13 Female Bartenders You Need to Know in Pittsburgh


13 Female Bartenders You Need to Know in Pittsburgh
13 Female Bartenders You Need to Know in Pittsburgh

Courtesy of Dave Harmon
Courtesy of Dave Harmon

Not so long ago in our nation’s history, females in the US were banned from bartending (stupid 1940s). Luckily that’s not the case today because these 13 Pittsburgh bartenders are among the city’s best -- and they just happen to be women. They’re serving up craft cocktails, sharing what they love about Pittsburgh, and shattering glass ceilings, but not glasses.

Mai Jeans

Where to find her: Meat and Potatoes (address and info)
Specialty: “I like to work with aged tequila and eight-to-10-year bourbons.”
What she’s doing when she’s not working: “I like to eat and drink at other places and visit other bartenders in the city. I like to stay active and cook at home, but most importantly just all around keeping it real."
Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: “How friendly people are. I have received a lot of kindness from perfect strangers.”

Courtesy of Dave Harmon

Greta Dunn

Where to find her: Meat and Potatoes (address and info)
Specialty: “Bright and simple rum drinks and puns! I recently made a "Daq and Gold" for a customer: dark rum, lime, pineapple, simple, orange bitters.”
What she’s doing when she’s not working: “Cooking, concerts, sleeping, visiting other fantastic bartenders, and thinking about new drinks (and entering friendly competitions)... when I'm not studying for my occupational therapy boards!"
Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: “The camaraderie. If you're in black and gold you can always make a friend -- anywhere in the world!”

Courtesy of Carrie Clayton

Carrie Clayton

Where to find her: Sonoma Grille (address and info)
Specialty: “I'll give you a way to fall in love with ALL of the bottles. Especially the mezcal and anything with fizz.”
What she’s doing when she’s not working: “Growing a most amazing little girl into a kick-ass lady. Taking off in a kayak or on foot to disappear into some greenery for a while. Getting nerdy at home over lots of industry stuff.”
Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: “The broad range of faces, backgrounds, and styles of the humans here. It's really awesome to be able to meet so many people from such incredibly varied backgrounds and lifestyles and then be able to create a great experience for them on my bar.”

Courtesy of Cara DelSignore

Cara DelSignore

Where to find her: Stagioni (address and info)
Specialty: “Prosecco cocktail. Made with Mirto and lemon. Mirto is an Italian cordial from Sardinia. I also love making gin-based cocktails.”
What she’s doing when she’s not working: “I try to learn about wines that I am not familiar with. I love to go out to the driving range to hit golf balls; it's a great way to blow off steam!”
Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: “One thing I love about Pittsburgh is that I can be out for a hike in the woods by day and back in the city for a nice bite to eat by night. Another thing I love about our city is the sense of community among restaurant professionals.”

Courtesy of Amanda Dudzinski

Amanda Dudzinski

Where to find her: Sienna On The Square (address and info)
Specialty: “More than anything, I enjoy making cocktails for people based on their mood or where they want to be. I'll ask them to give me adjectives or a feeling, and then I try to recreate that for them through a cocktail. It's fun.”
What she’s doing when she’s not working: “When I'm not working, you'll find me making piñatas for a 10-year-old, stalking professional female soccer players, binge eating, drinking whiskey, entertaining friends, watching Gilmore Girls... the possibilities are endless.”
Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: “Going anywhere and knowing I'll have a friend… especially friends that can cook and mix up delicious drinks!”

Courtesy of Erika Clark

Erika Clark

Where to find her: Täkō (address and info)
Specialty: “Savory and spicy elements. I love working with peppers, savory herbs, and beer. I love the je ne sais quoi element that just a splash of the right beer brings to a cocktail.”
What she’s doing when she’s not working: “Try to spoil myself and my husband with good food, libations, and no time schedule.”
Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: “The pride that we all carry for our city -- a city built by and rooted in hard work, strength, and determination. The pulse of Pittsburgh is the love and appreciation we have for it.”

Courtesy of Joslynne Manges

Joslynne Manges

Where to find her: Bar Marco (address and info) and The Livermore (address and info)
Specialty: "Anything that lets me get creative with amaro."
What she’s doing when she’s not working: "I keep active with CrossFit and running. Travel whenever I can."
Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: "The desire people have to grow and enhance this city together. The unity with that is remarkable."

Courtesy of Cayla Zahoran + Michael Fornataro/WHIRL Magazine 

Nicole Marshall

Where to find her: Cioppino Restaurant & Cigar Bar (address and info)
Specialty: "We offer a vast collection of more than 150 whiskeys that allow me to create virtually any cocktail to please any palate. I find that our cigar smokers enjoy a classic Old Fashioned or Manhattan cocktail as they pair well together. We also offer an extensive wine collection featuring more than 250 labels, which has allowed us to receive the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine four times!"
What she’s doing when she’s not working: "Spend as much time as possible with my husband, family, and friends."
Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: "The people of Pittsburgh and being a die-hard Steelers fan!"

Courtesy of Maggie Meskey

Maggie Meskey

Where to find her: Täkō (address and info)
Specialty: “A margarita -- the most perfect cocktail!”
What she’s doing when she’s not working: “I'm learning how to thrash on the drums! And I listen to a lot of rock and roll and love to go record shopping. I spend a lot of my free time on boats. I treat myself and my friends to secret grill nights on "Porch" (our front porch!) and hit the pool whenever possible. I'm working on acquiring my advanced Master Court of Sommeliers certification but that's a big haul.“
Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: “We have a giant heart and a small city center for it to beat within. We are the heart of USA and sports and rock and roll and whiskey and so much more. We are happy here. We love each other! It's a super-supportive city.”

