Unlike New York, Pittsburgh is a city that needs its rest. After all, we've got work tomorrow. But sometimes "last call" is the last thing you want to hear. Why should the fun stop at 2 a.m.?
Whether you're a late starter, day sleeper or 24-hour party person, when it comes to keeping the party rolling after the bars close, it's most likely rolling back to your place with a couple of six packs. (You can blame, in part, a 2002 referendum in which voters passed tougher sanctions against "bottle clubs" open after 2 a.m.) Pittsburgh does have its share of clandestine after-hours spots, but you need to either be a member or know one, and you need to keep your mouth shut. Still, if you want to hang out before the hangover hits, you still have some options, a few of which appear below.
There may be a lack of drink after 2 a.m., but there is certainly no shortage of food. Classic diners like Ritter's (5221 Baum Blvd., Bloomfield, 412-682-4852) and Tom's Diner, in the South Side (1719 E. Carson St., 412-488-8108) or Dormont (2937 West Liberty Ave., 412-531-2350), are oases for late-night coffee drinkers and people-watchers. In the Strip District, JoJo's (110 24th St., 412-261- 0280) opens at 11 p.m. to serve early breakfast to truck drivers and delivery people, as well as displaced bar and club patrons. Pizza and fries from Original Hot Dog Shop in Oakland (3901 Forbes Ave., 412-621-7388) and sandwiches with the works from Primanti Bros. in the Strip (46 18th St., 412-263-2142) are all hearty enough to sober you right up.
If you're still looking for nightlife, Downtown's Chinatown Inn (520 Third Ave., 412-261-1292) has karaoke until 3 a.m. on weekends, and House of Tilden (941 Liberty Ave., second floor, 412-391-0804), an all-lifestyles-friendly club, keeps the music going until 3:30 a.m.
There's also Fun Fest Entertainment Center in Harmarville (2525 Freeport Road, 412-828-1100), which has cosmic bowling, video arcades, skeeball, and other activities and is open until 2:30 a.m. on Fridays and 3:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Miracle Lanes in Monroeville (4045 William Penn Hwy., 412-372-3500) has weekend cosmic bowling from midnight to 3 a.m. On Saturdays, Dormont Lanes (2961 W. Liberty Ave., 412-563-6449) stays open until 4 a.m. In Bridgeville, the Golden Cue billiards hall (621 McLaughlin Run Road, 412-221-0280) is open until 3 a.m. and beyond on the weekends.
Pittsburgh also holds some semi-regular 24-hour events across town, from weekend sleepovers for kids and family at the Carnegie Science Center on the North Side (1 Allegheny Ave., 412-237-3400) to late-night stargazing parties with the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh at Mingo Creek State Park in Washington County. For information, call 724-348-6150.
For the arts crowd, Art All Night is Lawrenceville's annual 24-hour creative rave, showcasing artwork from all ages and abilities, along with live local music, in a different neighborhood location each spring. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on next year's event. Bellevue hosts a similar event on a semi-regular basis: The 24-Hour Creative Marathon is a big slumber party for artists, minus the slumber. All participants spend the night at the Creative Treehouse (517 Lincoln Ave., 724-910-9947) and whatever pieces they create there are exhibited for the public the next day. They're in the midst of planning the next marathon in the coming months. The Subaru 24-Hour Champion Challenge is an annual bike relay held on Labor Day weekend at Seven Springs (777 Waterwheel Dr., 800-452-2223, ext. 7757).
Grocery shopping (and other common chores) in the middle of the night has potential for unexpected adventure. You can always imbibe some high-octane energy drinks purchased from the 24-hour Giant Eagle grocery store in Squirrel Hill (1901 Murray Ave., 412-421-8161). Still looking to witness other people's dirty laundry? The Relax n' Wash Laundromat in Oakland (3407 Forbes Ave., 412-681-1360) stays open all night too -- and it has plenty of video games and TVs as well. If you're looking to sweat to some good club music even after the dance clubs close, consider a membership at X Shadyside (5608 Walnut St., 412-363-9999). The fitness club has 24-hour facilities -- just bring your iPod.
Looking to cap off a long night out on the town? Both the Duquesne Incline (412-381-1665) and the Monongahela (412-361-0873) start operating at 5:30 a.m. If you've managed to stay up this long, why not ride one from the bottom of East Carson Street on the South Side up to the top of Mount Washington and watch the sun rise over the city? Walk a few blocks down Grandview Avenue and take the other back down. Now, go to bed!