Make the most of those rare sunny Pittsburgh days with these outdoor spots for dining and drinking, all within the city limits. From rooftop lounges to patios to garden retreats, these 11 venues are in high demand during summertime. Oh, and most of them have umbrellas or covered spaces too, just in case it rains or you’re part albino.
Dining on the open-air deck at Redfin Blues -- on an island in the Allegheny River -- is similar to dining at the beach, so what if the river water isn’t exactly blue? Tables on the riverside deck offer both a skyline view and a good look at the boats cruising along the river or docking at Washington’s Landing Marina. Plenty of seafood is on the menu, along with drinks. There’s a high-percentage chance you will want to buy a boat after a day spent on the Redfin deck.
Spending an evening on the Pusadee’s Garden patio, shaded with vines and covered with plants, is like dining inside a beautiful greenhouse. Among the lush plants in the garden are herbs, which the chef picks fresh for use in the restaurant’s Thai cuisine. The restaurant is BYOB, so bring some white wine to pair with the spicy dishes. Be sure to make a reservation; tables at Pusadee’s Garden are in high demand on hot summer nights.
Uptown, aptly located in Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood, is a rooftop lounge with sweeping skyline views. Uptown offers two dozen beers on tap, a dozen more in bottles, plus a long wine list and plenty of cocktails to cool down the summer days. During the summer, look out for an impressive list of seasonal wines and summertime acoustic music sessions called “Uptown Rocks!"
Perched high atop Hotel Monaco, Biergarten is the newest addition to Downtown’s outdoor drinking scene. This is not your typical hotel bar. The long list of European beers -- Belgians, saisons, dunkels -- and German bar snacks will keep you busy for several games of jumbo Jenga or giant Connect Four on the rooftop patio. A few menu highlights: order the sauerbraten for yourself, and order the pretzel sticks with beer cheese to share.
Sure, part of the allure of The Church Brew Works is drinking more than communion wine inside what was once an actual church. But the back deck -- called the Hop Garden -- is worth venturing away from the restaurant’s stained-glass windows and into the sunlight. Hop plants grow tall along the church’s facade, creating a fitting space to grab a beer, preferably the Church Brew Works Thunderhop IPA or, if you’re lucky enough to time it right, Oktoberfest.
The home to Downtown’s finest Italian cuisine also boasts an extraordinary city view. Located in the heart of the city, Il Pizzaiolo’s sidewalk tables offer a look at Market Square and PPG Place, Pittsburgh’s glass castle. Dozens of Italian reds are on the wine list, an ideal match with oven-fired pizza or homemade pasta.
The giant rooftop deck at Steel Cactus in Shadyside is always a party. Burritos and tacos are on the menu, alongside margaritas and Coronas. The Yinzerita is a Steel Cactus delicacy: a margarita served with a bottle of beer balancing upside down in the glass.
Located on South Side’s busy East Carson St, the patio at Double Wide Grill is a great spot for people-watching and dog-watching. Yes, there’s a special patio for dogs -- and even a menu for dogs. The restaurant specializes in both barbecue meats and vegan options, plus it has more than 40 craft beers on tap. Double Wide’s location was previously a gas station, and it pays homage to its history with a vintage garage vibe.
With its city view, the front deck at Shiloh Grill is fun on any warm evening, but it’s a particular favorite on Tuesday, which is Bacon Night. Baskets of bacon are $1 at table seats and free at bar seats. The lengthy cocktail menu includes bar favorites, like the Sazerac and Gin Fizz, along with Shiloh Grill standbys, such as the frozen Cosmopolitan and the Neville Island iced tea.
Skybar is like a Miami annex in Pittsburgh. During the afternoon, Skybar’s rooftop pool and lounge are open, with cabanas available for rent. During the evening, a transparent cover encloses the pool. Frozen cocktails, Champagne, and beer flow in the afternoon and all night. Skybar’s rooftop with a skyline view is home to special events throughout the summer, including DJ sessions, water gun battles, and yoga classes.
