Migration Fest: Meat Mead Metal shows you around Pittsburgh

Everyone still thinks there are steel mills in Pittsburgh. And the rivers are brown. And you can’t breathe the air. Not even close, friends. This is a city on the rise and has been for a few years, and there is a lot of fun things to do around here in your hours where you’re not being devastated by metal.

We put a few features together about what you might want to do while you’re here for Migration Fest. Two things: First, I didn’t add lodging. You should have done that by now. Second, don’t go to fucking Primanti’s. Every asshole in town will be like, “You gotta go dahn Primanti’s,” but that’s because most of these people haven’t traveled past Sea World. Primanti’s is shit. I’m embarrassed we are known for that place. Fuck it. But we have a lot of cool things going on, and this city is great, so here are a few things. Also, this is not a comprehensive list of everything. Just some stuff I think you might find fun. I’m also going to keep this concentrated on the area near the festival (Millvale, Lawrenceville, Bloomfield) and not throughout the entire city. We’d be here all day.

Also, quick note about transportation: If you’re driving, you should be able to find parking in Millvale. It might be tight, though. Your best bet is to use Lyft or Uber. Local taxi service is a joke, and the light rail doesn’t reach out to this end of town.

Finally, while you’re reading this, totally listen to this Migration Fest mix made up by Josh Thieler of Slaves BC, who will melt your faces off Thursday night at the pre-show: https://open.spotify.com/user/127110886/playlist/2y7ePxzeRB8aIGxQDREYGk?si=gU_0KImrTQ2pBPrqKIIXpQ#_=_


Attic Record Store: This is a few-minute walk from Mr. Smalls, and you could spend all day in there. There are a ton of new vinyl loaded in the front and a practical library in the back of new and used vinyl. There’s a decent metal section on the display shelf in the back. Just ask. Someone in their ridiculously friendly staff will help you find it.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/3k9XheBJBsq

Juke Records: This store evolved out of Soundcat Records (RIP Karl Hendricks) and is located in the Bloomfield section of Pittsburgh. Lots of indie rock, jazz, and classic rock, though you can find some metal, punk, and hardcore records amid their collection. They also have a really healthy used vinyl section.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/fSyCbAixfcw

Eide’s Entertainment: Located in the Strip District right next to downtown Pittsburgh, this four-story shop is another you could be in all day. Comics and toys on the basement and ground level floors; used records and DVDs on the second floor; new vinyl and CDs on the top level. Pretty much every time I’m there, they’re playing fucking bad blues rock, but the selection makes the torture worth it.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/qHs5DGoovao

Cruel Noise: Located in Polish Hill section of Pittsburgh, Cruel Noise has a slew of used metal, hardcore, punk, and indie rock records, as well as a decent section of new vinyl, cassettes, T-shirts, and whatnot. Almost every time I go, I find something awesome I never thought I’d find. Also, sometimes the owner’s cool dog is there. Definitely scratch the pup on the ears.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/3jVB78tCzZo

Others: Get Hip Inc. (North Side), Jerry’s Records (Squirrel Hill), Dave’s Music Mine (South Side), Skull Records (Allentown)



Like every city, we’ve got a lot. These are some good ones.

Grist House: One of two breweries in easy walking distance from Mr. Smalls, they have a menu of beers that are very drinkable and range between 4 and 8% ABV typically. Laid-back and cool hangout spot.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/QD3qqQdAEMU2

Strange Roots Experimental Ales: Formerly known as Drai Laag, this brewery changed their path very recently, concentrating on mostly on sour ales and interesting brewing techniques to come up with brews that are pretty different. Also, they have a nice dining menu. Short walk from Mr. Smalls.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/vREmsHMdXyN2

Roundabout Brewery: Located in Lawrenceville, right across the river from Millvale, this small brewery is owned by a husband-wife team and always come up with new concoctions throughout the year. You can get a 12 oz or 16 oz pour in their taproom, and they have a limited food menu. Fun place run by people who love beermaking.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/FrC5wZD1Krt

East End Brewing Taproom: East End was up and making their craft brews long before the trend became such a huge thing. They have two locations, but this one is the closest to Mr. Smalls. You can get a pint, a growler filled, or a fleet of beers that have become local favorites.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/6D1A9v184PU2

Full Pint Wild Side Pub: Full Pint’s actual brewery is in North Versailles Twp., but this brew pub features their tremendous beers in a dark, ambient bar setting. They have some of the better beers in Pittsburgh, and if they have it on tap, definitely get the Rye Rebellion. It’s dark, tasty, and potent.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/5qdjZSpyvsm

Others: Southern Tier (North Shore), Dancing Gnome (O’Hara Twp.), Arsenal Cider House and Wine Cellar (Lawrenceville), Penn Brewery (North Side), Threadbare Cider House (Troy Hill), Allegheny Wine Mixer (Lawrenceville)



I’ll keep these to the names and location, broken down by style of food. We like these places a lot, and maybe you will too. These are a little more spread out over the city, but Pittsburgh’s not too big of a place. Also, many of these places have bars and serve alcohol. A quick Google search will help.


Traditional American:

Nova Café (hoagies, hot dogs, deli sandwiches)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/meLyygq659T2

Millvale Diner (name says it all, and it’s right down the street from the venue)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/kntRFkMjGHG2

Franktuary (all kinds of hot dogs, veggies options, and beware one of the potential toppings is tarantula!)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/RCmdoLNGd852

Industry Public House (great beer selection, American-style food)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/DaW9CbTygnE2



DeMore’s Pizzeria

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/UDDHu4kjjxs

Caliente (excellent beer menu)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/zQv6RDSHLAw

Driftwood Oven

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/HjcSs2HnAC72

Alida’s Woodfire Cucina

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/A939FamijY22

Spak Brothers Pizza (also contains a nice selection of vegetarian and vegan options)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/xEHRQA95q5C2



China House

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/5wtVDEBUwgn

Zen Asian Diner

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/x1TCoEpUoTM2

China Lin

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/gigbbB1VH312

Umami (specializes in Japanese street foods)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/mhtWTQYE91B2

Feng Japanese Steakhouse

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/UdwWKeSH1Py

Ginza Japan

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/LgJjYsVoYCw

Pusadee’s Garden (Thai)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/oRJSznWhw2p

Hug Thai Restaurant

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/GPvBemU1yQw

Thai Gourmet

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/67Q5RP1VK8r

Pad Thai

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/47DkAmVi6Ut

Tram’s Kitchen (Vietnamese)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/KtqSt1cybfu

Pho Minh

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/4vGrkLob6K42



Piccolo Forno

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/9CXsQxeeQAB2

Senti Restaurant

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/fPh7ew4Nujv

Alida’s Woodfire Cucina

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/A939FamijY22


Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Ab4w97Zqyq62



Taste of India

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/KcEkNSGzzi52

People’s Indian Restaurant

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/45XLcGZxbQz



El Burro

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/9pi7xt98y3k

Baby Loves Tacos

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/3kJUzRjAhsR2

Round Corner Cantina

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/qKEcWbj6J712

Smoke BBQ Taqueria

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MULJP2KGogu

Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/8MDpY2ZX4wp



B52 Café (mix of American and Mediterranean with vegetarian options)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/gKtHmSKc42P2

Cure (Mediterranean with local ingredients)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/csALhSXsLjQ2

Pastitsio (Greek)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/EkoTv5ZbA5B2


Middle Eastern:

Salim’s Middle Eastern Food

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/zGvYRVmqg6n


Location: https://goo.gl/maps/5RaX43KwYc42



Almost all places have vegetarian options, but here are some better vegetarian/vegan stops.

Onion Maiden

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/DBhWxfiwW1U2


Location: https://goo.gl/maps/WPAoE1meHks

Milky Way

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/6bPf2PtqeiH2

The Zenith

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MpgNwz1kpBk


Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MT5JydEbtLx

Kaibur Coffee: (bottom floor in same building as Cruel Noise)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Wzae9pETKEx



Gluten-Free Goat Bakery and Cafe

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/A3brxWrsmK12



Midtown Tavern

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/vnUSW3ngXxt

Pamela’s (local chain … I think it’s really overrated, but tons of people disagree with me)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/56D4TY7FCQG2

Coca Café (known for breakfasts but also serve lunch and small-plate dinners)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/FkKJwsX3oDq

Geppetto Café

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/QKXkja2RsnQ2

Barb’s Corner Kitchen

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/PLE9cRDfvFR2



Crazy Cones of Millvale

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/e7tSjuR7qZo

Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/tavaB1282to

Yetter’s Candy

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/2eqM48QpJsx

The Butterwood Bake Consortium

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/cLiDYuc9FGM2

La Gourmandine (French pastries and other baked goods)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/ss5Cpes17Tx

Twisters Ice Cream

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/PCaQGm3dV2y

Bella Christie and Lil Z’s Sweet Boutique

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/PCaQGm3dV2y

NatuRoll Creamery (ice cream made with Thai technique of rolling batter)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/L9aWdGikr4x



Black Forge (it’s a little out of the way from the venue, but it is THE metal coffee shop of Pittsburgh)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/5FocNpHbBLF2

The Abbey (also good beer selection and is open for all meals)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/rMJcoWF9siz

Constellation Coffee

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/obfi76DmtYr

The Commonplace Coffee House

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/obfi76DmtYr

Tupelo Honey (tea)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/T9kUCD7xNhr

Espresso a Mano

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/7Xz8yFE1GSR2

Zeke’s Coffee

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/QWTEF3nQDry

Coffee Tree Roasters

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/xTbBbHpMrUH2

Nicholas’ Coffee

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/PqP5PEHru8y



Millvale Riverfront Park (hiking and biking trails)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/UBnUbyiz6b32

Bloomfield Park

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MbxtruPTvmL2

Arsenal Bowling Lanes

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/jHvKDP4UFq32

Millvale Bowling Lanes

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/3Kw7JNTXbc52

Lumberjaxes Axe Throwing

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/bJnp4xsruJG2