2018 WISH LIST

Now that we’ve reflected back on the past year and took stock of our favorite recent openings, events and happenings (and  even the at-times-controversial celebrity visits), we’re looking forward to 2018 with fresh eyes — and a few things in mind. The past year has been another banner year for the city, but we want to keep the momentum going and branch out even more when it comes to making the city the best it can be in terms of dining, entertainment, green spaces and more.

So just in case you were wondering, this is what we’re hoping to see around the city in the new year. Here’s hoping that in 2018, we all get a little bit more of what we want!

  • More places with fireplaces. Okay, maybe it’s just because of the recent snowy days and chilly temperatures, but we can’t help but wish that more places had cozy fireplaces to sit around while sipping a hot toddy.  The list is, sadly, pretty short, with places like Spoon and Big Dog doing the heavy lifting for the whole city.

  • More four-seasons hangouts. We can’t think of many more spots other than Grist House that keep their patio going year around.  The benefit for them is that they’re ready for that warm winter day when it pops up and everyone wants to be outside — and the crowds there show it.  We’re looking for more four-season programming from coffee shops (what could be cozier on a 40-degree day than sitting outside and sipping coffee with a snuggly blanket?) and bars (a liquor jacket and a fire pit always sound like fun to us). Just more patios all around, please!

  • More wild, NYC-style party brunches. We already love brunch, but even the best things can always get a little bit better. If you’ve ever experienced the boozy Sunday brunches at restaurants in New York (we’re talking all day long, rowdy, wilder-than-the-night-before brunches), then you know what we’re talking about — and looking for.

  • Design, design, design!

    All in the details // @merchantpgh #comingsoon #lawrenceville

    A post shared by Urbanist PGH (@urbanistpgh) on


    Last year we said this one would always be on our wishlist for the upcoming year, and we weren’t lying. We’re always hoping for the “next big thing” when it comes to design-forward restaurants, inspiring coffee shops and Instagram-worthy hangouts.

  • More places that do one thing really well. We’re talking libation-specific cocktail bars, restaurants with a focus on regional cuisine, and other specialty spots that specialize in one thing and one thing only. Case in point: Dinette and its dedication to perfect, seasonally driven pizzas and the recent opening of Kahuna, with its focus on poke bowls.

  • Putting our money where our mouth is for local business. We’ve seen a ton of great places sadly close up shop in 2017 (Casselula, E2, Joan and Dish, just to name a few), and it hit a nerve. In 2018, we’re hoping to see more city dwellers really spend their time (and money) supporting local businesses and making sure that the city’s most special spots really thrive.  Use it or lose it, guys!

  • More places that play up the city’s attributes.

    The deck is open! Come check out our new menu!

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    Everyone knows that you can head up to Mt. Washington for dinner with a view, but we’re hoping for more places in other areas around the city that take advantage of different views. From riverfront dining destinations to rooftops that allow you to people watch on the street below, we’ll have our eyes peeled for the next great new view.

  • Getting outside of your ‘hood. Skip the ‘it’ neighborhood spots for the night and check out somewhere new. Hop a city bus and get off somewhere you’ve never been; pop into that local-owned diner that you’ve never noticed before; walk to dinner when you’d normally drive so you can see the streets — whatever you do, just get outside of your usual routine.

  • Ditching the car. Speaking of hitting the pavement, we’re vowing to walk more in 2018. It might take a bit longer than just hopping in your car, but all those hills will have your legs looking on point in summer shorts.

  • More live music.


    There’s been a bit of a buzz about the city bringing in a live music expert from Austin to help kickstart the live music scene — not to mention the closing of a few key live music destinations — and it doesn’t bode well for the city’s incredible local musicians. In 2018, we’re hoping that everyone gets out and supports local music, and maybe for a few more outdoor concert series, pop-up shows at breweries and restaurants or even a larger festival to ramp up music appreciation.

  • More places offering more than a 30 beer tap list. We love grabbing a glass of wine or a local beer at the city’s bars and breweries, but we’re hoping to see more places that offer activities rather than just libations in 2018. We’re thinking ping pong bars, places with bocce ball courts, mini golf and the like.

*Featured image provided by Riverfront Times