Why go to a bar to drink, when you can go to a bar and eat? Or, better yet, just do both. Pittsburgh is full of places to wet your whistle, and whet your appetite, from comfort food to classy charcuterie. Sip and bite your way through a few of the top spots for an indulgent night out, or for a bookend to a less-than-sober Saturday.
Kelly’s dishes have become the stuff of legend in Pittsburgh’s bar scene. While the dive’s menu features delicious options like tofu bites, potstickers, and tacos, the macaroni & cheese is the real reason you show up here. Baked to crusty perfection, the mac shows up bubbly in a personal crock. Underneath the charred top, gooey and creamy noodles await. With a similar cheese-to-pleasure ratio as a fancier establishment like Smoke in Lawrenceville, but for less cash, and with an opportunity to pair with a $4 cocktail, you can’t go wrong with this order.
If there is a better bar food than potatoes wrapped in dough, we don’t know it. Polish food gets its due at Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, and the mighty pierogi is a top pick. BBT sources these gems from the top pierogi supplier (aside from church basements everywhere): Pierogies Plus out of McKees Rocks. You can also get platters of haluski, kluski, and kielbasa; it’s an all-out Eastern European palace. Other staples like meatball sandwiches and fried fish are available, but go for the gold. Eat those ‘rogies.
Hungry on a Monday at 1am? How about Sunday at 11:30pm? Caliente serves its menu of pizza, salads, and sandwiches until 2am every day of the week, which is unheard of in the ‘Burgh aside from subpar diner food. Late-night cravings can and should only be satisfied by Caliente’s ridiculous cheesy bread (with pepperoni or bacon, if you're into either). Ask for extra marinara sauce for dipping.
Over the Bar, or OTB, is a cyclist’s best pal. Lots of bike parking is available out front, and inside, a menu full of bike-themed bites awaits. Tangled Spokes, i.e. pretzel sticks with beer cheese, or Stick Shifters, i.e. spicy mozzarella sticks, make for a good first chomp. Crazy burgers round out the menu, with the star, Dirt Rag Delight, topped with peanut butter, cheese, and pickles. America!
Boldly named after a Step Brothers quote (Catalina Wine Mixer, anyone?), this quirky spot serves decently priced wine from an impressive list. The food is magically prepared behind the bar in a tiny “kitchen” space, but arrives at your table like a gourmet plate. Feast on a cheese board, or truly find the meaning of life with a Toastie order. Prosciutto and Gruyere sandwiched between bread makes any day much better.
A rooftop bar with epic views of Downtown, the new-ish Biergarten is the perfect spot to not only get your drink on, but to chow down on German snacks. Pair your Belgian or dunkel with a giant pretzel or potato salad. Sop up that schnapps with your choice of house-made currywurst or bratwurst. The currywurst, arriving on a fluffy bun and topped with a curry ketchup, will transport you to the streets of Germany with every snap of the sausage.
The Park House is super-old, you guys. This classic on East Ohio St has been in operation as a pub for a long-ass time -- over 100 years -- and there's a reason a place like this has existed for as long as it has. Where else can you listen to live bluegrass and folk bands while eating Mediterranean bar snacks like falafel or gyro? Owner Zamir Zahavi, dubbed the “falafel master,” bought and transformed the Park House from a simple bar spot to a place to get a craft beer and a stuffed pita. Fingers crossed for 100 more years of The Park House!
With a cave of hundreds of brews to pick from, D’s is the ultimate beer bar. But getting your buns to D’s is rewarded not only by hoppy bliss, but by dang tasty hot dogs. Build your perfect dog with a choice of all-beef, veggie, turkey, cheesy bratwurst, and jalapeño kielbasa, then throw on the toppings. Or pick a predetermined pile-on like the Big Ben with fries, cheddar cheese, and coleslaw. Encased mystery meat not your jam? The pizza here is also top-notch and features as many toppings as the dogs, from ham and pineapple to steak. Load it up!
A quiet, residential street on the North Side hosts this unassuming place to kick back with a Guinness and a boxty; the cozy wood booths and the handsome wood bar only aid in transporting you across the pond. The Irish-themed menu is startlingly good, from bangers & mash to shepherd’s pie. Slow-roasted, Guinness-marinated shredded beef elevates every dish it touches and keeps locals coming back for more.
