Believe it or not but the Mahoning Valley has one of the largest beer and wine distributors in the entire world and it’s located on South Ave in Boardman.
We want to thank Youngstown Nation for allowing us to share the content below. This is the last of four installments from the original, “50 Things to do in Youngstown.” Part four is dedicated to FUN. Youngstown is filled with a variety of entertainment options – check out some of Defend Youngstown’s favorites below!
On New Years Eve: First Night events are held by many communities throughout the nation. They feature family-friendly entertainment with a focus on the arts. First Night Youngstown is held in the downtown area and features many venues, acts and activities. Some of the more popular ones are horse-drawn carriage rides, ice skating at the Covelli Centre and two separate fireworks displays. Even if you don’t have a family to shuffle around, it’s still a nice event to check out and pairs well downtown’s nightlife that night.
The Covelli Centre is the area’s premier entertainment venue and convocation center. Built in 2004 and located in downtown Youngstown on the former site of Republic Steel, Covelli is home to the Youngstown Phantoms amateur hockey team (which has sent a number of players to the NHL over the years) as well as some pretty big shows (ex. Elton John kicked off his 2014 U.S. tour here). For those who like a cold brew, a fun annual event is Youngstown Beerfest which attracts thousands from the region and features over 100 different breweries pouring over 300 different beers. For family fun in the summer, the center hosts a free outdoor movie series each Monday evening on the front lawn. There’s something for everyone at Covelli.
Youngstown loves sports. It really loves football. And YSU is the home team. YSU football has a storied tradition, producing NFL greats such as Ron Jaworski and Jeff Wilkins as well as elite coaching talent such as Jim Tressel who won 4 national championships in the 1990s (not to mention one at Ohio State in 2002). Home games are played on campus at Stamabugh Stadium and tailgating is an event in and of itself. (YSU is consistently recognized as having the best tailgating in all of FCS football). The best regular season game to catch each year is the annual homecoming game in which many alumni, friends and family return to Youngstown to reunite. The festivities include a parade on 5th Ave which passes by the tailgating lots and the stadium. Because the Youngstown area is a relatively smaller one, YSU games have an atmosphere something like that of a huge high school football game but with top level college talent. It makes for a fun experience. Grab your ‘Pete-On-A-Stick (ask a tailgater) and head to Stambaugh Stadium in the fall for this annual tradition.
Since 1975, Cedars has served as a hub for Youngstown’s independent music scene. The bar and music venue (and one-time restaurant) was founded by Tommy Simon whose daughter, Mara, took over operations in 2008. It was a staple of downtown for many years, however, moved to a new space on Steel Steel in 2013. Cedars West End (as it’s now known) is a great place to experience some of the area’s best independent music as well as other bands passing through the region (particularly from Pittsburgh and Cleveland). The staff are all longtime regulars who know their clientele, the city and what’s hip. In addition to quality entertainment, cover charges are cheap and the drink selection is pretty solid. Catch a show at Cedars for a sample of Youngstown’s best local musical talent.
When it comes to recreation, there are few things more Rust Belt than bowling. The oldest bowling alleys in the nation are in Milwaukee and Detroit and the Professional Bowling Association was founded in Akron. During the height of the industrial age when the middle class was strong, bowling was a fun and affordable year-round activity for co-workers and their families. At one point, Youngstown had 14 bowling alleys but now only has two within the city limits. However, both are really cool. Mahoning Valley Lanes is a popular spot and features award-winning specialty grub such as pierogi pizza which fuses two of the best ethnic foods into one delicious meal. Just down the street is West Side Lanes which opened in 1947 and offers great deals on games.
Believe it or not but the Mahoning Valley has one of the largest beer and wine distributors in the entire world and it’s located on South Ave in Boardman. With over 1,100 craft beer and 1,000 wines (and counting), Vintage Estate has just about everything you could possibly want when it comes to a quality adult beverage. Owner Phil Reda took a chance and opened the business after his cell phone company was bought out by AT&T in 2008 (he also opened a full-service restaurant just a little down the road in 2012). In addition to bottle purchases, Vintage offers a tasting room, flat bread pizzas and an all-around great atmosphere for the curious to the aficionado. Check out this video on the place:
Craft beers have been all the rage in cities and communities across the nation and Youngstown has not missed out on the trend. Once upon a time (specifically before prohibition), Youngstown had over a half-dozen local breweries. Today, there’s pretty much just one…but it’s good. The Rust Belt Brewing Company was founded in 2008 by Youngstown police officer Ken Blair. Since then, the company has continued to expand not only its beer offerings but also its distribution (multiple states). The beer is brewed at the B&O Station, uses tap water from the city and takes pride in its no-filter brewing method which leaves a ‘rusty’ sediment for good measure. In fact, everything about the company screams Rust Belt: from the various beer names (i.e. Coke Oven Stout, Blast Furnace Blonde Ale, Rusted River Irish Red) to the company logo itself (a metal-stamped font). Even the tap handles are made out of scrap metal. Grabbing a cold one at the downtown Rust Belt Tap House is the best way to sample a ‘Rust Belt’ and to celebrate the completion of this list. So, head there for a cold one and raise a pint in toast to the great city of Youngstown!
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