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At BarSmart, when we drink, we talk. And when we talk, we argue. And when we argue, we laugh at each other. And then we drink some more. And then a bottle breaks and someone falls down the steps. We laugh some more. By the time we clean up the blood, everyone forgets what we were discussing. So we decided to open a General Discussion Forum to stop the bloodshed. This forum is a catch-all area for topics that don't fit in to other categories on the site. Post away...
 

Trying to get out of Oakland

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By: RossoCarne - Dec 16 2009 @ 01:41 PM

Hi all,
I'm a week away from graduating from Pitt's School of Engineering, so during my college time, I didn't have a lot of spare time to actually get out of the Oakland scene. The bars around there are pretty loud, dirty, and fun to a point. But at some point, my wife and I simply can't stand being cooped in that sanctuary.

So I'd like to get out, just have no idea where or how to prepare (sorry for sounding like a bar fetus, just don't want to get embarrassed by someone saying I don't fit dress codes or other things)

So we both love the look of Zen, the idea of Matrix, and the "adventure" of Southside bars. Problem is, I just can't pin down anything hard about the policies and such.

Zen-
What's the actual dress code? I understand that no tennis shoes and all, but that could mean a lot of tings. If I walked in with khakis or jeans and a $15 party shirt would I get turned out? Or do I actually need to pull out the Italian suit from my wedding?
And it's pathetic, but we applied for membership months ago, got a "reviewing" email, but nothing else. Do I not fit their demo? Do they check membership all the time?

Matirx-
Same kinds of questions, but it does seem more appropriate for rowdier people. Again with the "strict" dress code, jeans or suit appropriate?

In a different direction, the one time I did get out of Oakland was Calico Jack's. Honestly, this was probably one of the most disappointing $20 I spent in an evening. It was just plain boring there, no one was dancing, hardly anyone even starting to get drunk, and it was just a bunch of sausages in pods giggling and daring each other to talk to girls. Kinda immature to me. Is this the norm for places that I just need to live with?

Again, sorry if I sound like an infant, or if this is completely off base. Just trying to plan for future weekends away from school =D

 

Replies (1 - 6)

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By: Asshat - Dec 16 2009 @ 11:52 PM

Reply #1 Link

Re Matrix, skip the hats and tennis shoes and any big logo shirts or big white t shirts. (I hope you skip these things on a daily basis anyway.) Just wear jeans & a plain dark t shirt or polo that fits like it's supposed to and shoes that look nice but that it's ok if you get crap spilled on them or stuck to the bottom. Because you will.

Your wife can pretty much wear whatever she wants because she's got boobs. (Yes that sucks, but that's life.)

It's not fancy schmancy or anything, but it's a fun goofy night out IMO, and if you're just there to dance and not trying to hook up you can have a good time with it.

I've been to Zen once (private party) and was so bored I almost fell asleep. The dress code is definitely nicer than Matrix but I'll defer to others on this.

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By: BigAsYou - Dec 17 2009 @ 07:57 AM

Reply #2 Link
RossoCarne wrote:

Hi all,
I'm a week away from graduating from Pitt's School of Engineering, so during my college time, I didn't have a lot of spare time to actually get out of the Oakland scene. The bars around there are pretty loud, dirty, and fun to a point. But at some point, my wife and I simply can't stand being cooped in that sanctuary.

So I'd like to get out, just have no idea where or how to prepare (sorry for sounding like a bar fetus, just don't want to get embarrassed by someone saying I don't fit dress codes or other things)

So we both love the look of Zen, the idea of Matrix, and the "adventure" of Southside bars. Problem is, I just can't pin down anything hard about the policies and such.

Zen-
What's the actual dress code? I understand that no tennis shoes and ...
Quote trimmed, click the up arrow for full text.

Hey this is Pittsburgh and from what I've seen around the clubs about anything goes. Dudes wander in off the street with work boots, plaid lumber-jack type of shirts and ball caps all the time. Wife beater shirts, dirty jeans and tennis shoes appear to be acceptable attire pretty much anywhere as well. Heck, I've even seen guys wearing camouflaged hunting clothes into a club and then wear a whole bottle of whore bath to cover up their funky smell! Lucky for us they didn't bring along their bow, arrows or rifle.

Sad to say this seems to be the trend here in the Burgh. I've only lived here 1 1/2 years but it still amazes me what crap people wear when they go out.