The bar of Legume, the classy-occasions restaurant next door, Butterjoint features excellent cocktails in its own right and a simple but effective menu of snackage. The Fancy Burger of the day uses beef that's ground daily and arrives topped with a variety of high-brow toppings, from bleu cheese to wot aioli, inspired by Ethiopian curry. Bonus points for being branded, literally, with the word “fancy” on top of the bun. The bar also is home to the best desserts in the ‘Burgh. Flourless chocolate cake for the win!
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1. Kelly's Bar and Lounge6012 Penn Circle South, Pittsburgh
2. Bloomfield Bridge Tavern4412 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh
3. Caliente Pizza & Draft House4624 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh
4. Over the Bar Bicycle Cafe2518 E Carson St, Pittsburgh
5. The Allegheny Wine Mixer5326 Butler St, Pittsburgh
6. Biergarten620 William Penn Pl, Pittsburgh
7. The Park House403 E Ohio St, Pittsburgh
8. D's Six Pax & Dogz1118 S Braddock Ave, Swissvale
9. Monterey Pub1227 Monterey St, Pittsburgh
10. Butterjoint214 N Craig St, Pittsburgh
A retro fluorescent sign accented with a martini glass calls drinkers into this vintage-style East Liberty hangout. Throwback tracks will sound as you make your way through the 1940s-styled space to the bar for cheap daily cocktails, which could be a Moscow Mule or a Paloma. You can grab any of the bar bites to eat in a booths -- from pot stickers to burgers -- but we can't stop thinking about the mac & cheese. It takes a while for the kitchen to make, but thankfully you can drink while you wait.
Passionate about Polish heritage, the restaurant commissioned an artist to paint crests representing Polish towns around the perimeter of its parking lot. Try the sauerkraut-stuffed pierogies, plus an order of potato pancakes served with applesauce.
This place knows whats up. What goes better with beer than pizza? Nothing. With more than 20 beers on tap, and a menu detailing each one's aromas, flavors, and hoppiness, you will never be lead astray.
Bikes, burgers and beer — that's the name of the game at Over the Bar Bicycle Cafe. It's burgers are just as flashy as its decor (full-size bicycles hang upside down from the ceiling amidst painted depictions of bmx stunts) with bike-themed names like The Dirt Rag Delight (American cheese, dill pickles, creamy peanut butter, bacon and ground beef). Pair them off with a batch of fries dusted with powdered ranch dressing mix and a cold one from their constantly rotating draft list.
The Allegheny Wine Mixer’s charm is its atmosphere -- part cozy living room, part chic art gallery -- and its long wine list. Choose from a solid selection of imported and domestic wines, along with sparkling wines (tip: ask for a splash of limoncello in your bubbly) sold by the glass and by the bottle.
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 Park House is one of Pittsburgh's first licensed drinking establishments, dating back to just after Prohibition. The beer list contains 50 craft beers, with about 15-20 on tap, such as Lagunitas, Deschutes, and Ommegang. Fresh popcorn and peanuts are free at the bar.
Forget wine cellars -- beer caves are where it's at, and you can find the best one in Pittsburgh at D's Six Pax & Dogz. It's a dizzying lair of bottles, both American microbrews and imported selections from Germany, Belgium, Ireland, and other places around the globe. The draft brews rotate regularly but there's usually at least 25 options available on tap, which means you're guaranteed to find something to pair well with your food order -- providing you can narrow it down from the extensive menu of gourmet hot dogs (pro tip: get the "Big Ben"), wings, pizza pies, and bar bites.
This is a Northside neighborhood treasure with a cozy bar and tiny booths that make you long to be a regular. The Irish fare, often marinated in Guinness, goes down easy. Tender, shredded Guinness beef is featured in several menu items, but is best served under a heap of mashed potatoes and cheese in the shepherd’s pie.
This cozy cocktail spot offers draft beers, ciders, wines and all kinds of spirits from around Philadelphia along with tasty bar bites like pierogies, sausage and cheese plates and one of the best burgers in the city (made with Western PA ground beef, charred just a touch and placed on a hearty, crisped bun). If you want the full culinary experience (and you show up before 9pm), you can have your pick from next-door neighbor Legume's menu, which changes daily and is chock full of vegetable-centric dishes.