East Liberty, once a poster child for failed urban renewal, has now begun to recall its old self. Historic buildings were rehabbed, like the ornate old Regent Theatre, renamed the Kelly-Strayhorn. New restaurants, including Dinette, Paris 66 Bistro and Abay, and bars like the admirable Shadow Lounge -- a spot for hip hop and acoustic music -- brighten the night. Two new grocery stores – a mainstream supermarket and the region's only Whole Foods – reassert East Liberty's centrality. And its greatest landmark, the East Liberty Presbyterian Church, endures. Once dubbed the "Mellon Fire Escape" after its robber baron Calvinists, it now embraces a diverse, socially active congregation, who call it the Cathedral of Hope.
About 25 Port Authority bus routes serve East Liberty and the core of the EL transit service is the Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway which bypasses local traffic to zip passengers between Downtown and the East End. Numerous local buses also provide service from East Liberty to Oakland, Downtown and various city neighborhoods – routes include the 71C, 74, 77, 82, 86, 88 and 89 on Penn Avenue, the 71A on Negley and the 71B on Highland.