A Squared: A Weekend In Erie: Out & About

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Weekend In Erie: Out & About

This is my second recap post from our visit to Erie, PA.  It may not be a city on the top of my US Must Visit list, but it was fun to explore a new city and spend time with old friends.  I've actually been to Erie once before-- back in college I came to visit Liz (the bride) during our summer break.  Although it was sunny and warmer than expected during our visit this time around it was still a little chilly, so we couldn't visit the Presque Isle State Beach. I remember visiting during my first trip to Erie and it's beautiful-- a trip worth making along with a visit to the wineries in North East, PA just a short drive from downtown.  Maybe next time!

On our first day in Erie we grabbed a quick lunch at a bar that was near our hotel called the Sloppy Duck Saloon.  The food was good, but not super memorable. The bar, however, is right on the water with a nice view of the bay and I can imagine it would be great to have cocktails on their outdoor deck in the summer. Also-- and this was the highlight of our visit-- there is a pond in front of the restaurant with actual ducklings in it. So cute!

In order to maximize our limited time in Erie (and possibly as a nod to our hard drinking college pasts), Alex, Liz, and I decided to go on an informal downtown Erie bar crawl.

I can't even remember the name of the first bar we stopped into-- as soon as we walked in I was hit with a cloud of cigarette smoke so we made an immediate exit. I've been spoiled by smoke-free bars for so long that I totally forgot what it felt like to sit in a smokey bar!

Our next stop was a smoke-free (yay!) Irish pub called Molly Brannigan's. A few observations that we made during this visit: Cocktails are REALLY cheap.  This was one of the cheapest nights out that we have experienced in a while. Also, Erie bars and restaurants love a soft pretzel. They're on almost every menu. We snacked on the soft pretzel sticks served with beer cheese sauce at Molly's.
Molly Brannigan's on Urbanspoon
Anne & Liz in their natural habitat

We really found our niche at the next bar: the U Pick 6 Tap House.  It was super crowded when we stopped in on a Friday evening so we figured it must be a local favorite (which the bride and her sister both confirmed).  They have an amazing beer selection-- lots of obscure local and foreign brews and a cool rotating selection that they keep on tap.

After a round at the Tap House we decided to leave and try another downtown bar called Jekyll & Hyde's that Yelp users described as "hipster," so we assumed we'd find fun cocktails and great dinner.  We sat down, looked around, and returned to the Tap House about 10 minutes later where we happily ended our night out. It was neither "hipster," nor our scene.

The Tap House has a good selection of bar food: sandwiches, salads, and pizzas. Alex got a really good looking carbonara-style pizza that must have been good because he finished the entire thing.
A little tired of our female conversation

And speaking of pizza, the Tap House serves pizza muffins. Pizza muffins. Enough said. I was so happy that we decided to come back here because I saw a few baskets of these go by during our first visit and decided I needed to try them. They are essentially seasoned pizza dough stuffed with cheese, pepperoni, etc. and baked in muffin cups.  They serve them warm with pizza sauce for dipping. They're like garlic knots kicked up a notch. If you end up at the Tap House order these and thank me later.
U Pick 6 Tap House on Urbanspoon

The infamous pizza muffins.

Some other scenes from our "tour" of downtown: Liz posing in front of the Erie Art Museum and a nicely restored building that I thought was really adorable:

We decided to meet up for brunch the next morning before getting ready for the wedding and I consulted my trusty friends at Yelp! for some recommendations.  The Yelpers didn't let us down. We went to the Summer House Cafe, a cute little casual restaurant with friendly service and reasonable prices. And the food was really good. I tried these Eggs Ala Dante-- poached eggs served on toasted crostini with marinara sauce, Parmesan, and Italian sausage.
The Summer House Cafe on Urbanspoon

On our last morning in Erie we decided we needed to do one touristy thing before we departed. Alex saw the Bicentennial Tower as soon as we pulled into the driveway to our hotel and decided then that he wanted to climb it. Since it was next door, Liz and I humored him on Sunday morning.  Dobbin's Landing is touristy area consisting of a wharf where locals always seem to be fishing, a few bars, an old fashioned river boat, and, of course, the Tower.  It wasn't a very nice morning, but our trip to Dobbin's Landing and up the tower was a fun way to cap off our visit to Erie.

Unfortunately, visitors are no longer allowed to climb the stairs to the top of the tower so we took an elevator up instead. It was windy, but the views of Erie and Lake Erie were impressive-- and they made for great photo opps!  Definitely worth the $3 admission price.

Alex and me in front of Lake Erie
Liz and me-- windblown-- with Erie, PA in the background
Someone wanted to feed the ducks

And while our fun in Erie was over shortly after our visit to Dobbin's Landing, Alex and I were flying home out of Buffalo so we had one last touristy stop to make before we departed for the Midwest.  Alex loves nothing more than a good buffalo wing, so what better to do with a few hours to kill in Buffalo than stop for some famous wings?  After polling various friends from the area and also quizzing the guy at the rental car desk about where to go, we ended up at Duff's Wings.  The consensus seems to be that while Anchor Bar claims to have invented the buffalo wing, Duff's perfected it.  I'm not a big fan of wings, but my husband sure seemed to enjoy them!
Duff's Sheridan Patio on Urbanspoon
The wing connoisseur himself


  1. You have shared your experience in Erie, United State. Your shard photographs are nice. I went there with my friends after my tour to niagra falls american side. You are right Anne, that we can view the nearest destinations from Bicentennial Tower. Moreover It has many amenities like swimming pool, laundry room and fitness center on each floor.

  2. I just happened on your blog. My hometown is in Erie but have resided in Chicago the last 15 years. ;) It was nice seeing an outsiders view of Erie and that maybe instead of dreading my family trips back home I should appreciate how cheap it is to go to Dobbins landing and check out some of the bars. ;) Thanks for the pics. I am homesick now.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, April-- and what a small world! I am still baffled by just how cheap it was to eat and drink in Erie!

  3. The Sloppy Duck Saloon is awesome and you can't miss the Bicentennial Tower! We got an apartment off of Erie Vacation Rentals which turned out to be awesome!

  4. You had such an exciting trip! Thanks for sharing your happy emotions with us! Have you ever thought about traveling as a way not only to relax, but also to help other people? I've recently read an article written by Agatha Singer (you may read it here) and now can't stop thinking about this opportunity. How do you think, is it worth trying?


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