It doesn’t take much to convince me to go out for a night in dahtahn Pittsburgh. $1 beers usually do the trick.
Tad’s and the Penguins
Down in the South Side there’s a gem called Tad’s. It’s a hole-in-the-wall dive bar that can be counted on every night for dollar beers, though which beer depends on the day. On Tuesdays, it’s Coronas. But Pittsburgh is no beach and who wants a Corona late at night in western PA anyway? Wednesday night is the night to be there. $1 Yuenglings for the win! And coincidentally, last night the Pittsburgh Penguins pulled out a pretty impressive win themselves.
After the second period when things were looking grim for the Islanders and the Pens had a solid 4-goal lead, I was (easily) persuaded to head dahntahn and meet up with some friends at Tad’s for the night. I changed out of the sweats and threw on some jeans, a tee and my Ohio University dome piece and was on my way to Pittsburgh, a 35-minute or so drive from my parent’s house.
By the time we all got to the bar the game was over and the Pittsburgh Penguins had sealed their first 2013 playoff matchup with an energetic 5-0 victory. Even when I was watching the game from home I could feel the energy in the city. From the diehard fans in the stadium to the arguably even more diehard sitting outside and watching the game on the big screen, Pittsburgh was high octane last night. At the bar, it seemed like every other person was raising a drink to the Penguins and their aggressive jump on the New York Islanders.
80% of the people in the bar were visibly donning Pittsburgh gear and I suspect the other 20% had the Pens logo embroidered on their undergarments or tattooed on bare skin.
Pittsburgh is proud. Mostly because the sports teams are annually amazing but not just because of that. One of the biggest differences that is immediately evident between Pittsburgh and the other cities I’ve spent most of my time in, largely on the west coast, is the culture. West coast cities are full of transplants and it can be difficult to define those city’s culture. Many times, it’s more surprising to meet a San Diego or Denver native than it is to meet a transplant from somewhere like Ohio on the west coast.
Pittsburgh though is full of life-long Pittsburghers. The population turns over itself constantly, producing new hard working Pittsburgh faithfuls every year who will then go on to produce more themselves. And when people move to Pittsburgh for the first time, they’re generally quick to absorb everything that is Black and Gold.
It’s that hard working and resolute ethic that makes it easy for Pittsburghers to cheer on the hard-nosed Penguins and Steelers year in and year out. That ethic permeates the city at every level and coming back to it after months on the road was intoxicating. People in Pittsburgh are proud and that’s probably why a couple of dudes thought it was necessary to call me out for my hat choice.
Doucheyness of those dudes aside, what was I thinking wearing a hat with “OHIO” emblazoned on the front in Pittsburgh after a huge night for the Penguins?
Anyway, last night in dahtahn Pittsburgh I fully realized the love that I have for my city. I love the sports teams, the dive bars, the three rivers, the Yuengling, the South Side, the bridges and everything else that makes Pittsburgh a cultural phenomenon. There aren’t many cities in the US that can claim to have the love and devotion of it’s people like Pittsburgh can.
I have had my head firmly up my ass for the last couple of days and drinking dollar Yuenglings with Penguings playoff replays on the televisions and some good friends was all I needed to reach clarity. And I never even had to bust out the debit card.