Disco Sunday Disco: ‘The hug we didn’t know we need’

Courtesy of Jarrett Tebbets | DJ Pretty Tony plays his set for an excited crowd during Sunday's outdoor disco dance event.

Emily Fritz | A&E Editor

Jan. 12, 2023

The other side of the Bloomfield Bridge was bumping with groovy disco-funk this past Sunday at Trace Brewing, where they hosted their fourth outdoor “Disco Sunday Disco” dance party event. Patrons danced and jived with a hot drink or beer in hand, while they mingled around the glow of warm and inviting fire pits.

The idea originated from Trace regular, DJ Jarrett Tebbets. Head of Marketing & Guest Experience Aadam Soorma explained, “The vision for Disco Sunday Disco was basically a chill, welcoming, inclusive outdoor disco in our courtyard-style beer garden — that felt like a really nice fit to end the weekend on.”

With their three regular DJ’s booked out on Fridays and Saturdays, “Sunday jumped out at us as a great day to throw a free outdoor disco at Trace to mark the ‘end of the weekend with a life affirming, rejuvenating disco party.’”

“There’s always been a void when it comes to events on Sundays in Pittsburgh and it’s [a] rarity when you come across a good, consistent daytime open air dance party…and that’s where it all starts,” Tebbets said.

“For me, disco is the perfect vessel to carry us into a new week. It’s the hug we [don’t] know we need until it wraps itself around you and says thank you for being you.”

Tebbets, a DJ of over a decade, prefers his “Disco/Italo/Funk/Boogie/House/Synth/Rarities/Underground sound” as opposed to the mainstream pop of today.

Disco is a genre that doesn’t get enough attention, according to Tebbets, but when it does, “there’s a group of strangers dancing to music they’ve likely never heard before and loving life. For those five hours, everything just feels right. I joke sometimes that when it’s all clicking, I don’t pick the records, they pick me.”

From 3 p.m. until close, the beer garden was full of people who were enjoying the last blissful hours of their weekend. New friends, old friends and four-legged dog friends were all gathered to enjoy the beer, the cocktails, the mocktails and the food from Los Gallitos’ food truck. The colder weather didn’t seem to turn anyone away, especially with enough special edition hot toddies and Irish coffee to go around.

“When Jarrett proposed throwing the party in the colder months, we were like ‘Sure! Let’s give it a try!’ Our taproom manager, Katie Rado, worked with our head of coffee, Joe Burns, to come up with a couple of hot cocktail options…so we could offer some warm drinks to keep folks grooving outside in the cold, and we keep our fire pits ripping as well. We added a second fire pit, also thanks to Jarrett, and just try to keep enough firewood on hand so the fires are going strong all through the night.”

Trace Brewing is still a relatively young business, opening in December of 2020 as a take-out only venue. It wasn’t until several months later that they were able to invite patrons into their space for full table, bar and cafe service.

Unlike the traditional brewery space, Trace offers cafe items between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. in addition to non-alcoholic beverages in order to accommodate a wider variety of patrons.

“Folks under legal drinking age are welcome to enjoy Trace and order coffee, tea, soda, etc. Additionally, folks in the Muslim community, folks who are pregnant or folks who simply don’t drink alcohol can always come by and enjoy our space. The morning vibe here mimics a cafe or coffee shop.”

Inclusivity is a driving force in all aspects of the Trace brand. The staff is passionate about creating a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+, people of varying religions and all walks of life.

“The Disco Sunday Disco crowd we attract has been really lovely — people of color, folks in the queer community, younger folks, nonbinary folks — honestly it feels different than what some might consider the more conventional ‘brewery crowd,’ and that’s perfectly fine with us.”

For those looking to join the fun, Trace Brewing is planning to release more details about their next Disco Sunday Disco in the coming weeks.

“It will most definitely be on a Sunday and likely in February. That’s all I can say for now,” Soorma said.

Until then, Trace will be hosting a free punk-rock show featuring [Expletive] yeah, Dinosaurs! this Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. as well as their usual festivals and parties in the warmer months like Slappers N Bangers, a monthly hip hop-RNB-trap party, and the annual Bloomfield Pride festival.