Rock Around The Block

Oh, the joint was rockin' all night long when more than 1,500 Downtown residents and their guests transformed Market Square into Party Central during last Saturday's second annual Downtown Neighborhood Block Party. And if you missed this year's get together, well, read on to catch up on the fun.

First off, we want to tip our party hats to the Downtown resident committee for planning and hosting the Block Party. Now, let's get back to the party. 

For starters, we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful evening with clear skies and just perfect temperatures, especially for the end of summer. But even better was all the fun, food and fantastic people to be found in every square inch of the Square. Whether it was the finger-lickin' good Southern style cooking from A J Ribs or the Middle Eastern treats from the Istanbul Grille, the best of Downtown eateries and cuisines were well represented. And while our tummies served up four stars for all the party edibles, the Sonoma Grille nabbed the event's Best Dish award with its yummy Smoked Pork Slider with Apple-Ancho BBQ and Habanero Scented Slaw .  Bon appetit, indeed.

Of course, while we were sampling all the tasty eats, we worked up a pretty big thirst. Luckily, we found plenty of "watering holes" around the Square where Downtown's best barkeeps where mixing up their top concoctions. Let's just say that we seriously sampled all the beverages to be fair and balanced. And though we prefer to keep our fave cocktail a secret, we will tell you that the people's choice for Best Drink was the delicious "Choose your Flavor Man-jito"... feauturing a flavor choice of either Pineapple, Peach, Pomegranate or Orange - muddled with fresh mint, raw sugar, and lime. Seviche wanted to integrate Clique vodka into a Nuevo Latino-esque themed drink specifically for the event.  We had mentioned to the ladies in line that they should choose the flavor of the Man-jito they desired. And for the men we informed them of the vodka being manly and from Latvia - hence a Man-jito. It was fun and catchy, and people enjoyed it.  Thanks to Clique vodka for sponsoring that element of the evening.

When we weren't noshing and sipping our way around the Square, we got our groove on and danced the night away to the musical stylings of DJ Nugget and the super sounds of the Delaneys, who rocked under the performance tent. For the kids, clowns twisted balloons into all kinds of crazy configurations, and a gigantic, inflatable "bouncy house" gave the youngsters something to jump up about. And the inventive folks from Obscure Games invited adults and older kids to get in touch with their inner child with a fantastic four-square in the Square ball game and a Cake Hunt, with the prize - a Burnt Almond Torte from Prantl's.

We're willing to bet that just about everyone had a great time at the Block Party in the Square. But some card sharks in the crowd had us humming that old Kenny Rogers tune "The Gambler" as they played their hands close to the vest during a Vegas style Poker Tourney. Well, we certainly knew when to fold them as soon as we spied Fairmont's massage chair, where a masseuse was giving free back rubs to keep our party muscles relaxed.

So thanks again to the resident committee and Vertical Life Pgh  for making Saturday special. And here's a shout out to all the participating sponsors and restaurants listed below:

      City of Pittsburgh
      Port Authority of Allegheny County
      Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
      Au Bon Pain
      Rivers Casino
      Vitamin Water

      A&J Ribs
      August Henry's City Saloon
      Istanbul Grille
      Prantl's Bakery
      Mancini's Bread Company
      The Sonoma Grille

Interested in becoming a Downtown resident yourself?  Learn about your options at DowntownPittsburgh.com/Living. And hear what residents say themselves on the new, Vertical Life Pgh, a forum for residents to talk to each other and about Downtown Living.

Photos courtesy of Robert Strovers


  1. While I like the idea of a downtown forum like Vertical Life, I REALLY do NO like that in order to be a contributing member, I need to give them my building name AND suite number.

    No thank you.

  2. Thanks for the feedback Mel. I asked the folks at Vertical Life what that was about and they said it's so that they are sure contributors ARE downtown residents. "A confirmation request is sent to the property manager who confirms that it is a resident. The building and unit number are not published nor are they used in ANY other way other than the verification process."

    I understand that concern. When we were preparing for the Block Party one woman wanted to come in and claimed she lived Downtown, then as we conversed she said she was a City resident, then she admitted she lives in Crafton. So if it is a forum for Downtown dwellers, I do see why they try to verify residency - everyone wants a piece of Downtown and everyone has a strong opinion about it!

    We love getting feedback though and I've passed yours along to the appropriate people. Thanks for voicing the concern!

  3. Thank you for the clarification. This is definitely something that should be made more apparent at the sign-up page, but I do feel better now knowing that it is a reputable and useful forum.

    Thanks again!

  4. I just got another email with some more info... "There’s also privacy issues. The resident has to supply us with his information in order to allow the property manager to confirm the information." I'll see if they can put that info on the sign in page. Good suggestion!