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:


Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Pittsburgh Magazine Wins 7 Golden Quill Awards

Pittsburgh Magazine Wins 7 Golden Quill Awards

Sponsored by the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania, the contest recognizes excellence in magazine, newspaper, broadcast and online journalism.
Got Tickets? Pittsburgh's Best, Biggest Food Event Is Weeks Away

Got Tickets? Pittsburgh's Best, Biggest Food Event Is Weeks Away

Join us on June 8 at Heinz Field for the 26th annual Best Restaurants Party.
Bow Wow: Pittsburgh Gets Props for Dog Parks

Bow Wow: Pittsburgh Gets Props for Dog Parks

The city earned a No. 1 ranking for giving our four-legged friends plenty of room to roam.
Idlewild Park Opening with New Ride

Idlewild Park Opening with New Ride

The park begins its 138th season this weekend.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Pittsburgh's Best Restaurants 2015

Pittsburgh's Best Restaurants 2015

Which 33 establishments did our independent Restaurant Review Panel include among its top picks this year? Find them here.
The Right Recipe: Spy Inside 5 Killer Kitchens

The Right Recipe: Spy Inside 5 Killer Kitchens

Executive chefs often are given much of the credit for their restaurants’ success, but that praise would be hard to bestow if each did not lead an outstanding kitchen brigade.
The Beginner's Garden: How to Easily Create a Summer Eden

The Beginner's Garden: How to Easily Create a Summer Eden

From ferns to forsythia, there are ample growth opportunities for creating a gorgeous, low-maintenance garden this year in your own backyard.
PittGirl Believes She is Totally Right about the Pittsburgh Left

PittGirl Believes She is Totally Right about the Pittsburgh Left

In this case, as in most others, it's better to give than take.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Everything That's Awesome About Pittsburgh Today
Pittsburgh Magazine Wins 7 Golden Quill Awards

Pittsburgh Magazine Wins 7 Golden Quill Awards

Sponsored by the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania, the contest recognizes excellence in magazine, newspaper, broadcast and online journalism.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
Why You Need to Know These 4 Bold Pittsburgh Women

Why You Need to Know These 4 Bold Pittsburgh Women

PittGirl says these women "had Girl Power before the world knew what Girl Power meant."

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pittsburgh Says Farewell to Penn Mac's 'Dearheart'

Pittsburgh Says Farewell to Penn Mac's 'Dearheart'

Pittsburgh's food community paid tribute to Carol Pascuzzi's contributions at the cheese counter where she dispensed invaluable advice.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
6 Great Pittsburgh-Area Places to Watch Outdoor Concerts

6 Great Pittsburgh-Area Places to Watch Outdoor Concerts

Get the rundown on who's playing at our favorite summer venues.

Comments


Bricolage's Sweeping 'SAINTS TOUR' Turns Braddock Into One Big Stage

Bricolage's Sweeping 'SAINTS TOUR' Turns Braddock Into One Big Stage

The innovative company's latest immersive theater project takes audiences on an uncanny journey through the small town.

Comments


Party Time: Kaya Celebrates 20 Years with Festival and Food

Party Time: Kaya Celebrates 20 Years with Festival and Food

The Strip District's Latin/Caribbean restaurant marks the occasion with several shindigs, including the ever-popular Kaya Fest.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Mack at You – The Perfectly Chic Summer Platform Sandal

Mack at You – The Perfectly Chic Summer Platform Sandal

Pittsburgh-based designer Emy Mack, who recently opened a boutique in Shadyside, has the shoe style you need for the warmer weather.

Comments


This week's buzz from the PM editors
PyroFest Will Kick off with a Bang

PyroFest Will Kick off with a Bang

This year's fireworks-focused festivities will take place in Slippery Rock, Pa., through Saturday.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Pittsburgh's 5 Most Popular Spots for Perfect Wedding Photos

Pittsburgh's 5 Most Popular Spots for Perfect Wedding Photos

So why do brides and grooms tend to flock to these spots?

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Head to the City for the Ultimate Flea Market

Head to the City for the Ultimate Flea Market

Neighborhood Flea returns for 2015, bringing with it an assortment of goods, workshops, food and more.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
New Science Lab to Debut This Summer in the Hill District

New Science Lab to Debut This Summer in the Hill District

The lab, a partnership between Duquesne University and Urban Innovation 21, will offer courses for a range of learners, including students in grades 3-12.

Comments


Thinking outside the box (score)
Pittsburgh's Best (and Worst) Sports Uniforms of All Time

Pittsburgh's Best (and Worst) Sports Uniforms of All Time

Sports teams are constantly reaching back into their history for throwback jerseys. But “retro” isn’t always a term of endearment when it comes to uniforms.

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