The onset of summer in Pittsburgh means a few things: every road going under construction at the same time, the Pirates giving us false hope before their inevitable collapse…and this past summer, for the fifth year running, it meant it was time for Fox and I to host 101 Achievements Pub Golf. Yes, our 18-stop, citywide foot tour of some of Pittsburgh’s finest drinking establishments is five years old!
For the uninitiated, here’s the lowdown on Pub Golf: from 7:30am until about midnight, Fox and I lead an intrepid, ever-changing crew of friends and associates all over town, doling out fancy course maps, check-in stickers, and event buttons to wear along the way. Oh — and having drinks. Each stop has an assigned beverage par of 1, 2, or 3, which is more a recommendation than a rule (always drink at 18 bars responsibly!). The guidelines of par mean:
Par 1: Order a shot or a cheap beer
Par 2: Order a basic mixed drink
Par 3: Order a proper cocktail
This year’s route was similar in trajectory to previous years; we’ve found that the optimal route, neighborhood by neighborhood, begins in the South Side, cuts over to Downtown, and then goes up through the Strip District, into Lawrenceville, through Bloomfield, into Shadyside, and ends in Squirrel Hill. We made some notable changes in venues, though, and scaled up our numbers dramatically. At peak, we had over 30 people trekking through the city with us, drinking cocktails and participating in general tomfoolery.
While we like to introduce new wrinkles each year, we will likely always start the same way — having breakfast shots at good ol’ Jack’s Bar on the South Side. This year, we tried a new shot called an Irish Pancake Shot (Jameson, buttershots, and an orange juice chaser). Tasty!
…at Piper’s Pub!
As it is written in the bylaws of Pub Golf — en route to downtown, no matter how much construction gets in the way (it is, after all, summer in Pittsburgh) — you’ve got to note that Ben Roethlisberger was once hit by a car here.
Our third stop, The Commoner downtown, is a true Par 3 kinda spot. It also happened to be Negroni Week, so we celebrated in style.
When we reached our fourth stop, Ten Penny, something crazy happened.
We went down the block to our fifth stop for some margaritas and snacks at Condado Tacos…
For stop six, we changed things up, making a visit to Pittsburgh Winery.
We narrowly missed a sudden downpour as we ducked into our next stop: Maggie’s Farm Rum, which is a great distillery with a top-notch cocktail menu.
The storm knocked us off schedule a bit, but thankfully it was brief, and our next step was Round Corner Cantina, just up the road a piece.
With the weather fully back on our side, we hustled on up to our traditional hole nine: Belvederes Ultra-Dive for a round of shots.
…and some more Fosse (with varying levels of commitment) at The Abbey on Butler Street!
Ahh, Allegheny Wine Mixer. How lovely that you, our 11th stop, provided us with more bubbles…
…and, for that matter, let our gargantuan group in the door at all, with no notice, right as you opened for business. (Seriously, thanks!) We commemorated the moment with a reenactment of Cats, which is a musical about Cat Stevens.
Established at 6pm, June 9th, at the tomb of J.B. Ford, and out of business at 6:20pm, June 9th, Rapture Bar had a
small drink list highly curated beverage program. It was so hip, it ran out of ice even before it served its first customer.
After serving 31 souls, Rapture Bar ran out of alcohol, cups, juices, and soda — but not custom beverage napkins, because they only came in a 100-pack. Which means! Rapture Bar, when you least expect it, will return. (I mean…we made a sign for it, after all.)
How do you follow a custom-made, nightlife-meets-the-afterlife cocktail experience? With vodka-sodas, chicken fingers, and nachos in a basket at Kelly’s Korner!
Stop 14 of the day was at Tina’s, one of our favorite newer spots in the city. For the second time that day, we accidentally took over the whole bar, more-or-less, and the ownership and staff could not have been nicer about it…
En route to Sonny’s Tavern, aka stop 15, I stopped to grab us some Road Pizzas for fuel. (Imagine appromixately 32 times the amount of pizza pictured here.)
After a generous helping of pizza, shots, and beers, we realized we had run out of musicals we wanted to homage and decided to just pose like the cover of S.E. Hinton’s coming-of-age classic, The Outsiders. You can see the emotion on my face as I think about the death of dear Johnny, all whilst staying gold.
Dear, dear, Cafe Sam. We had a real scare with this stop. The night before Pub Golf began, we discovered that Cafe Sam had shortened its hours and would be closing right at the time we were scheduled to arrive! So…we put on our adult pants (and by this I mean diapers, because we were shitting ourselves with anxiety) and called to investigate. And what do you know?! It turns out that the owner remembered our event from previous years and agreed to stay open one extra hour, just for us!
For stop 17, we returned once again to Le Mardi Gras in Shadyside, which is a dark, smoky, and mysterious place with a weird layout that we for some reason love anyway. We were a bit too big a group to really manage in the space, but we had our round and came up for air outside shortly thereafter.
Fatigue was beginning to set in at this point, so we Ubered up to our fabled final stop (and regular watering hole), The Squirrel Cage! (Not pictured: the roughly 3,000 calories of fried cheese and wing dings that I scarfed down by myself.)
As has become tradition, we celebrated our victory over the rigors of this day with a quick Superstar! pose. We also celebrated the last of our firsts — it was the first time someone went hole-for-hole and went to all 18 with Fox and myself! Congrats, Alejandro…if we ever get the little trophies we’ve planned on making for the last three years, you’ll certainly get one!
This was by far our most successful Pub Golf to date, and one that will be difficult to top. But fear not! We will find a way, and like clockwork, we will let you know the results 10-16 weeks after that occurs. Until next year!