Andy Warhol was its famous son, and Queer as Folk gave it some serious gay cred (even if the show was filmed in Toronto), but Pennsylvania’s “other” city – known more as a gritty steel town – has a very gay-friendly scene thanks to its arts, culture and nightlife centered around Liberty Avenue.
No self-respecting gay person should visit the home of the Three Rivers without making a day (or two) of it at the Andy Warhol Museum (117 Sandusky Street, 412-237-8300). The Pop Art mecca reflects on the famous and infamous moments of the gay art superstar’s life – right down to the Halston fashions, silver balloons and Interview magazines. Diehard fans can even make a pilgrimage to Warhol’s burial site at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery in nearby Bethel Park. While in art mode, check out the Mattress Factory (500 Sampsonia Way, 412-231-3169). The former warehouse is a cutting-edge art space that feels way more New York than western Pennsylvania. End the day at 5801 Video Lounge and Cafe (5801 Ellsworth Avenue, 412-661-5600) for dancing, drinks and special events.
Pick up some new fashions at Moda (5401 Walnut Street, 412-681-8640) – the new Alexander Wang collection is in – Larrimor’s (249 Fifth Avenue, 412-471-5727). Prefer vintage? Hey Betty (5890 Ellsworth Avenue, 412-363-0999) has been in the clothing business since 1980. The shop even outfits for famous flicks being filmed in town. Or pick up the perfect mid-century knickknack at the very quirky Zenith (86 South 26th Street, 412-481-4833); the shop also features a vegetarian cafe that serves a mean tofu Reuben.
Eleven (1150 Smallman Street, 412-201-5656) is a swanky eatery with great food (everything from clams and burgers to sophisticated dishes from the Chef’s Table) and a stylish bar scene. And at Cure (5336 Butler Street, 412-252-2595), it’s all about the meat when chef/owner Justin Severino brings the farm to the table. Dish Osteria (128 South 17th Street, 412-390-2012) is another Pittsburgh favorite. Housed in a historic saloon on the South Side, it dishes out Sicilian and other Mediterranean specialties with some very creative twists. And if you like Monk’s you’ll love Park Bruges (5801 Bryant Street, 412-661-3334), a popular Belgian cafe (try the frites). End the gastronomic tour with a barrel-aged Manhattan at Meat & Potatoes (649 Penn Avenue, 412-325-7007).
Not only is the Priory Hotel (614 Pressley Street, 412-231-3338) only minutes from the Warhol Museum, but it offers a special Warhol package complete with an overnight stay, museum admission and a complimentary bottle of champagne. Or step back in time at the Inn on the Mexican War Streets (604 West North Avenue, 412-231-6544), a charming getaway in the former Boggs Mansion in one of the city’s most gay-friendly neighborhoods. The Parador Inn (939 Western Avenue, 412-231-4800), meanwhile, offers a Caribbean-inspired experience that turns up the heat on any romantic getaway.