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Friday, July 31, 2015

Arsenal Lanes

Grilled Cheez
In my heart, nothing screams Pittsburgh like bowling alley food.

Amidst all the articles and blogs claiming we are the new Mecca of haute cuisine, I'm honored to review a grilled cheese at a smelly bowling alley in Lawrenceville.

If you haven't been to Arsenal Lanes, it is certainly worth the visit. Bowling alleys are increasingly harder to find in urban areas, particularly older lanes that are well maintained. Arsenal Lanes has many strange rules you ought to know about.

You can only purchase pitchers of beer if you are a league bowler. Roughly half the lanes are reserved for league bowlers, so don't just expect to waltz in and go bowling because the staff will treat you like garbage.

Smoking is no longer allowed. (I know that this is becoming increasingly common but it just doesn't feel like a bowling alley without the thick wafts of smoke.) If you start bowling at a particular time that does not please the staff you will be rushed out to make way for hoards of hipsters who are most likely doing designer drugs before cosmic bowling.

 As for the bowling alley restaurant you have your choice of: hamburgers, pizza, chili, fried chicken, grilled cheese, appetizers and hot dogs. Although the food may not be featured in any magazine, the prices are a reminder of a simpler time when you were allowed to chain smoke Pall Malls in any bowling alley throughout these great United States. A hot dog will run you $2.95 and the grilled cheese is really priced to sell at $3.25.

My grilled cheese was absolutely drenched in butter and entirely delicious. The clever re-purposing of the hamburger bun stole the show. You could probably order every item on the Arsenal Bowling Lanes menu and spend less than dinner for two with drinks at a number of downtown eateries. Bon appetit! 

Arsenal Bowling Lanes
Address: 212 44th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Aresenal Bowlin Lanes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Biergarten - Hotel Monaco

You pay for a nice view, but I have to say that the view at the Biergarten is fantastic. Although the space is very small, it provides an entirely unique view of downtown Pittsburgh. Because our city has so much open space around the edges, most roof top views provide you with the feeling that you are isolated. Biergarten is situated right in the heart of the city so the view actually creates the facade that you are in some type of booming metropolis rather than the 62nd largest city by population in the United States.

Now when I say you pay for it, I mean it. The cheapest beers at Biergarten will cost you around $7 or $8. And don't think you can get off easy ordering a Miller Lite, because there isn't much of a discount. Considering the ABV of many of the German beers, you are better off going with a Spaten Optimator or Paulner Hefewiezen in order to optimize your buck. Also, don't count on happy hour discounts as none exist.

This cucumber salad with onions and pickled eggs came with a delicious tangy vinegar dressing. It was the perfect dish to stimulate my desire for thick German beer. Also, it was appropriately priced at $5. If you want to sit down and eat at Biergarten, be sure to arrive early. We were the first ones on the roof when it opened and every seat was probably filled within 15 minutes. The cost to reserve a table is exorbitant. I believe they wanted roughly $1000 to reserve a table for 12. OUTRAGEOUS! I could probably buy a liquor license in Homstead for that price.


The large tables at Biergarten are shared, similar to what you see at any German beer hall. Some fat hog sat down next to me and ordered the sauerbraten and proceeded to send it back two times because the meat was too fatty. I'm guessing that she was not familiar with brisket. This sauerbraten dish consisted of vinegared beef brisket, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. I thought it was fantastic. Although fatty (as brisket should be) the meat was extremely tender. The portion was awfully small for the $14 price point, but I've already explained that you will be paying dearly for the wonderful view. 


This is my friend Eric. Eric ordered the Currywurst and smoked mussels. I believe he had a pretty nice evening until he got stuck in one of the Hotel Monaco elevators on his way out of Biergarten and was stranded for almost an hour. (The elevator situation is not ideal.) I have scarcely seen him since and I'm pretty sure he blames me for his misfortune.

Overall, Biergarten is a must visit. Arrive early and enjoy a glass of wine at no charge in the Hotel Monaco lobby from 5-6. This will help defray your beer expenses later in the evening.

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