While Pittsburgh is turning into the up & coming city of the 2010s, the suburban areas to its outskirts have been slow to catch up. In fact, some would argue that they will never, ever recover back to their post-WWII boom days; but that’s a different conversation entirely 😉
I’m in the Mon Valley, which is basically “ground zero” in regards to the decline of Pittsburgh’s steel industry. While there are plenty of [older] people with a good deal of nostalgia for how the region was 60 years ago, there are few young people (as in under the age of 40) who see it as a place they would choose to live in. Sure, they’ll swing through and take pictures or even create school projects. But that’s not the entire picture…not for those of us who live here.
The Mon Valley actually has some great benefits. Bottom basement cost of living; never having to worry about finding a parking spot; neighbors that actually talk to each other (ok, so what if it is usually so that they can ask to “borrow” something); and some really awesome small business. Our main streets may look like ghost towns, but haven’t you ever heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover?”
(not listed in any particular order)
1. Out of the Ordinary Music & Gifts. This is a really amazing store. Located on the main drag in Glassport, the building blends in, maybe a little too much, with all of the other shops on the street. But once you go in, the similarity stops there! They have movie memorabilia, t-shirts, lots of promo stuff from local bands, movies and music. CDs, LPs, 45s, DVDs all the good stuff. Obscure stuff is mixed in with the big sellers. And my absolute top reason for the love: they have an awesome reggae record section. Yep…in Glassport!
2. Stage 1. Good bars are hard to come by. This is especially the case in depressed mill towns it seems. But Clairton beats the odds on this one; the city actually has 3 bars that I would call decent. However Stage 1 comes out on top. The live entertainment, the diversity of the crowd, it’s location right down the road from the massive steel mill, the nice owner…it just has everything going for it. Plus, it is the perfect size and has an area to drink and mingle outside in the summertime.
3. Dirty Dog Cigar Shoppe. I’m not a cigar smoker, and this place does not carry my beloved cloves, but they are awesome anyway. BYOB with a pool table, lots of comfy chairs, and a wide variety of clientele. Plus they are really committed to veterans affairs and contributing to causes that assist wounded veterans. They are in Versailles, right past Olympia Shopping Center.
5. Full Pint Brewing Co. Ok I’ll admit that I’ve never been here; but I do plan to and I’ve had quite a few of their beers. Which are all good by the way 🙂 . They are located in North Versailles, of all places 🙂 .
An honorable mention goes out to Kevin Sousa’s proposed Superior Motors restaurant, which is not open yet….but seems like it is going to be all sorts of awesome. The kickstarter campaign was wildly successful, so it looks like it’ll be coming to Braddock soon!
Hear’s to the Mon Valley; there may just be some hope for us after all. Cheers!