Food & Drink

13 Female Bartenders You Need to Know in Pittsburgh

Published On 09/01/2015 Published On 09/01/2015
Courtesy of Dave Harmon
Courtesy of Dave Harmon
Courtesy of Carrie Clayton
Courtesy of Cara DelSignore
Courtesy of Amanda Dudzinski
Courtesy of Erika Clark
Courtesy of Joslynne Manges
Courtesy of Cayla Zahoran + Michael Fornataro/WHIRL Magazine 
Courtesy of Maggie Meskey
Courtesy of Abbie Rhoads
Courtesy of Sarah Ellis
Courtesy of Hannah Morris
Rossilynne Culgan/Thrillist
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1. Meat and Potatoes 649 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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

Think you know tacos? You haven't tried the Asian-Mexican fusion versions coming out of täkō, serving up modern street food with a global bent. The namesake octopus (täkō is octopus in Japanese) is the must-order: coming grilled and folded into a tortilla adorned with harissa aioli, preserved lemon, greens, and pickled onion. The lineup ranges from unexpected to familiar, with a Korean-inspired taco (with Wagyu short rib, peanuts, and fermented cucumber) balanced by more safe Mexican choices like chorizo or carnitas. Whatever you do, try one of the eight margaritas, which can be spiked with lychee & pepper or sweetened with Thai coconut milk.

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

Bar Marco, an elegant European-inflected Strip District destination, doesn't just make waves with it's food (which is nothing to scoff at). The restaurant has disposed of the traditional tipping policy, instead offering employees substantial salaries and stake in the business instead. That means servers are all the more enthusiastic to serve your pigs' head croquettes with dollops of grain mustard aioli, discuss the buckwheat fettuccine with a nutmeg-spiced pork ragu blanket that you just ordered, or take extra care that the kitchen cooks your filet mignon to the right temperature. A subterranean Wine Room offers ticketed meals which require reservations, but you can stop by the main dining room anytime for a meal and a glass of wine from small producers.

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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

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

Although it no longer tenders money, Tender Bar + Kitchen provides reputable craft cocktails, upscale American comfort foods, and a casual yet swanky atmosphere out of this vintage bank-turned-speakeasy location. The Kitchen offers mostly small plates like mac and cheese, potato skins, and buffalo chicken dip, but it also turns out a wicked challah bun burger marinated in Worcestershire and stacked with gourmet fixings like pickled fennel and black truffle aioli. The Bar serves an unending list of creative libations inspired and organized by spirit, but the laborious house specialties are what draw the crowds: The Sheriff of Pitkin County packs a flavor wallop with two types of rum, allspice, minty BrancaMenta, grapefruit, egg white, nutmeg, and aromatic coffee bitters.

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12. The Commoner 458 Strawberry Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Located within Downtown's Hotel Monaco, The Commoner gives an attention to American fare and cocktails that is less common than the name suggests. Comfort dishes are given an elegant treatment, as low dishes like mac & cheese get gussied up by higher brow ingredients like braised pork belly, fusilli, buttered breadcrumbs, smoked peas and brie cream. Even the humble cocktail names betray their more refined appeal: The Farmer's Son is garnished with flowers, and made up of a blend of gin, Pimm's, lemon sorbet, pickle brine and an IPA float -- hardly something a typical peasant farmhand would be sipping.