Liven Up Your Weeknight: How & Why

Now that I don’t work evenings, my weeknights are packed. Who knew? Pittsburgh doesn’t roll up the sidewalks at 7pm. Thank goodness, because I am not a homebody by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve said this before, but aside from a classic film here and there, I have not watched television in years.

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I can definitely understand why some people avoid making plans on a weeknight. If you work long hours during the week and then arise early the very next morning, it may not feel worth it. Here are five reasons I began falling in love with making plans on weeknights:

There are more things to do that do not involve drinking and crowds. Most bars center their business model around weekends, because the vast majority of people generally go out then. However, they need real activities to draw in crowds during the weekdays to fill the gap.

You’re usually in bed by 11pm anyways. Weeknight events start as early as 5, and generally end by midnight. The fun is usually over well before the 2am last call from the bar.

It gives you something to do with that friend who doesn’t want to go clubbing. (Other than “grab lunch” for the 80th time.) It’s hard to get some friends out on weekends, especially if they’re in a relationship or have a variety of adult responsibilities. However, grabbing Sunday brunch can be a snooze done on repeat. Different activities that allow you to interact as a team can reveal parts of your relationship that can get lost over time when all you two do together is gossip about high school acquaintances over mimosas.

It gives you something to look forward to while Sharon is sharing what kind of virus little Timmy had at the water cooler during lunch. If you do work weekdays, you can often feel like Monday-Friday is an absolute blur that you trudge through. You can break the cycle if you give yourself something to look forward to after hours!

You can meet people whose lives don’t revolve around the weekend. I don’t know about you, but it’s very rare that I meet a new friend in a bar. It has certainly happened, but I’ve met far more people at activities and events. Most people, including myself, are not so agenda-driven to meet people on a weeknight, which actually works in everyone’s favor when it comes to making genuine connections. Not to mention, you don’t have to deal with some guy drunkenly asking you to dance. Instead, you might beat him mercilessly in a game of trivia.

So what is there to do on a weeknight? Lucky for you, I’ve rounded up things to do + plus specific places to do them in Pittsburgh. Notice none of them say “happy hour.”

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Laugh a Little

You don’t need to spend $50 on a ticket to a comedy show to get some laughs. Open mic comedy shows are often very entertaining and free of any cover! All you have to do is google or facebook search comedy events for your city, and tons will come up. Here are my Pittsburgh recommendations for open mic comedy:

Monday: You Should’ve Been Here Last Week at Hambone’s in Lawrenceville

Tuesday: Comedy Sauce at Pleasure Bar in Bloomfield

Wednesday: Three Women, One Mic Comedy Talk Show at Smoke and Sugar in Bloomfield

Thursday: PGH’s Best Comedy Open Mic at Hambone’s in Lawrenceville

Friday: Comedy on the Rocks at Parkway Theater and Film Lounge in McKees Rocks

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Quiz Yourself

I love trivia, especially with a group because it can bring out some friendly competition. Plus, it’s very easy to meet new friends in a social setting such as this. Search your local bars to find out when their trivia night occurs. Again, here are my favorite Pittsburgh trivia nights!

Monday: Over the Bar Bicycle Cafe in Southside

Tuesday: New Amsterdam in Lawrenceville

Wednesday: Defer Coffee and Tea in the Strip District

Thursday: Mario’s East Side Saloon in Shadyside

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Jam Out

I may be partial on this one, but I don’t think there’s much better than seeing a skilled musician perform their craft before an audience. Seeing a perfect synthesis of expression and skill is captivating, and amazing performances stick with you forever. Not to mention, seeing live music is something you can absolutely do solo. Sometimes, it makes a show even better, because you are fully able to take in a performance without being distracted to socialize. I didn’t use the weekly format like I did for comedy and trivia, because not all performances work like this (so many are every other week), but I strongly encourage you to do your own research in this category, because music tastes vary so greatly!

Banjo Night every Wednesday at the Elks Lodge in Northside

Jazz Conspiracy every other Thursday at the Elks Lodge in Northside (always watch the calendar because they are often booked elsewhere certain dates)

Opera On Tap Pittsburgh at Allegheny Wine Mixer in Lawrenceville every third Tuesday

Jazz at Con Alma Restaurant in Shadyside

I hope this breakdown gives you some inspiration to stop waiting until Friday at 5pm to enjoy your free time. I also hope you start thinking beyond happy hour. I love grabbing a drink with a friend and socializing, but there are SO many unique things to do anywhere you happen to find yourself. Do your own research and try things out! Even if something sucks, at least you know where not to go, and have a story to tell!

All portraits by Neal Noir. Check out his work   here.

All portraits by Neal Noir. Check out his work here.

Here are some scenes from my weekdays last week that I thought I’d share with you! I went to Pleasure Bar Comedy Sauce on Tuesday, Trivia at Defer Coffee and Tea on Wednesday, and took plenty of neighborhood walks!

Brady CollinsComment