It’s been a long time coming for Shorty’s Pins x Pints.
The local HiLife Hospitality Group started planning the North Shore “retro-tainment” complex in 2018. By late 2021, customers should finally be able to visit the site at 353 North Shore Dr. to play duckpin bowling, bocce, shuffleboard and pinball while enjoying beers and handheld bites.
“We are excited to open a fun and relaxed place where people can hang out with their friends,” says co-owner Mike Hanley. “It really complements the neighborhood.”
The 10,000-square-foot space — formerly the Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery — is getting a ’70s-era makeover that incorporates 21st-century technology, including scannable QR codes, tableside ordering and a vintage photo booth that allows users to instantly post their pics to Instagram. Local companies Bootstrap Design Co. and Shelton Design/Build created the old-school aesthetic.
There will be eight lanes of duckpin bowling, a variation of the sport that uses smaller balls and squat pins known as “shorties,” and two full-service bars serving a curated selection of 32 draft beers, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages called Free Spirits.
A 5,000-square-foot outdoor area will boast three fire pits, two bocce courts, cornhole, giant Jenga and comfortable seating. The riverfront patio’s biggest feature is the concession stand, a converted shipping container that will serve elevated, Latin street food such as tacos, shareable snacks and other grab-and-go eats.
“Each visit will be different. People can come here three or four times and still not experience everything it has to offer,” says Craig Winning, Shorty’s chief operating officer. “It’s the highlight of my career so far.”
HiLife Hospitality recruited Winning from Punch Bowl Social, a nationwide chain of eateries that mixes upscale dining with old-fashioned pastimes.
In addition to the North Shore location, the partners are opening a more food-forward version of Shorty’s at The Waterfront in Homestead. Shorty’s Tap x Taco will open later this year in the space vacated by Bar Louie. Hanley and Dilembo are also looking to expand the Burgatory chain, one of America’s hottest startup fast-casuals, throughout Pittsburgh and beyond.
Pollock says the Shorty’s brand is the perfect post-pandemic venue, combining food, fun and nostalgia that all people from all walks of life can enjoy.
“Covid certainly was a challenging time for the restaurant industry, but, as a company, we took a hard look at our operations and made them better,” he says.