At Corks and Canvases, local artists demonstrate how to paint vivid scenes while students sip their favorite wines. After passing out canvases and supplies, teachers guides attendees aged 15 and older stroke-by-stroke through the process of creating projects such as a Van Gogh–inspired starry night over Pittsburgh or a sailboat as it floats at sunset. At BYOB classes, they invite guests to uncork a vintage and nibble snacks brought from home. The studio also hosts bachelor or bachelorette parties, fundraising events, and family nights that let kids and their smartest stuffed animals paint alongside adults.
For the four guys behind Full Pint Brewing Company, beer isn't just something to be enjoyed—it's a way of life. At their brewery and pub, they make and serve a variety of craft beers including the Chinookie IPA, White Lightning Belgian-style white ale, and the Little Brown brown ale. They supplement their lineup with seasonal beers, which run the gamut from stouts to ryes, and their limited release beer—cheekily named Nerd's Release—which they brew in extra-small batches during breaks in the brew schedule. To soak up the suds and ensure they remember their date's name, visitors can dig into a menu of bar-friendly snacks and specials such as soft pretzel bites with homemade sauces and specialty flatbread-style pizzas.
The Pittsburgh Irish Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with three days of Celtic culture at Riverplex at Sandcastle, showcasing a wide variety of entertainers on four stages near the waterfront. The schedule includes Friday and Saturday performances by Gaelic Storm, which made an appearance in Titanic, and whose music blends traditional Irish melodies and world music. The festival includes a cultural area filled with weavers, historians, lace-makers, storytellers who weave stories about lace, and classes on Gaelic language and Celtic symbol drawing. The Genealogy Pavilion provides the resources needed to start digging into Irish roots with an Irish shovel.
Not many people get the chance to dine in a restaurant's wine cellar, but at Vallozzi's, diners can book the underground space for a private dinner or dine in one of four other elegant areas. While enjoying award-winning wines, guests can feast on upscale Italian cuisine in Vallozzi's Classic dining room, which awards the eyes with hand-painted murals and romantic lighting. Alfresco dining options include Casa Elena and the patio, where guests can bask in the breeze without picnicking on an airport runway. Rounding out the quintet of rooms and boasting a handmade maple and olive wood bar, Rosso Bianco blends casual and chic with light-strewn tables, wine racks, and flat-screen TVs.
Executive chef Bryan Hutson and his skilled culinary crew craft a seasonal dinner menu of fresh seafood and eclectic entrees at One Eleven within a cozy eatery nestled within historic downtown Greensburg. Taste buds can hobnob with the baked crab cakes ($26) or revel in the aquatic flavors of colossal shrimp with squid-ink pasta ($23). Muffle the moans of tempestuous stomach elves with one of the steak-centric spreads, such as a coffee-encrusted new york strip steak ($25), or plunge tongues into a succulent serving of fresh salmon ($23) paired with premium spinach from Popeye's temperature-controlled locker.
Owner and chef Omar Mediouni imbues La Casa Tapas and Wine Bar's menu of traditional Spanish and Moroccan small plates and entrees with local ingredients and an appetite for culinary fusion that, according to Pittsburgh City Paper, "combines sophistication and comfort, authenticity and simplicity." Flagpole-addicted tongues warm up with a choice of 16 hot tapas, including the chorizo catalan's spicy sautéed sausage and spinach in a red-wine reduction ($10), and tomatoes, sweet pepper, and eggplant form the base of a duo of Moroccan dips ($8 each). Larger entrees ($16–$28) sneak garbanzo beans, chicken, lamb, and eggplant into piles of couscous or saffron paella rice like parents tucking Easter eggs into an egg carton.
Nestled within a brick house along a neighborhood street in Shadyside, La Casa Tapas and Wine Bar greets springtime by opening its patio to warm breezes and showers of cupid arrows. Inside, a hanging Spanish guitar, lanterns lit by candles, and the wide grin of a bright red hearth contribute to a cozy, eclectic spirit.