Diesel Club Lounge Revs Up Pittsburgh’s Nightlife SceneDecember 23, 2010 By: Alissa Ponchione
When people think of Pittsburgh they don’t often associate the steel city with a burgeoning or successful nightclub scene. However, they would certainly would be missing out on one of the hidden gems amidst all the blue collar and college bars in Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood: Diesel Club Lounge.
The club has been a fixture in Pittsburgh for the past five years, and while other nightclubs in the area seemingly close and re-open under a new name or new ownership every six months or so, Diesel remains a go-to destination for young Pittsburgh city dwellers looking to celebrate a big occasion or just switch up their normal weekend routine.
Owners and brothers Mike and Adam DeSimone, renovated and upgraded the the 7,600 square foot space last April, elevating Diesel from just another club in a mid-sized city, to a thriving venue that I'd heard now ranks right in among some of the best clubs in nightlife.
Hearing of the renovation and being a Pennsylva native, I traveled to the city one Saturday night in December to check out Diesel for myself. Could a P-burgh club hold a candle to those I'd experienced in Vegas? Though I cover nightlife, I claim to not be a “club kid,” but Diesel swayed my opinion about nightclubs in general and the Pittsburgh scene in particular.
The club was packed at 10 p.m. when we arrived, and more people crowded on the dance floor by midnight. The DJ didn’t push the envelope too far with his musical choices, but instead played a variety of songs, mashing up pop hits, electronica, house music and hip hop, which kept everyone on the dance floor and in the VIP areas energized.
Unlike nightclub cities like Las Vegas and Miami, Diesel relies heavily on returning local customers, so each new element of the renovation was done to show an appreciation for its clientele. For instance, LED lights flank VIP skyboxes that overlook the dance floor, while the DJ sits above the crowd. A large lighted sphere made with thousands of LED pin lights retracts from the ceiling, illuminating the crowd and creating a ‘wow factor’ for the dancing and imbibing patrons.
The night we were there, all the skyboxes were reserved, and the ultra-luxurious private White Room, which is truly a sight to behold, was booked that evening for a party, as well. (The White Room is secluded yet still a part of the club. The patrons inside can turn on a switch, and the glass becomes frosted so no one can see in or out, giving the party inside privacy and a sense of exclusivity from the other clubgoers.)
When we arrived, Big Steve, the table service manager, led us to our skybox, telling us that he would be back around. Not only did he make good on that promise, but Big Steve checked in on us often, dropping off bottles, even calling me a week later to make sure our VIP experience was up to par. This is something he does for all the guests that reserve a skybox and order bottle service. He “checks in” to see how the experience was, and if there’s anything Diesel can improve on in the future.
The skybox we were in was situated off the stairs, above the dance floor, and our cocktail waitress, Katie, was always around to pour another Vodka Tonic or to bring us Champagne bottles on fire, or at least with sparklers coming out of the top. Not only that, but she brought our table plates of fruit soaked in vodka (healthy and delicious). And this is the thing that makes Diesel stand out. The staff’s constant vigilance, sincerity about making our experience memorable and constant availability only enhanced our VIP experience, especially for a group of small town Pennsylvanians who have probably spent more time in local dive bars than top-end clubs.
From the staff who waited on us, to the owners who worked hard to create a club atmosphere that transports you to the most energized of the top Vegas clubs (and yes, I've been in those), the Diesel experience was certainly an unforgettable one. The brothers DeSimone created a raucous atmosphere that got us excited for our next visit. And because they rely on loyal customers to come back weekend after weekend, the packed house tells me Adam and Mike are doing all the right things.