Casellula @ Alphabet City is the first dining spot in Pittsburgh to end its no-tipping policy, just 10 months after it opened.
Pittsburghers love to compete. Pittsburghers love to do good deeds. And a lot of Pittsburghers appreciate a good drink.
These three traits come together tonight at three different venues for the “Drink for Pink” charity event raising money for breast cancer support and research.
The public is invited to stop in at one of three competing bars — located in Oakland, the South Side and the heart of Downtown — to be served by celebrity bartenders who are donating their time and effort. And their tips.
“The goal is to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation,” said Leigh White, vice president of marketing and communications for The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. “We don’t have a specific monetary goal. We do want to raise more money than the others, but the reality is that everybody wins with this and everybody has a nice time and everybody supports a good cause.”
This is the first time the Downtown Partnership has taken part in the “Drink for Pink.”
“The Oakland Business Improvement District has, and they challenged us and the South Side Chamber of Commerce,” Ms. White said. “And we thought, ‘You know, we love a good healthy competition, and we’re going to blow it out of the water.’”
The action is free and open to the public, going from 5-7 tonight. Here are the venues and the celebrity bartenders:
Downtown: Andys at the Fairmont, 510 Market St.
Servers: Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald; Betsy Benson, publisher of Pittsburgh Magazine; City Councilman Daniel Lavell; The Ladies of eatPGH; Julie Plake, formerly of Bravo’s “Bethenny Ever After”; Lynne Figgins, publisher of Lynne’s List newsletter; Herky Pollock, CBRE executive vice president; Robby Incmikoski, of Root Sports; Pittsburgh Passion players Janice Masters and Kate Sullivan; and Rachel Carlson of Yelp Pittsburgh.
South Side: Local Bar + Kitchen, 1515 E. Carson St.
Servers: WYEP disc jockey Brian Siewiorek; musicians from The Bastard Bearded Irishmen; Kweilin Nassar of WQED; Post-Gazette columnist Brian O’Neill; Tim Benz, morning host on WXDX-FM (105.9); actor and director Patrick Jordon; and Pittsburgh legend Bunny Bixler.
Oakland: The Porch at Schenley, 221 Schenley Drive
Servers: Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch; Pitt football coach Paul Chryst; Talia Piazza, coordinator of Neighborhood Allies Marketing & Program; state Sen. Jay Costa; Pitt superstar Dr. John Wilds; and city councilmen Dan Gilman, Bruce Kraus and Corey O’Connor.
But remember — we’re talking about celebrity bartenders. The emphasis is on “celebrity.”
“I’ve done guest bartending a few times now for different charities,” said Mr. Gilman, whose district includes part of Oakland. “It’s a fun way to get out there and support. It brings a new audience to a lot of the charities. Obviously, the Susan G. Komen Foundation is a very well-known, established national charity, but there’s a lot of causes where we want to introduce a younger demographic and a fun way get them involved.
“It’s fun getting behind the bar, but I’ll tell you it is way harder than it looks. I’m not very good at it. But I have a lot of fun back there and it’s a great way to interact with people. Especially an event like this right after work, in Oakland. I have a lot of friends and colleagues who are going to come out and have a happy-hour drink on their way home from work and support this great cause.”
Mr. Lavelle, who also represents part of Oakland, will be mixing it up Downtown.
“We’ve had a little bit of fun banter back and forth about who will be a better bartender and throw a better party,” Mr. Gilman said. “It says a lot about the cause and the Oakland Business Improvement District and the work they do. To get together this great group is really impressive. I’ll try to convince myself that the people are there to see me, even though I’m quite sure they’re there to see Charlie Batch and Coach Chryst.”
Friend and colleague Mr. O’Neill, who will be on the South Side, is likewise a novice behind the bar.
“Generally I’m pretty clueless,” he said. “I learn as I go, and by the time I figure out what I’m doing, it’s time to leave. I’ve done it at home. I think I’d be best serving draft beer and bottled beer.”
Whatever your drink, wherever you go, it should be fun.
Dan Majors: email@example.com.