“Nestled in an empty lot between a motorcycle shop and an air compressor company in an unassuming, industrial part of town is one of Pittsburgh’s most interesting nightspots. Admission requires a membership but once inside the vibe is super-chill–and totally Instagrammable,” writes Rae Ann Fera in She’s describing one of Pittsburgh’s newest and most laid-back summer hangouts the city has to offer: The Bayardstown Social Club.

Enclosed in pallet-board walls and capped by constellations of hanging lights is an outdoor space to which in-the-know locals bring their own libations, consumed while crowding around an open fire pit or makeshift picnic tables, after grabbing some grub from a visiting food truck or throwing their own on a grill,” she continues. “Then, patrons might catch a live band. There are old boom boxes and found mixtapes, and you’ll find the cool kids hanging with thirty-something creative professionals. There will likely be a few dogs, and maybe even kids, roaming around.”

Bayardstown Social Club is an off-shoot of Nathan Martin’s Deeplocal, a Pittsburgh technology company. This is something he just did for fun and now people are lining up just to get in the front gate.

Photo by Co.CREATE

Martin, in an interview for FastCo says, “We started this project for fun. Summer in Pittsburgh is so short and you don’t want to sit inside at a bar or restaurant but there’s nothing casual. Also, we do so much work with clients and we don’t have much time, especially with technology projects, to do our own stuff any more. This was something that we could do where we could take our skills and really design and brand a space, but not have a lot of technology commitment either.”

Martin wanted the space to resemble the outdoor BBQs of Austin, and the open-air setting nulled the need for building permits. The owner of the lot was game for the renovation, and so Bayardstown was born, “promptly embraced by the super-hipster crowd looking for an underground haunt to call their own, “writes Fera.

Bayardstown also draws food trucks, which will make stops outside for hungry patrons, and hires live bands to play sets right inside the lot. The club isn’t just for those connected to Deeplocal. Bayardstown offers very inexpensive corporate memberships that allow organizations to share a block of tickets with its employees and clients. The space is also rentable for parties and events.

Even the name is crazy cool. Apparently the Bayardstown Rats were a gang that ran the streets back in the 1900s. Hence the mascot.

The craziest part? The whole thing was built in a mere two weeks.

Now, Deeplocal is seeing the Bayardstown Social Club do something for the company that was a little unexpected. The space has become an incredibly valuable marketing tool for their mission as a business.

The first time Deeplocal held a recruiting event at Bayardstown instead of in their offices, Fera writes, they had 250 people line up around the block to interview for just five positions.

A similar thing happened when Google was considering working with Deeplocal as an innovation partner. Martin told Fera, “…they said they chose us over other companies based on Bayardstown. They said this showed our different thinking, and that compared to technology projects this was a place-making project. It’s all the stuff you want with software–users first, experience design–but it was just so different. It’s demonstrated our ability to create an experience.”

Fera adds that possibly the coolest thing about the space is that for a company who works in robotics, Bayardstown, with its fire pits and picnic tables, employs the simplicity of a summer cookout.

Photo by Co.CREATE

Martin told her, “For us, as a technology company, taking a stance to create something that has no technology in it is a much better statement and I think that’s why it helps us stand out. It’s totally exemplary of our total mindset and our total culture here: that there is this huge world, we’re not pro-tech or anti-tech, we just care about the human experience and doing things that are awesome.”

Read the entire article here.

For information on how to become a member, check out the Bayardstown website.

Rebekah Zook

Rebekah Zook is a Duquesne grad and all-around story-telling enthusiast. A former fellow at WESA, she worked as a production assistant for their daily talk show. Most recently, she taught in the Propel...