There was a time when the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh had some of the hippest dance clubs in town.
From the 1960s through the 1990s, there was the Razzberry Rhino, Lou’s Bar and The Encore to name a few, hosting live bands like DC Fitzgerald, Harold Betters and Frank Capelli. In recent years, however, the Walnut Street scene had seemingly died out.
A new spot called Music and Dance Bar or MAD Bar, as creator TJ Harris prefers to call it, looks set to spark a revival of the area’s dance scene.
Saturday marks the opening night of MAD Bar, a cutting-edge club featuring hip-hop, disco, and reggae among musical genres. The evening is dubbed “Green Beer and Irish Cheer” and runs from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. headlined by Breakbeat DJ and producer Keith McKenzie. There is a $15 entrance fee for the evening.
It is located in the upper section of The Yard Restaurant at 736 Bellefonte St. about 50 feet from Walnut Street.
“The last time we had a place that I think did something comparable to what I do here was The Shadow Lounge (in East Liberty). People like Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa really cut their teeth there,” Harris said. “I hope to create something that will do that again for our community.”
MAD Bar will be open Thursday through Saturday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and will also feature live entertainment.
On Sundays, MAD Bar will be open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will offer Harris hosting what he calls an “audio book club.” He said the aim was to bring technology into the club, including creating online content.
“We’re actually going to do audiobooks, but I’m going to run it through a silent disco headphone system that we have,” Harris said. “So you’ll have one channel dedicated to a book on tape, you’ll have another channel that could be stand-up comedy, and a third channel will probably be music with a live DJ or a pre-recorded set of one. of the events of the past week.
Paul Guggenheimer is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or [email protected]