Posted by: Sally Ingraham | February 4, 2014

‘Drunkwalking’ in Lawrenceville

Last month LE and I went to a lecture presented by the Lawrenceville Historical Society which was held at a local nursing home. While the residents played a rousing game of bingo, the best turnout ever for an LHS lecture gathered upstairs. Close to 100 people were interested in hearing local writer/blogger Adam Eisenstat talk about their neighborhood and share his photographs. He had some relatively interesting stories and pictures, but my takeaway from the event was the concept of the ‘drunkwalk’, which Eisenstat claimed to have perfected.

A ‘drunkwalk’ is an exploratory walk around a neighborhood, with frequent stops into bars and pubs for much needed refreshment. Upon hearing this, LE and I turned to each other and shared a silent eureka! moment – we have been drunkwalkers for years, we just didn’t know it. I would be prepared to call myself a professional drunkwalker, in fact. And unlike Eisenstat, I don’t reserve this activity for pleasant weather only. I’ve been known to go in the rain, in freezing temps, come-what-may. I am a hardcore drunkwalker.

In fact I went drunkwalking yesterday, in a snowstorm. I left my house around 11 and walked down Butler St to Central Lawrenceville, wrote a couple of letters in Kickback Pinball Cafe while sipping a mocha, then went across the street to Hambone’s Pub. The one o’clock hour had chimed, so I wrote a few more letters while drinking several beers (notably, Southern Tier’s Old Man Winter) and eavesdropping on Shorty – an ancient fellow who is always hanging out in the corner, chatting with the bartenders.

Along 40th Street in Lawrenceville, Feb 3rd 2014

From 40th St, looking up the tracks toward Upper Lawrenceville and beyond

Southern Tier’s brews will put some pep in your step, so I found myself lightheartedly flirting with the postman in Lawrenceville’s tiny post office, before splashing through an icy pothole-filled alley and then sliding down the riverbank to check out the situation on the Allegheny. During the arctic temps of last week, the river was more-or-less frozen, but yesterday there were just ice rafts flowing energetically down to meet the Ohio River.

Washington Crossing Bridge, Feb 3rd 2014

Washington Crossing Bridge at 40th St

33rd Street Railroad Bridge and view of Downtown, Feb 3rd 2014

Looking downriver toward the 33rd St Railroad Bridge and downtown

I love this little guy! - Feb 3rd 2014

A favorite river guardian

Feb 3rd 2014

Fancy boats, waiting for spring

Feb 3rd 2014

A slightly more ferocious river guardian

Washington Crossing Bridge, Feb 3rd 2014

The river probably looked similar to this when Washington nearly drowned in it that one time…

My drunkwalk ended at Remedy, back up by my place, around 4. An evening with friends and good food followed, which should conclude any day spent drunkwalking, I’d say. I went home almost 12 hours after I’d left, a borrowed copy of Master and Margarita tucked under my arm (I have some pretty cool friends!) and fell into bed, classically tired but happy.

If you’re interested in reading about some of Adam Eisenstat’s Pittsburgh adventures, check out his blog. I especially like his post about the East Busway, something I’d like to explore myself.

Today’s drunkwalk is planned for this afternoon, with LE in tow, and we will be heading to the neighborhood of Oakland to check out the main Carnegie Library, perhaps the excellent used bookstore there as well, and probably the Union Bar and Grill, where you can get many delicious 18 oz. beers.

Whether you care to call them drunkwalks or not, happy exploring via foot in your corners of the world!


  1. I once heard someone refer to that book as The Master and the Margarita, which somehow sounds appropriate for this post. Good thing you didn’t wind up with a copy of The Lost Weekend!

    • Haha, true enough…!

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