Beaux Arts

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Wine, Books & Your Next Apartment

Brian Keyser wakes up each morning to light pouring in through huge windows and a view of the beautiful Allegheny Commons. Doesn’t sound bad, right? Keyser was one of the first to snag one of the historic yet modern units at the brand new Masonic Hall Apartments in the Mexican War Streets. And for a good reason, the apartment makes for a convenient commute for Brian.

Situated two floors down is his new wine & cheese bar, Casellula. Keyser opened the original Caselulla location in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen in 2007. After years of success, Brian wanted to branch out of the New York scene to open another restaurant. At this time, founders of Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum, Henry Reese and Diane Samuels, were looking for someone to bring a restaurant to their new space at Alphabet City. When the deal landed in Brian’s lap, who wasn’t actively looking at Pittsburgh, it seemed like a perfect fit and Casellula @ Alphabet City was born. Joining Casellula in the project is Alphabet City, a bookshop and performance space for that showcases writers seeking asylum from their home lands.

Casellula Cheese Shop now open Casellula Cheese Shop

Living in the Masonic Apartments above his own restaurant has proven to be a wonderful arrangement for Brian thus far. ‘The proximity is amazing. I was about four blocks away from the restaurant in New York and thought that was close. I can literally be in the restaurant in under a minute if I need to be.’ And that’s just one of the perks of the apartment for Keyser. Compared to his NY apartment, his unit at Masonic Hall is easily four times the size and still less in rent. The unit also features incredible original details, soaring windows with park views and parking. More than that, he actually can’t believe that he has a dishwasher and laundry area! In his many years in New York, he says he’s never lived somewhere with those amenities. Crazy right? Don’t take your amenities for granted, Pittsburgher’s! But that’s just the beauty of living in New York City. The apartment that you rent could just be within walking distance of where you need to be. And if you didn’t feel like walking, there are many public transport options that the city provides, like taking the subway to help you get to your destination. What could be better than that? Except for having your apartment and work in the same building of course.

Masonic Hall Kitchen

While having your job and home in the same building is incredibly convenient, sometimes you just need to getaway. And the War Streets are offering up a growing list of neighborhood haunts like the soon to open Pizza Badamo on Federal St, El Burro Taqueria, Commonplace Coffee on Buena Vista and mainstays like the Mattress Factory and Monterey Pub. And the walk to any of these is lined with an incredible stock of swoon-worthy historic row homes.

Monterey Street in Mexican War Streets

So let’s recap. Historic charm, modern finishes. Wine and cheese. Books and performances. The park and historic rowhomes. Ready to move? Us too.

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