Food & Beverage Industry
Target: foodies & tourists
5 min, 14 seconds
The Definitive Guide to the Best Bars in Pittsburgh
I've drank my way through more bars in Pittsburgh than I'd care to admit. And I've seen more "Best Bars of Pittsburgh" articles than I'd ever care to read. I may not be a food critic, but I know where to send someone for a drink.
There's no catch-all best bar for everyone. Everyone has their own version of perfection. And there's a perfect bar for you in Pittsburgh.
3801 Butler Street, 15201
Grappa, Amaro, and good Italian wine: the perfect combo for a hard-earned weeknight drink. A cozy bar behind Piccolo Forno, Grapperia boasts a formidable list of Amari, Dopo Cena (after-dinner drinks), and Grappa, as well as rotating house cocktails crafted around their namesake spirit. Myself, I could drink Amaro every day of my life and never get enough.
I've spent more than a few weeknights after work at the Grapperia, and every time it feels like I'm settling down in my own living room, finally relaxing after a night of serving to unwind.
Why you should go: Bring your close friends. Sip a bitter drink. Submerge into the dim light and think about better days. If you're new to Grappa or Amaro, they've got introduction flights for you. Let the bartender's hand guide you, let go, and fall backward into a tiny glass.
Best for a Sweet Tooth
1708 Shady Avenue,15217
Grab your dad's Hawaiian shirt and drown yourself in 330 different rums. Every tropical drink absolutely ruined by the 80's is revived in a much-needed way. Every cocktail seems meaningful, and there's something for everyone.
Why you should go: If "it's an actually good tiki bar" isn't enough to get you going, I don't know what to say to you. They've got sharing drinks for gangs of two, three, and four, if you're into that sort of thing.
Best Dive Bar
1314 E Carson St, 15203
There's nothing better than a good dive bar. And Dee's is everything you want all in one: full-size pool tables, music, and cheap drinks. And unlike some other dives in Pittsburgh, I've never been hit on by a sleazy guy here or was made to feel unsafe. It's my go-to of all go-to's. If you've been to Dee's, there's a good chance you've seen me.
They've usually got drink specials running, and if you get there early on the pool tables are usually open and you won't feel rushed or crowded playing a few games solo or with friends.
Smoking is allowed, but no vapes my dudes.
Why you should go: Play pool and grab a beer. There are few greater pleasures than that. Chill, not crammed, easy-going, and relaxing. The ultimate dive bar experience.
Best Live Music
2108 East Carson Street, 15203
The Southside is best known for college kids getting sloppy drunk on the regular and being the backdrop for many bad decisions after too many Jaeger bombs.
But if you can find a parking space and you're looking for some good, loud, live music, buy a ticket for pretty much any show at the Club Cafe and you're going to have a good time. The tickets are cheap and the shows run long. Mostly local bands. There's plenty of floor space and a sitting bar if you get there early enough to take advantage of it.
Why you should go: If you're looking for a relatively cheap date night and your date is any fun at all, catch a show and grab a beer.
Best for Food and Drinks
4606 Penn Ave,15224
Though well-known for their amazing vegan dishes, Apteka's cocktails and wine selection are among the best in the city. And the lengths they're willing to go through are outstanding.
The vibe is low light, transcendent weird music, and design pulled right out of the woods. No matter how many times I go, it still feels like a hidden gem.
Why you should go: The cocktails are simple but creative. The wine is natural. And it's the perfect place to share dishes with friends. It's good times all-around. Treat yourself, and get there early, no reservations here.
Best Cafe Bar
2002 Smallman Street,15222
Espresso Belgian waffle. Coffee Old Fashioned. Cortado. My go-to order. Catch me sitting by the window going to town on all three. This is the best place for (non-sloppy) day-drinking in Pittsburgh. A casual cafe with a full coffee menu and a solid list of beers and cocktails, and a few wines by the glass too.
If you're looking for a place to meet with a friend, a lunch date, or go absolutely bonkers in yonkers on a cocktail and coffee by yourself like me, this is it.
They've got a couple outside seats which will be absolutely the hottest seats in the Strip once the construction finishes (maybe in our lifetime).
Why you should go: It's all the best parts of a cafe plus a curated bar. The food selection is just as good, with sandwiches, meat and cheese plates, waffles, and pastries.
Best Imported Beer
124 S. Highland Avenue, 15206
Finally. A German/Alpine beer hall that doesn't involve demeaning outfits and obnoxious accordions. If I go out for a beer, it's going to be here. If you're looking for toasty, malty, crisp, and complex classic German beers, you're going to find it. Their selection of regional styles is the best I've seen.
Why you should go: $2 Kolsch nights. If you need more of a reason, you're not going to find a more varied selection of German beers than Lorelei's.
Best Downtown Bar
245 7th Street, 15222
Downtown is a swing and a miss if you're looking for the best cocktails bars in town. Every place to get a mixed drink is either going to empty your wallet, underwhelm you, or induce a claustrophobic hatred of other people. Except for the Warren.
It takes a lot to get me Downtown. After four years of roaming around late at night looking for a place to go that's largely devoid of businessmen delaying going home, I found the Warren. I went there two weeks after opening, and it's been my only go-to ever since.
Great cocktails, great staff, and you can watch a game in relative peace.
Why you should go: No over-blown gimmicks. No wallet-gouging top-tier spirits. And a fantastic Negroni Week. Plus, their kitchen is open late. Get the spicy chicken katsu sandwich or stuff yourself with sushi.