As an event coordinator for Hello Productions in Pittsburgh, I have seen my share of wedding and event venues. From grand ballrooms to rustic barns to totally unique spaces like the Pittsburgh Opera House, there is no shortage of amazing spots to host your special event in this city. However, when I stumbled upon PointBreezeway in Pittsburgh's East End, I knew I had found a unique venue that I would be thrilled to introduce to my event clients. Long before it's walls were bursting with excited party and wedding guests, PointBreezeway was home to a myriad of other shops and businesses. Dating back to the 1880s, PointBreezeway has served as a utility barn, confectionary, tavern / speakeasy (how cool is that), tea room, and community gathering place. It's now one of the city's most unique venues for hosting rehearsal dinners, showers, intimate weddings, office parties, workshops, and anything else that calls for simple touches and homestyle comforts.
Upon visiting PointBreezeway, I was instantly impressed with the extra little amenities that are offered to clients (mason jars to use in decorating - how cute). Even better, PointBreezeways' Lauren is just as charming as the event space itself. She welcomed me in, gave me the PointBreezeway history lesson, and toured me through the various rooms and outdoor space. As an avid lover of dogs, of course I instantly fell in love with Riley, the official pup of PointBreezeway (I mean look at that face)! PointBreezeway just celebrated it's one year anniversary and I am so honored to help share their story. Read on to learn more about Lauren and Riley, PointBreezeway, and their plans for the future.
To host your next event at PointBreezeway, please visit their website - http://www.pointbreezeway.com / A special thank you to Amy Cap Photography for the wonderful photos - http://www.amycapphotography.com
1. Tell us the PointBreezeway story.
The now PointBreezeway has been an idea since I was little! I grew up in just a sliver of the building with my dad. We moved here in 1990. My dad eventually bought the entire building in 2000…and that is where our story begins. My dad, Dennis, saw great potential in the old house, which led him to begin construction of the downstairs. Walls were knocked down and French Doors were installed creating that bright and beautiful façade. The original plan for the space was to become a café but that never came to be. For years, the space was a revolving door for renters such as artists and boutique owners. As great as it was to have the space used, it remained unfinished and the rentals did not allow for the house to make enough money.
Fast forward to January of 2014. My dad wants to sell the house! Ever since I was little I’ve been amazed by this house, my dad's dream, and the natural potential that it had. I used to write to Ellen and Oprah asking them to help us finish our space….I’m still waiting for a response. Naturally, I couldn’t let my dad sell the house that has meant so much to me and us for all this time.
I started taking classes at Chatham for Women’s Entrepreneurship, hired a contractor, started an LLC, secured an SBA loan and within 6 months….PointBreezeway was born. We had our opening day on July 20, 2014 and we haven’t looked back since.
2. Tell us a little bit about the history of PointBreezeway.
The building was born circa 1880 as a small utility barn. Over the years it expanded from utility barn to confectionary, a family home, a tavern (then speakeasy) and a Tea Room! If those walls could talk. PointBreezeway has been a gathering spot since the 20’s. We intend to keep it that way!
3. With so many great event venues in Pittsburgh, what makes yours unique?
Yes, there are some amazing venues out there…but nothing like this. Right near Frick Park and 10 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh sits this charming, historic and magical little place. You’d never know you’re in the city. Urban Cottage! Not only do we have a fantastic outdoor space…our indoor venue has been a gathering spot for almost 100 years!
4. If someone books an event at PointBreezeway, what is included with that booking?
For events such as showers, rehearsal dinners, etc... we include a mix of indoor/outdoor seating for up to 75 guests, a white peak tent over the patio with cocktail tables and a serving table, mason jars or milk glass for flowers (we even offer to do the flowers), wireless speakers/music and a PointBreezeway Host to assist with setup, breakdown and cleanup. For weddings, we offer all of the above as well as a private suite to get ready, a longer block of time and a staff member for the entire event. There’s even an option to Rent the Barn which includes extra time, an overnight stay and breakfast! We also allow guests to use the caterer or restaurant of their choice or they may bring in their own food/BYOB. My dad, Papa PointBreezeway, is an officiant and is doing a couple of our weddings this fall.
5. I love the idea of smaller, more intimate wedding receptions – what do you see as the benefits of a smaller wedding?
Smaller weddings are where it’s at! PointBreezeway is the perfect spot for a more intimate gathering. Guests can enjoy the entire venue without feeling apart. The flow is fantastic. Smaller weddings allow couples to spend their budget on the aspects of the wedding that mean the most to them. In my humble opinion, a wedding of about 50 guests is ideal. Very family-style.
6. Hosting so many great parties, do you see any trends / things that people consistently ask for?
There’s something I’ve picked up on over the past year. People...love...casual. PointBreezeway offers the perfect setting to have a casual and homey event that just happens to be served with a side of romance, history and charm! It’s the ideal combination. The feel of the event is what they’re after…and you need the right place that can naturally bring people together in that way.
7. What are the goals for the venue in the months / years to come?
So many goals! My first area of concentration is the patio. We hope to launch a campaign to help support the PointBreezeway Patio Project. This improvement will allow us to have professional and efficient coverage for the patio. We will also build a deck over a part of the patio that is currently unused. This takes a patio that can currently seat maybe 15 guests (weather pending) to a patio that can seat 30-40. That’s huge for a small business!
Also, a really exciting part of this project is how it will set us up for the future of PointBreezeway. The coverage that we plan to build over the patio is going to act as the floor of the deck for the second floor of the house! We want to have the only birds-eye view of Frick Park in a residential neighborhood! The overlook and the patio improvements will give us an additional area to offer to events and will allow us to market our business in a new and exciting way.
Meet Lauren: Entrepreneur, business-owner, and proud Pittsburgher!
1. What did you go to school for and what were you doing before PointBreezeway?
I actually went to school for legal studies, haha. Prior to PointBreezeway I was working as an assistant manger for Brighton in Ross Park Mall.
2. Part of why I started Yes, Wear That! was to showcase entrepreneurs and small business owners in the city - I love seeing people pursuing their true passions! What advice do you have for anyone considering starting a business of their own?
Get ready! It’s the best thing in the world. Stress can become your closest friend. Good stresses and bad. Get yourself healthy both physically and mentally!
Also, at some point…you will have to be ready to jump…and jump again.
And one more thing…don’t listen to everyone….just listen enough.
3. I know you had your own wedding at PointBreezeway, what was that like to be able to get married in a spot that has so much personal meaning?
I absolutely loved everything about my wedding and I think that’s why it’s so easy for me to market the space as this deliciously wonderful wedding venue. I know first hand how special it is. To this day my family and friends tell me how awesome our wedding was.
4. What do you love about Pittsburgh and what do you enjoy doing in your spare time in the city?
Pittsburgh and PointBreezeway have a lot in common: homey, always developing and full of detours! Pittsburgh was a fantastic place to grow up and remains a fantastic place to grow. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I love the direction our city is going and I’m proud to be a small business owner in this town. The support from other businesses, neighborhoods and the people of the burgh is above any other.
Spare time = Arsenal Lanes, Row House Cinema/Hollywood theater, Breweries and discovering new businesses.
Thank you again Lauren for opening up your wonderful venue to the Yes, Wear That! readers.
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