Retro video game-themed pop up bar comes to Pittsburgh’s Market Square
Level Up, a retro video game-themed pop up bar, has appeared in Pittsburgh’s Market Square.
It’s designed by Pittsburgh-based MW Hospitality with inspiration from arcade classics such as Donkey Kong, Mario Kart, Mortal Kombat and Super Mario Bros.
“It’s pretty fun and stimulating,” said MW Hospitality beverage coordinator Shane Wilps of Mt. Washington. “I’m lucky because every month or two my whole entire work environment changes. It’s a cool project that I’m happy I got to be involved with.”
The site was a “Game of Thrones” themed pop-up bar in April called Bar of Thrones.
Level Up is located downtown at 268 Forbes Ave.
Its food and drinks are named after video game characters.
Eats include stuffed goombas (mushrooms) and boneless wings called Yoshi nuggets. Drinks include Princess Peach Bellini, Prosecco and peach puree; and One Up, tequila with chamomile and lime.
The bar boasts a wide selection of video games free for customers to play. It also hosts tournaments on select Sundays.
A portion of tournament proceeds go toward Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, a nationally recognized charity that provides youth mentoring.
“We change the charity with every single concept we do,” Wilips said. “It was a no brainer (to select this one). It’s a way to help connect mentors with the young, and I think (gaming) is a cool avenue to do that. It’s a really good cause.”
Wilips also called it a “happy coincidence” Level Up opened prior to Mushroom Rally coming to Pittsburgh.
The rally is a life-size Super Mario Kart racing center. The video game was first introduced by Nintendo in 1992.
Races begin in Pittsburgh Sept. 28 and take place on a track, not city streets. Participants are encouraged to dress up as their favorite characters.
Racers must be at least 14 years old, between 4-feet-7-inches and 6-feet-7-inches tall and weigh under 300 pounds.
More information about the races is available at mushroomrally.com.
The bar is expected to close July 20, so it won’t be open during race days.
“I thought it would be cool to tie into what they’re doing,” Wilips said. “We kind of knew they were coming. Retro gaming is big right now. The timing seemed right. It looked really cool and a good event that they’re putting on with the four days of racing. I think we were trying to work with them and capitalize on the fact that that’s going on, so, happy coincidence.”
Level Up hours of operation are 4 p.m. to midnight Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, closed Monday and Tuesdays.
More information is available on its Facebook page, Pop Up PGH.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .