Which neighborhood in Pittsburgh has two breweries, a great diner, a really cool concert venue, the best wings in the city, and a beautiful riverfront park?
Yep, you've heard of the neighborhood before, probably sped past it while driving on Route 28 towards the city. But have you ever visited? Here are a few reasons to stop by and visit.
Do you like beer? I certainly do. The craft beer scene is exploding in Pittsburgh so sometimes it's hard to choose which breweries to visit. Millvale has two, and they're completely different in their styles, but both are definitely worth visiting.
First up is Grist House. This is one of my favorite breweries in Pittsburgh. The inside is small, but they have a great porch which is closed in during the winter months to give them more than double the space. They also almost always have food trucks parked outside.
Grist House always has plenty of beers on tap, and all are worth trying. Here's their current lineup:
One worth trying: Black in the USSR. As the name suggests, it's a dark beer - a stout to be exact. And a dark one at that. It's also a nitro beer, similar to Guinness in that respect, but the flavor is completely different. You'll get hints of milky chocolate and bold, black coffee combined. That alcohol percentage will sneak up on you though - weighing in at 9.3%
Another thing that makes this place great is the fact that they're dog-friendly. There are always dogs running around. Who doesn't love a friendly dog?
The other brewery in Millvale is Draai Laag. You really need to check this one out. I guarantee that this place makes the most unique beers in Pittsburgh. They specialize in beers made with wild yeasts. This gives their beers a wild flavor. They tend to be rather sour too, which is a fun change from the typical Yuengling you're used to drinking.
I recommend trying their Cru if it's on tap. It's a fun, complex beer that uses their signature Wild Angels yeast strain. If you’ve never had a sour beer, this is a great one to start with.
Let's get to the meat (pun intended) of this article, though: chicken wings. Wings are one of my favorite foods. Sidelines, the little bar on Evergreen Avenue has the best wings in Pittsburgh according to a viewer-vote conducted by WPXI, and I could not agree more.
These wings are incredible. First of all, they’re big chicken wings. Bigger than your average bar wings. Second, they don’t skimp on the sauce here. You get tons of it with each wing order. They have more sauce flavors than you probably need, but it’s fun to try them all. The best part, even when they’re doused in sauce, Sidelines always manages to make these things crispy, which is the way wings should be. Soggy wings suck. I'm looking at you, Quaker Steak.
I recommend trying the Bourbon Blaze, Ranch Buffalo, and Chipotle flavors. They also have some incredibly hot flavors if you're into that sort of thing. The beer selection is fantastic there too, which certainly doesn't hurt.
When it comes to baked goods, Millvale has a world class bakery too. Jean-Marc Chatellier's makes some incredible French baked goods.
I'll let Rick Sebak cover Jean-Marc's for me:
And who could forget about Pamela's? This is my favorite Pamela's in the city. It's inside an old pharmacy, just like it was back in the day. Michelle Obama dined here when she was in Pittsburgh. Even if you don't like her, you gotta admit, it's a big statement when the First Lady eats at your establishment. Try the Hotcakes. Get some coffee too. I'm sure it's just Folgers or something like that, but it tastes great.
Okay, enough about beer and food. There are plenty of other cool things about Millvale.
Are you a record lover? There is an awesome record shop on Grant Avenue - Attic Records. They've been around since 1980 and have a great selection of vinyl. And if you (or your parents) have some old records lying around - Attic will buy them off your hands. Not a bad deal.
One place I have to mention when it comes to music is Mr. Smalls Theater. This is Millvale's awesome concert venue. It's in an old church, which is cool because everyone loves the idea of rocking out in a church. There's something slightly forbidden about it.
Mr. Smalls, not surprisingly, is small. The venue only holds about 650 people at capacity, but they get some big acts like Muse, G. Love, Wiz Khalifa, Gary Clark Jr, and plenty of others.
If you’re in the mood for a little exercise or relaxing in a park, Millvale's got that covered too. Just shoot under Route 28 and you'll find a beautiful riverfront park with a trail that goes all the way down to the stadiums on the North Shore. Heck, you can stick on that trail and take it all the way up the Mon to the Waterfront.
At one edge of the park is the Three Rivers Rowing Association's Millvale boathouse. Here, you can watch local rowing teams take to the river, or join a team yourself. It's a great workout, and a way to see Pittsburgh's rivers like you never have before.
Seriously, take a Saturday and spend it in Millvale. You won't regret it. Start with brunch at Pamela's, move on to the Attic for some music, then head to Jean-Marc's for a French Macaron. From there, have a few beers at Grist House and Draai Laag. By the time you're done there, you'll be more than ready for any show that is happening at Mr. Smalls.