Courtesy of Abbie Rhoads

Abbie Rhoads

Where to find her: Union Pig & Chicken (address and info)
Specialty: “Whiskey drinks! I make a great Old Fashioned.”
What she’s doing when she’s not working: “Probably eating! It's my No. 1 hobby.”
Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: “The people. I moved here eight years ago and have met most of my closest friends here.”

Courtesy of Sarah Ellis

Sarah (Smellis) Ellis

Where to find her: Spirit Lodge (address and info)
Specialty: “Old Fashioneds. Love to drink them; love to make them.”
What she’s doing when she’s not working: “I love to travel and discover the guts of a place. I tend to do a lot of fly fishing and camping. It brings me balance. I also play music in my band Boiled Denim.”
Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: “I have always loved the energy of Pittsburgh. It has a strong community feel. Everyone seems to be connected in some way. You can meet somebody and within 10 minutes of your conversation, you realize they are your cousin or something.”

Courtesy of Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris

Where to find her: Tender Bar + Kitchen (address and info)
Specialty: “Anything tequila or mezcal is easiest for me, but really I like surprising people with something unexpected they've never had before.”
What she’s doing when she’s not working: “Hang out (drink) with friends (usually at our favorite local dives), enjoy my neighborhood of Bloomfield, take my dog exploring around the city with my boyfriend, read anything thought-provoking or booze-related, cook, paint, draw, sew, find new music, watch The Simpsons… OK, who am I kidding, I love all those things, but I mostly just clean and sleep.”
Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: “The overall feeling of homeyness and community. It feels like most people I meet would rather help each other out than compete, whether it’s the bar/beer/food community, the music scene, small businesses, etc. There’s plenty of room here for everyone to flourish. Oh, and Armand’s Bar, the Allegheny Cemetery, and pierogies.”

Rossilynne Culgan/Thrillist

Laura Grace (LG) Swanson

Where to find her: The Commoner (address and info)
Specialty: “Rye Old Fashioned or dirty martini.”
What she’s doing when she’s not working: “Practicing yoga, playing with my dogs, Bessie and Leroy, and traveling with my lovely husband, Jeremy. We hope to visit Southeast Asia next!”
Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: “The people and our unique neighborhoods.”

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Rossilynne S. Culgan (@rossilynne) is a Pittsburgh native who believes in Girl Power.

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1. Meat and Potatoes 649 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (Central Business District)

This aptly named Downtown restaurant serves luxe versions of its namesake items-- Waygu beef and truffle tator tots, for example-- in a lively, spacious setting. Open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, stop by for revamped takes on classic comfort fare and a varied selection of cocktails, including a full service Bloody Mary bar with savory garnishes galore.

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2. Sonoma Grille 947 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

This cozy bistro space has an American tapas menu that pairs beautifully with the West Coast wines that are heavily featured both by the glass and by the bottle. There's a great Mixed Grille section to the menu where you can choose a protein like Grilled Salmon or Indonesian Glazed Tofu, a side like Garlic Mashed Potatoes and an arrangement of sauces for dipping. Be sure to stop by on Sunday as well for a jazz brunch.

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3. Stagioni 2104 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Simple Italian dishes combined with delicious local ingredients create the ultimate dinner experience.

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4. Sienna On The Square 22 Market Square, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

As soon as you enjoy one of Sienna On The Square's pasta dishes, you'll know why they've won a bunch of awards since 2013.

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5. täkō 214 6th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

As the sign says out front, this Downtown street-fusion spot offers tacos, sandwiches, ceviche, cold beer and tequila. The täkō tacos really are deserving of the house name, featuring octopus, but the others are equally as delicious ranging from grilled pork shoulder to mushrooms to wagyu short rib. Don't forget about their drinks, which include inventive margaritas and the Neville Island Tea, which is a Pittsburgh take on the Long Island Iced Tea.

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6. Bar Marco 2216 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

This mimimalist, intimate hangout keeps things simple while delivering great food, creative cocktails and a weekend brunch. Ask for their Marco Burger which is no longer on the menu but remains a customer favorite with local farm beef, bacon, onion, and tarragon.

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7. The Livermore 124 South Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Since you don't have to tip your server, you'll be able to spend all of your cash on the amazing papagiorgio meatballs.

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8. Cioppino Restaurant & Cigar Bar 2350 Railroad Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Their brandy sangria will absolutely knock your socks off.

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9. Union Pig & Chicken 22- N Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Prepare yourself for out of this world poutine. It'll blow you away.

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10. Spirit 242 51st St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201 (Central Lawrenceville)

Crispy, thin-crust, square-cut pizza meets Pennsylvania booze -- it's a love story to end all others. That's what happens every night at Spirit, a spot on the upper West corner of Allegheny Arsenal that tricks everyday passerby with its outer abandoned warehouse look. Those in the know, however, regularly flock here for the simple Slice Island pies and glass after glass after glass of craft beer, wine, and cocktails alongside some live indie music in '70s-prom kind of dance hall or out on the back patio.

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11. Tender Bar + Kitchen 4300 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201 (Central Lawrenceville)

Tender Bar + Kitchen gets its name because it is a bank turned restaurant. With plush stools, a bar backdrop of liquor bottles accessed by ladders and the overall vintage look of the place will make you feel like you stepped back in time. The menu celebrates the history of American cocktails. We recommend the signature Corpse Reviver, with gin, lemon and absinthe. It really is guaranteed to bring you back to life.

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12. The Commoner 458 Strawberry Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (Central Business District)

Located in Downtown Pittsburgh, The Commoner is anything but common and it's one of the coolest joints in town. The menu offers tavern-style tastes, with meat as the main attraction, and be sure to nab dessert -- the Sticky Toffee Pudding, a warm date cake with ice cream, will be the best thing you may ever have in your mouth.