Il Tetto -- translation: The Roof -- is a rooftop bar in Downtown’s cultural district. It’s the top floor of Sienna Mercato, with restaurants on the first two floors. A clear retractable roof can quickly be closed to shield Il Tetto from Pittsburgh’s fickle rainstorms. More than 30 beers are on draft, along with an impressive wine list and classic cocktails. About a year old, Il Tetto has already become a popular spot, with lines of people awaiting the elevator to the roof.
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Rossilynne S. Culgan is a Pittsburgh native who has spent enough summer days at Redfin Blues to attest that the urge to buy a boat while dining there is real.
1. Redfin Blues1000 Waterfront Dr, Pittsburgh
2. Pusadee's Garden5321 Butler St, Pittsburgh
3. Uptown1014 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh
4. Biergarten620 William Penn Pl, Pittsburgh
5. The Church Brew Works3525 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh
6. Il Pizzaiolo8 Market Sq, Pittsburgh
7. Steel Cactus5505 Walnut St, Pittsburgh
8. Double Wide Grill2339 E Carson St, Pittsburgh
9. Shiloh Grill123 Shiloh St, Pittsburgh
10. SKYBAR1601 E Carson St, Pittsburgh
11. Il Tetto942 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh
On an island in the Allegheny River, Redfin Blues offers waterside drinking and seafood eating and skyline viewing.
Eats like fresh Thai spring rolls, pad Thai, and curry can be enjoyed in the lush outdoor garden, a retreat filled with vine-laden pergolas and fresh flowers, or in the cozy dining room on a cooler day.
Uptown is a rooftop lounge and is indeed located in Uptown Pittsburgh. With two dozen beers on tap, a lengthy wine list and plenty of cocktails, Uptown has got you covered.
Biergarten at the Hotel Monaco features an exhaustive list of European beer, like bottled German favorites the Spaten Optimator doppelbock, the Weihenstephaner hefeweizen, and the Spaten marzen, and Belgian Trappist ales and sours. German-inspired bar bites range from house-made currywurst and sauerbraten to giant pretzels and a full array of pickles. And if you think the highlight of the evening will be trying to pronounce all of this German after a few drinks, try your hand at any of Biergarten’s pub games, like Jenga, garden chess, and super-sized Connect Four, and see how long you can last.
The Church Brew Works is a brewpub set in a restored church built in 1902. The sanctuary serves as a beer hall, with glorious brewing equipment situated at the head of the room, where the altar once stood. Light shines through stained glass windows, setting a heavenly scene for you to indulge in lunch, dinner, and pub fare, like soups, salads, appetizers, like oven-roasted buffalo cauliflower with crumbled bleu cheese and the crowd-favorite pierogies, with sautéed onions, melted butter, and sour cream. Beers on tap are the Celestial Gold, Pipe Organ Pale, Pious Monk Dunkel, and the ThunderHop IPA.
It’s probably a lot of work and expense for Il Pizzaiolo to import fresh ingredients from Italy regularly, but it's worth it to genuinely represent Neapolitan pizza. Order the classic Margherita DOC, which is fired in a 1,000-degree oven and topped with fresh basil and creamy mozzarella. The Market Square location is in the heart of the city and offers a more elegant, sit-down dinner with a long wine list (Chianti pairs well with the DOC).
Steel Cactus in Shadyside has a huge roof deck and it's always a party. Plus it has got all the essentials: burritos, tacos, margaritas and Coronas.
The patio at Double Wide is great for people watching, and there's a special section for dogs! The restaurant focuses on barbeque meats and vegan options, plus there are more than 30 craft beers on tap. DW frequently offers meal deals and hosts community events, so any day is a great day to stop in for some food and good times.
Shiloh Grill has an incredible city view, and Tuesday's are Bacon Night which means baskets of bacon are only $1 at table seats and free at bar seats.
Skybar is like a slice of Miami in Pittsburgh. The rooftop lounge and pool are open during the afternoon, and at night a transparent cover encloses the pool so you can sip on frozen cocktails and champagne with no fear of getting wet.
This space quickly established itself as downtown’s finest rooftop bar, offering 32 beers and cocktails on tap, plus a retractable roof and a view of the city’s tallest skyscrapers. There's a variety of wine options from California, Italy, Germany, Spain and Argentina. It's a great spot to hit if your friend group is split between brews and fine wine.