So, for the last several years, Fox and I have hosted a city-spanning tour of Pittsburgh’s bars known as…101 Achievements Pub Golf. It is a 17-hour, half-marathon-length trek on foot that touches down at 18 different bars around town. As we travel, we gain and lose folk from stop to stop, giving out printed maps, check-in stickers, and pub golf buttons to wear along the way. Each stop has an assigned par of 1, 2, or 3, which is more a recommendation than a rule. Par translates as such:
Par 1: Order a shot or a cheap beer
Par 2: Order a basic mixed drink
Par 3: Order a proper cocktail
This is the route we went this year, starting in the South Side, working our way over to Downtown, up through the Strip District, into Lawrenceville, over to Bloomfield, and then Shadyside, ending in Squirrel Hill. This was our fourth year hosting Pub Golf, and happily, it was our most successful — so for the first time ever, we’re actually managing to document the damn thing.
As has become tradition, the first round of the day was at Jack’s Bar on the South Side, at 7:30am. (Yes, you read that right.) Since it was breakfast time, we began the day with Cinnamon Toast Crunch shots (equal parts Fireball and Rumchata).
Linda also joined us for the second round, our big breakfast-and-mimosas stop at Piper’s Pub.
From there, we began the nearly-two-mile walk to our next stop downtown. We always do our best to pick the most scenic route possible. For instance…look, it’s the spot where Ben Roethlisberger had his motorcycle accident!
We made it downtown to The Commoner right on schedule, reaching the bar at 10am. There we had our first proper cocktails, as you can see from their fancy garnishes.
On our way to the fourth stop, we discovered an alleyway that held an array of colorful chairs.
As we continued through downtown, we crossed paths with a 5K that happened to be occurring. We noticed that one vendor was promoting Hoist, a brand of electrolyte water. That seemed like it would be useful, so one of our members, Gail (standing beside the tree), quickly went over to the Hoist table and somehow finagled an entire case of the stuff for our group. We quickly promoted Gail to Pub Golf Public Relations Coordinator.
Re-hydrated and ready to rumble, we stopped in at Ten Penny for the fourth round.
For our fifth stop, we went around the corner to check out the new downtown tacos-and-margaritas spot, Condado Tacos. We were trying it sight-unseen, and it turned out to be fantastic! The tequila selection was nice, and the tacos were varied and very tasty.
Next, we trucked up to the Strip District to catch a round of proper cocktails (and some bacon) at Bar Marco. Some folks checked out and new ones checked in, as it always goes.
Further up toward Lawrenceville, we reached stop number seven: Maggie’s Farm Rum, a distillery, tasting room, and cocktail purveyor. It was here that our numbers swelled again, and we started to get a little saucy (while still keeping it both grown and sexy).
Fortunately, we had the foresight to make the following stop a meal stop, at Franktuary in Lawrenceville. Only a few minutes off-schedule, we made it in and had a big lunch of hot dogs and fries….
Refueled once again, we paused for this group photo and then embarked up Butler Street to hole number nine, Belvederes Ultra-Dive, where a surprise awaited.
A couple weeks earlier, Fox and I had run into one of the owners of Belvederes and mentioned Pub Golf in passing; he kindly offered to arrange for a round of dollar-off shots for our group. I accepted, on the condition that we not know ahead of time what the shots were. They turned out to be these potent sirens of 80s Nights past: Red-Headed Slut shots.
We stopped in to The Abbey on Butler Street for some more cocktails and food, and then decided to take a quick break for shenanigans, like visiting an abandoned pool, and then having me pose for this statue photo.
We also paused to stop in at Lawrenceville Pet Supply and literally buy all their cat bananas.
It’s always five o’clock somewhere, but when it’s five o’clock in Pittsburgh, there’s only one place to indulge: Allegheny Wine Mixer, our 11th stop.
We doubled back after AWM, closer to the heart of Lawrenceville, to stop in at Kelly’s Korner for shots and fried things. It was here where turnout really started to pick up.
We arrived at our next stop, Caliente Pizza and Draft House, a little later than planned. Thankfully, Fox’s Mum and Dad were there to hold down the fort…because when all was said and done, 23 of us showed up and totally overwhelmed the place. (Did I mention that the puck had just dropped for Game 1 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals?)
The next place we went, Sonny’s Tavern, was packed, but fortunately they had outdoor seats that allowed us to do shots with grace and class (and pizza).
Stop 16, around 10:15pm, was at a location that Fox and I hold specially in our hearts: Cafe Sam, a place we’ve written of fondly before. When we arrived, their ice machine was broken and they were about to close their kitchen early, but they made us some appetizers and we got our round in. Note — on the far left, that’s not a super-drunk person; that’s a mannequin: Sam, the bar’s namesake, who ensures that you’ll never need to drink alone.
Stop 17, at Le Mardi Gras in Shadyside, was where things got a little weird. Pictured here are the neon Harvey Wallbangers Fox and I enjoyed (made with fresh-squeezed orange juice!), because it was too dark inside to photograph anything else.
This was the stop we said farewell to our Pub Golf champions of 2017, Laura and Timmy, who joined us at stop 3 and stuck with us all the way to this point. But we also said hello to Steve, who offered us a ride to the final stop, saving us a nearly-30-minute walk to…
We celebrated our final stop with, yes, the Superstar pose.
After our 18th and final stop, at roughly 12:45am, we disbursed into the night. Fox and I went home, and after a long sleep…we immediately started thinking about Pub Golf 5: A New Beginning, and how we might possibly top what was clearly our best Pub Golf yet. Until next year!