Bar Exam: Blue Dust

Even Waterfront skeptics will find it hard to say no to 25-cent pierogi night.




Photo via Flickr

 

Homestead is weird. Most of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods and neighboring communities evolve along expected lines: Lawrenceville gets hipper, Shadyside gets posher, the North Shore slowly grows into an all-encompassing entertainment juggernaut. Homestead, though, has evolved in many directions at once.

This is where the region’s most carefully planned shopping and entertainment district is pushed right up against one of its most historically significant main streets. Both continue to change and grow, literally on top of one another yet almost completely distinct. The bookends of Homestead are the two biggest family parks around, but neither really is part of the neighborhood. This is a place where the all-vegetarian Tin Front Cafe feels just as natural a part of the landscape as the wings-and-beer joint Dukes Upper Deck Cafe — and where a tangled mass of bridges, rivers and byways somehow feels orderly.

You may have to put your car in park for 10 minutes while two trains go by. It won’t be a big deal.

Anyway, Blue Dust is weird, too. The popular bar just across those nettlesome tracks from the Waterfront has always attracted crowds and rave reviews. Like its home, though, it exists as something of a cross-section: Blue Dust feels like a working-class bar that transitioned halfway into a hipster bar and decided to rest there. So there’s craft beer, pinball and a thoughtful menu — but there’s also a Pirates game on the TV, and the most distinct decorative touch in the place is a wall covered in Sharpie graffiti.

A wall of beer coolers contains an extensive selection, and the chalkboard draft list will keep beer snobs happy (now on tap: Founders' All Day IPA; New Holland Brewing's Dragon's Milk; Victory's DirtWolf Double IPA). There are a number of featured cocktails as well, and most looked appealing (though the Dark and Stormy I ordered emerged overly sweet — more college-party style than cocktail-bar style). All the food I’ve tried at Blue Dust has been interesting, though the results have been mixed; the nachos were unbelievably good and the smoked-turkey Reuben was delicious, but the smoked-turkey drumsticks were a bit of a letdown.

A look at the bar's calendar, though, reveals Blue Dust’s greatest area of brilliance: specials. Every bar has specials. This bar seems to have collected the best offers imaginable: pierogies for a quarter on Tuesdays. Haluski for a dollar on Thursdays. Mystery beers for a mere $2.50, again on Tuesdays. And half off appetizers and draft beers — not on a weeknight, but as soon as work lets out on Friday. It’s a collection of good ideas from bars all over town.

So it’s weird, but it’s also an entirely worthy place to eat, drink and spend some time. I didn’t walk out swearing I’d be back tomorrow, but I did instantly declare it the best bar in the Waterfront . . . area.

Just be careful crossing those tracks.
 

Go Now:


The 412

NPR Blog Team Tries, Critiques Primanti Bros. Sandwich

NPR Blog Team Tries, Critiques Primanti Bros. Sandwich

The group behind the station's Sandwich Monday blog series orders the iconic sandwich and writes a review.
Pittsburgh Has 'America's Ugliest Accent'

Pittsburgh Has 'America's Ugliest Accent'

The results of the Gawker poll are in: We’re No. 1.
'Yinzer Goosebumps' Series Parodies the Horrors of 'Burgh Life

'Yinzer Goosebumps' Series Parodies the Horrors of 'Burgh Life

The great Benstonium is at again with this set of faux book covers.
The Great Pittsburgh Protractor Mystery

The Great Pittsburgh Protractor Mystery

Hundreds of protractors have been placed throughout the city. No one seems to know why.

Hot Reads

Top 10

Top 10

Your 10 best bets for October.
Made in Pittsburgh

Made in Pittsburgh

The city of steel always has been known for its industry – what we make. Today, that defining characteristic expands beyond manufacturing into every aspect of modern life.
Ed Piskor is Pittsburgh's Hip-Hop Historian

Ed Piskor is Pittsburgh's Hip-Hop Historian

Comic-book artist Ed Piskor continues to win critical acclaim and international fame with his “Hip Hop Family Tree” series of graphic novels.
Review: Istanbul Sofra

Review: Istanbul Sofra

Head to Istanbul Sofra, one of Regent Square’s new additions, for assorted lamb dishes, vegetarian starters and well-executed desserts.

On the Blogs


Everything That's Awesome About Pittsburgh Today
NPR Blog Team Tries, Critiques Primanti Bros. Sandwich

NPR Blog Team Tries, Critiques Primanti Bros. Sandwich

The group behind the station's Sandwich Monday blog series orders the iconic sandwich and writes a review.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
7 Best Rising Star Bartenders

7 Best Rising Star Bartenders

Get to know the city’s next generation of savvy, ambitious ’tenders.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
The Pirates Lost, and Twitter Went to Hell in a French-Fry Basket

The Pirates Lost, and Twitter Went to Hell in a French-Fry Basket

PittGirl recaps what transpired in the local Twittersphere after last night's Wild Card game.

Comments


Award-winning sports commentary by Sean Conboy
R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

Fire Bylsma? Fire Shero? The Penguins' problems run deeper.

Comments


Chip & Kale Will Deliver Homecooked Meals to Your Door

Chip & Kale Will Deliver Homecooked Meals to Your Door

Pittsburgh’s new healthy-food delivery service answers the question of what's for dinner.

Comments


The Warhol's 'Exposed' is the Coolest Thing in Town

The Warhol's 'Exposed' is the Coolest Thing in Town

The one-night-only concert brings legendary musicians to Oakland to perform alongside unseen Warhol films.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Navy is the New Black

Navy is the New Black

Beautiful blue hues pair with intriguing designs to create this sophisticated combo.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pittsburgh Pierogi Fest Will Take Over Stage AE Tomorrow

Pittsburgh Pierogi Fest Will Take Over Stage AE Tomorrow

The event will offer ample activities and a variety of pierogi-inspired dishes.

Comments


This week's buzz from the PM editors
Time to See Ballet Under the Stars

Time to See Ballet Under the Stars

This weekend, the PBT presents its annual production at Hartwood Acres under the night sky.

Comments