Forget the night clubs and EDM, what you really need to explore is Pittsburgh’s other music scene.
Sure a few might enjoy some notoriety, but for the most part these clubs and music nights primarily exist tucked away in local bars, popping up on your radar only by accident –like when you happen to pop in for a quick pint and bite and get surprised by all the hub-bub of people living a life of IYKYK (which may cause you some major FOMO).
But let’s change all that shall we? These fun little dance clubs and music nights deserve a little exploration; an infusion of amateurs, rubberneckers, and wannabes. Who knows, you may just find yourself stumbling upon an experience you’ll never forget and may even work into your regular night-out routine. Because, after all, IYKYK.
Say it’s a boring Tuesday night and you’re feeling sad that weekend fun is a long workweek away. You can instantly spice up your night by slipping on your dancing shoes and hop-stepping to Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle in the Strip District for the weekly Tuesday night Ceili dance put on by the Pittsburgh Ceili Club.
Pronounced “kay-lee”, the ceili is a traditional social dance of Ireland and is most similar to American square dancing. The Ceili Club provides lessons for beginners at 7:15pm which is then followed by live music and dancing from 8:00pm-10:00pm. The caller will call the dance moves during the night so newbies will easily blend right in.
The cost? Free. (Donations welcome.)
Sitting at home on Wednesday night and wondering why it’s only the middle of the week? Stop sitting and get yourself to the Elks Lodge on the North Side for their weekly Wednesday night Banjo night put on by the Pittsburgh Banjo Club.
The event, which is actually the club’s rehearsal night, is pretty well-known locally (because IYKYK) but a definite semi-hidden Pittsburgh gem. When you sit in on one of their 8pm-11pm sessions you’ll feel musically transported back in time to Pittsburg (that’s right, back when it didn’t have the ‘h’) or deep into the Appalachian hills. You should plan to sing-along too.
The cost? Free.
(PS. Make an advance reservation. It’s a pretty popular event and you’ll want to be sure they save you a seat.)
You made it to the weekend (Finally!). Treat yo’self to a whirlwind-of-dancing Friday night in Squirrel Hill with the Pittsburgh Contra Dance group. But please note: It’s only on the 3rd, 4th (and 5th) Fridays of the month.
Each dance lasts for 10 minutes and you switch partners each dance which means you will maximize your socializing and learn many new dances — contras, waltzes, and maybe a few square dances.
Located in the Wightman School Community Building, the beginner’s lesson starts at 7:30pm and the dancing goes from 8pm-11pm. The dance features live music and newbies need not worry since each dance is taught with a 5-minute walk-thru before the music starts and the caller also calls the moves during the dance.
The cost? Pay what you can (Suggested $15).
Alright yinz dance maniacs, your Saturday night plans need to take you to Squirrel Hill to jive n’ wail with Swing City.
Since this group meets in the Wightman School Community Building you’ll need to track down your suds & grub prior to getting your dance on. But hey you’re in Squirrel Hill so that’s just a bonus since you can hit up Point Brugge Cafe, Shady Grove, or whatever your local fave is.
Swing City offers a beginner dance lesson at 8pm followed by the dance from 9pm-Midnight. The lesson is free with admission. You can learn the Lindy Hop, Charleston, shim sham, hot hot hot, jitterbug, and more. And even though it’s called Swing City they offer a variety of music, like the Cha-Cha, Waltz, Polka, Foxtrot, and even Line Dancing.
The cost? $12 for a DJ dance and $14 for live bands.
Bonus: Head to Avonworth Community Park on August 22 for the “7th Annual Outdoor Summer Dance Party” and catch Pittsburgh Contra from Noon-2:30pm.
Ok, so Rick Sebak is not a dance, dance group, or famous type of music (at least not yet). But he is Pittsburgh-niche. If you aren’t quite ready to lace up your dancin’ shoes then he’s definitely your man.
You can find Rick Sebak at The Independent Brewing Company in Squirrel Hill on Wednesdays spinnin’ vinyl records. He often themes his evenings so check out his Instagram for a heads-up on that week’s theme in case you want to make any requests — or just get there, grab a few bevs, and let Rick Sebak give you a sweet, sweet taste of Pittsburgh.
The cost? Priceless.This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.