I would recommend wearing casual slacks, dress shirt and shined shoes...just to stand out a bit from the rest of the hordes.

But this is just me...

Edited: Dec 17, 2009 03:53 PM

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By: Hammer - Dec 17 2009 @ 08:21 AM

Reply #3 Link

Matrix - I'd avoid them like the plague. They are on the downhill slide to closure and while that means cheap drinks, it also means that most everyone in the place that is aware that their owner already came " " this close to having the doors locked on him. What that means is that few of them care about your drink service, your security or how clean anything is... Also, if this place holds true to his other closings, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a shooting there soon.

Asked Steve too many questions.
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By: Vaughn - Dec 17 2009 @ 06:34 PM

Reply #4 Link

I couldn't agree more about what was said about Matrix. in addition to the things that Hammer cited, Matrix is owned by Tom Jayson. That alone is enough reason for me to recommend against going to Matrix. In concept, Matrix is a good idea for a dance club, but even in the club's early times (~ 2003) Pittsburgh's nightlife crowd just wasn't diverse enough to support it fully.

As for Zen...I recommend it to you only but only by default and only because it's slightly better of the two places you are considering. To answer your question -- you'll be perfectly fine if you decide to go with khakis or jeans and a $15 party shirt provided you aren't wearing a ball cap and sneakers. I'm not fond of the service at Zen. I find you have to wait a long time for drinks. Most of the bartenders there lack a sense of urgency and drinks are slightly overpriced but that is to be expected at any dance "club" type of venue. The crowd at Zen is a very trendy one. You'll find a veritable plethora of people wearing their finest Ed Hardy or Affliction t-shirts (he said oh so sarcastically). And, yes, the place is full of "sausages in pods giggling and daring each other to talk to girls." I've found that is always the case in dance venues. Many of the people there are a bit too pretentious and generally just try to hard to put on a show rather than have a good time. Again, out of the two places you mentioned, I'd much prefer Zen despite its negatives. And, there is no question that Zen is very pleasing to the eye. You won't leave there feeling the need to bathe like you would after a night at Matrix. Another reason I'm not crazy about Zen is that I feel that the staff there, including the owner, always seemed to be annoyed by the patrons. I never get the sense that anyone there appreciates the customers or the business they get.

Station Square doesn't have any venues I'd highly recommend. Barroom is simply a cleaner version of Matrix and attracts a ghetto crowd. I haven't been Whim. Buckhead has horrible service and the music there isn't always the best for dancing.

If you are not married to the idea of going to Station Square, and it's a dance venue you and your wife prefer, you might want to try a place like Elixir located over on the South Side. Good service, good crowd, never a cover charge to get in but like most places, has a dress code, but again you'll be fine wearing what you plan to wear as long as you don't also wear sneakers and/or a ballcap. I frequent Elixir quite a bit and and it's probably one of my favorite places. Another place I can recommend is Firehouse Lounge in the Strip District, but I haven't been there in a while. Last I was there, the service was very good, the atmosphere was a good vibe and overall a very good place.

Big As You's description of Pittsburgh nightlife is pretty much spot-on. I'm nearly 37 and at least as far as I can recall, this is the first time that Pittsburgh doesn't have an all out classy, fun, upscale venue to experience. Most of the dance clubs right now are cut from the same cloth in terms of bad service, meathead club-goers, etc.

By the way, congratulations on your upcoming graduation. Hopefully you decide to drop anchor in our great city. It's always a shame to me that so many young people move out of Pittsburgh when it's such a great place to live.

Edited: Dec 17, 2009 06:52 PM

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By: Asshat - Dec 17 2009 @ 11:40 PM

Reply #5 Link

I was just going to suggest Firehouse.

Second on Buckhead's being awful, awful, awful.

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By: BRANMAN - Dec 19 2009 @ 03:43 PM

Reply #6 Link
Hammer wrote:

Matrix - I'd avoid them like the plague. They are on the downhill slide to closure and while that means cheap drinks, it also means that most everyone in the place that is aware that their owner already came " " this close to having the doors locked on him. What that means is that few of them care about your drink service, your security or how clean anything is... Also, if this place holds true to his other closings, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a shooting there soon.

Hammer I dont care what u think of tom thats your right. But as long as i ran matrix we will have good service security and good djs . 7 years for a nightclub in this town is a good run. merry xmas to u thanks Archie

 
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