Johnstown, Pennsylvania is nestled into the Allegheny Highlands in Cambria County. About 21,000 call it home, but located just 41 miles from Altoona and with Pittsburgh only 70 miles to the West, a host of neighbors find their way to Flood City every weekend. Johnstown isn’t only known for its spirit in surviving eight major overflows, it also boasts a culture of art, literature, and music seldom equaled in a community this size.
A recent informal poll of nightlife revelers divulged some intriguing answers to the question, “What’s the best part of a night out in Johnstown?”
· Getting dressed up. This ranked high on the list with gals and guys. In most towns, the code in local hangouts is jeans, sneakers, and team tees for both genders. Not so in Johnstown. Even in the smaller watering holes like Buster’s and The White Pine, you’ll find some good looking men and women, well-dressed, wearing their best scents, and enjoying it. At more trendy establishments (Woodside, Crow’s Nest) nice dresses, some sparkle, and come-do-me heels on the ladies are the norm. Why? Because that’s what makes a night out feel special.
· The food. Dinner before the main event sets the mood, so this feature placed well with all the peeps. If you get started a bit early, the Szechuan and Szechuan East are great stops for killer authentic Chinese. A little later in the evening your choices are upscale restaurants (NyKo’s, City View), or tavern food, even later. Hey, did you say tavern food? It’s the comfort fare of this generation! Who doesn’t love a kitchen open until the wee hours serving up favorites like wings, subs, fried shrimp, and perogies? You can’t beat the warm welcome in TnC’s Lounge, or a noisy shout-out at Hometown Bar & Grill.
· Specialty drinks. Nearly every pub in Cambria County seems to be known for its own unique concoction or offering. Windber Hotel prides itself on the area’s largest beer selection; micro-brews, imports, domestics, and drafts – perfect for the gents. World class martinis at Boulevard Grill are a bit more to the ladies’ liking. And The Alibi’s dangerously coconutty “Franchise” is not to be missed by anyone with warm breath.
· Variety. No matter what your entertainment taste, this town’s got it. Trust VOMA, Bottle Works, and Art Works in Johnstown for cultural offerings. If those events end a bit too early in the evening for you, there’s a bar scene to suit every proclivity from Lucille’s to Sue Bee’s. At other night spots you’ll find acoustic (Russell Wilburn, Scott & Kurt), classic/southern rock (Desperados at Southmont Gardens and Southern Steel), harder-edge (Wyld Syde, Shades of June, Octane), contemporary (Yum, Giants of Science), and DJ/karaoke.
· Breakfast. Ahhh . . . that feeling when your make-up is sliding, your ears are ringing, your eyes are gritty . . . but you’ve had so much fun you just don’t want it to end. That’s the perfect time for breakfast, and you can count on the staples of hot black coffee and pancakes at Denny’s or Eat’n Park. You’ll see plenty of other folks from the clubs there, too. Why get home at 2:00 a.m. when you can get home at 3:00 a.m.?
· Friendly people. This ranked number one as the best aspect of a night out in Johnstown. Expect your dinner waiter to remember your name and recommend an entré that you won’t even find on the menu. The cocktail waitress might compliment what you’re wearing and bring you a refill before your drink is empty. Band members are affable and accessible before the show and on breaks. They take time after the lights come up to shake hands and talk to fans. The crowd is generally quite welcoming, also, making room for you at a table, or pulling you onto the dance floor.
Whether you are a weekend warrior or just weekday weary, by Friday night it is time to get out. So, what makes Johnstown nightlife worth getting off the couch to you?