Bars have always been gathering places for people to come together and knock one back. Businesses are built, alliances forged, romances started and inventions dreamed up in back booths across the world. Here in Pittsburgh, many bars are taking that idea and expanding it, using their spaces to help other local businesses and charities grow.
The newest venture is yoga, with brewpubs like East End Brewery, Copper Kettle Brewing Company and Brew Gentleman Beer Company hosting classes. A quick Google search for “beer and yoga” brings up hundreds of hits nationally, most with topical names like “Hoppy Yoga,” “Bendy Boozy Yoga” or, a personal favorite, “Suds and Salutations.” So what’s the deal?
Community-building seems to be the first answer. Brew Gentlemen co-founder Matt Katase says that the idea for yoga at the Braddock brewpub was suggested by a regular (and yoga teacher) and has grown into a fun, healthy way to invite the community into the space. Hallie Stotsky, of South Hills Power Yoga and the Yoga Hive, taught weekly spring and summer sessions. Her fall sessions will continue until Thanksgiving. Each class is an hour of yoga for 20 students, followed by 5-ounce beer tasters. Local food truck Driftwood Oven often joins in. As far as local business supported, the count is already at three. With classes set at an affordable $5 and selling out in under 10 minutes, it’s clear to the Gents that they’re providing a space that people appreciate.
Just in case anyone thinks this is only about drinking beer in hot pants, Brew Gentlemen’s beer-and-yoga summer blowout in August donated 50 percent of the proceeds to Pittsburgh Yoga Collective, a nonprofit that “aims to bring the practice of yoga and mindfulness to underserved and at-risk populations in Pittsburgh.” With craft beer and yoga both in vogue, it’s logical to combine their powers for charity, the greater good, and a cold one.