairing of some of the Oscar contenders with a fine dinner and/or drinks option for your pre- and post-show enjoyment.

Amid all of the February excitement of late—another Super Bowl appearance, the groundhog, Lady Gaga hanging out in an egg for three days—the Academy Awards have approached with scant comment (they’re on Sunday night, by the way). This is partially due to the lack of a crushing commercial property like Avatar or a fan-driven juggernaut like The Dark Knight in competition, and partially because there’s a clear front-runner in every major race (if you haven’t heard, every person in the world loves The King’s Speech).

Still, there are a number of fine nominees in the mix this year, and if you’re still trying to catch up, now is the time. If you need a little extra motivation, I’ve compiled the following helpful list pairing some of the contenders with a fine dinner and/or drinks option for your pre- or post-show enjoyment.

And, in the name of saying that I was right next week, here are the world’s quickest Oscar Predictions: King’s Speech, Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Hailee Steinfeld, David Fincher. (I’ll be on the WDVE Morning Show on Friday at 8:45 a.m. for a longer version of Oscar Talk if you’re curious for more.)

Note that all five of these are still in theaters, but it might take a bit of doing to find them. Plan your alcohol consumption accordingly.

True Grit: Steak and Beer, obviously

Jeff Bridges’ Rooster Cogburn spends most of the film drinking rotgut whiskey, but you want to appreciate the artistry of the Coen Brothers’ Western masterpiece, so I’d recommend laying off the hard stuff. It’s also not the right season to find a roadside Barbecue, appropriate though that may be, so faux-Western cuisine is the way to go here. And you’re in luck—there’s a Longhorn Steakhouse just across the parking lot from AMC Waterfront. Grab a large portion of steak and a crisp beer, and get yourself ready for an excellent film. (410 W. Waterfront Drive, Homestead. Info: 412/476-8195, longhornsteakhouse.com)

Black Swan: Pre-Show Cocktails at Jekyl & Hyde’s

Most of the principles in Black Swan had to lose a ton of weight to perform their roles, so going on a full stomach would just feel wrong. I’m instead thinking of a key scene in the film featuring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis downing mysterious mixers at an intimidating club, and I think of my favorite spot for mysterious mixers: Jekyl & Hyde’s on the South Side. Pittsburgh’s only Halloween-themed bar offers tasty/spooky cocktails year ’round—“Jack the Ripper” is my favorite. Plus, the horrific decor will properly set the mood—Black Swan is, at heart, a horror film. (140 S. 18th St., South Side. Info: 412/488-0777)

The King’s Speech: High Tea, Anyone?

I know, I know, this is a painfully obvious suggestion and a played-out joke. But seriously—have you been to high tea recently? Or, you know, ever? Here’s your excuse. The Inn on Negley offers three levels of tea service in the Rosewood Tea Room, from the basic “Cookies and Cocoa” package to the luxurious “High English Tea Service,” featuring sandwiches, pastries, and more. Worth a try—hell, make a habit of it. We need more randomly occurring pastries in our lives. (703 Negley Ave., Shadyside. Info: 412/661-0631, theinnsonnegley.com)

The Fighter: Find Your Favorite Dive

The Fighter, like every boxing movie since the dawn of time, is a story about working-class redemption. We’re familiar with that in Pittsburgh, and so are our bars. Most of our movie theaters, though, are recent developments, so you’ll have to branch out. Going to the Waterfront? Find a suitable dive in Homestead or Greenfield. Seeing Wahlberg and company on the South Side? Get a few blocks off of Carson or find something in the Slopes. Order an Iron City. Just because The Fighter is set in Boston doesn’t mean it can’t remind you of where you came from.

The Social Network: Wood Panelling and Young People

Very few spots in the ’Burgh have that collegiate classic vibe evident in the Harvard bars of The Social Network. After all, most of our schools are in Oakland, and most of the bars in Oakland are … well, Oakland bars. So saunter into CMU territory and hit up Shadyside’s Harris Grill, one of my favorites. Grab a martini, sit in that little lounge area upstairs, and discuss your regrets over not having had any billion-dollar ideas during your college years. (5747 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside. Info: 412/362-5273, harrisgrill.com)

Categories: After Dark