What was once a stalwart working-class neighborhood has transformed into one of Pittsburgh’s trendiest, and it has a bit of everything: food, culture, nightlife and some of the city’s largest green spaces. Even if you’re not already spending time there, you’ve heard about the national buzz it’s been getting (The New York Times is in love) and the new condos and nightlife and dining options that keep popping up along the neighborhood’s miles-long main drag, Butler Street.
Where to live (and host out-of-town guests): Consistent with its 1814 founding, the majority of Lawrenceville’s housing stock is 19th-century construction and much of it has been or is being renovated. Newer development has brought trendy condos, luxury apartments like The Foundry at 41st and townhouses. Soon a new boutique TRYP Hotel will open on 40th St. just off Butler, offering high-end accommodations and a rooftop bar. And among the newest housing offerings, the Mews on Butler will span a full city block.
Dining: A stroll down Butler Street, just a few miles from Downtown Pittsburgh, becomes an international trip with the district’s exploding dining scene, with many restaurants owned by award-winning chefs. Check out Cure for nose-to-tail tasting menus. Visit Merchant Oyster Co. for lobster rolls and four styles of clam chowder or Piccolo Forno for authentic Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza. Try Morcilla for Spanish-style supper and tapas, and hit B52 cafe for vegan dishes with a Middle Eastern flair or Ki Ramen for gourmet noodle bowls. Consider Poulet Bleu for the French bistro experience, Senti for Italian or The Vandal for upscale casual dining.
For dessert, check out La Gourmandine for French pastries and bread, and Bella Christie and Lil Z’s Sweet Boutique for cupcakes, donuts and other treats. Top it off with a cup of coffee from Espresso a Mano, Constellation Coffee or 4121 Main.
Nightlife options abound, including Thunderbird Cafe (though, as of mid-March, they’re still busy renovating), New Amsterdam and old-school Nied’s Hotel for live music. Or visit Spirit, Dive Bar & Grill and The Abbey (repurposed from its former use as a funeral home and also a restaurant) for drinks and camaraderie.
Lawrenceville also boasts four fine craft breweries, including Roundabout, Eleventh Hour, Cinderlands and Hop Farm. Bottle shop Bierport carries many local options.
Entertainment spots are also plentiful in Lawrenceville. Right next door with a pass-through to Bierport, Row House Cinema is a single-screen revival house that hosts themed events throughout the year. (Grab a beer before you get seated.) Arsenal Bowl, a neighborhood staple since the 1930s, has a funky vibe with different themes every night of the week. The Clemente Museum celebrates the life and legacy of one of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ greatest players. Head up to Fisk Street to check out books, movies and more at the Lawrenceville branch of the Carnegie Library.
Getting physical: You’ll find numerous yoga studios such as Amazing Yoga and The Shala of Pittsburgh Ashtanga Yoga, both on Butler. Sports facilities include tennis and basketball courts at Arsenal Park and a baseball field and playground at Leslie Park. For dogs, and there are plenty in dog-friendly Lawrenceville, there’s Bernard Dog Run.