The 50 Best Drinks in Pittsburgh

Beer, wine, cocktails, coffee and beyond.




Photos by John Altdorfer
 

 

It’s easy to get set in your ways when it comes to your favorite drinks. Familiar bar stools, cozy coffee shops, preferred restaurants — we all have a “usual” in a few local spots.

If you haven’t noticed what’s been happening in Pittsburgh bars, restaurants and cafes, it’s time to expand your horizons. Diverse beers, local and global, are on tap in so many neighborhoods. Acclaimed wines by the glass or bottle aren’t hard to find. More skilled bartenders are mixing perfect cocktails.

The movement isn’t limited to hard drinks, either; coffee is an art form, tea is on the rise and craft soda is making a statement.

Here’s our list of 50 Great Drinks, from old favorites to brand-new concoctions, as well as guidance on where and how to best enjoy them.

This is by no means an exhaustive list — to cover everything worth sipping in and around the city, we’d have to increase the tally to 500. Or 5,000. So let us know what we’ve missed; we're always happy to find another remarkable beverage to try.

Now, what’ll it be?

 

 

 

 

“Good people drink good beer.” — Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

 

 

Pint of Abita Jockamo IPA
with a bowl of Gumbo Ya-Ya, at NOLA on the Square

Among its many great beers, New Orleans brewery Abita offers a tasty pale ale named for the catchy Mardi Gras theme, “Iko Iko.” While Jockamo is tasty no matter the circumstance, a Big Easy drink pairs best with Creole and Cajun cuisine. Saddle up to the bar at NOLA on the Square and order a bowl of the Gumbo Ya-Ya — which packs more than enough flavor to stand up to the hoppy brew. —SC

(24 Market Square, downtown; 412/471-9100, nolaonthesquare.com)

Pint of East End Blackstrap Stout
at brillobox

brillobox’s hip vibe comes as much from its red-upholstered booths as from the tight-jeaned 20-somethings who fill them. It’s packed through the weekends with drinkers looking up occasionally at the videos playing on the 110-inch HD projection TV. brillobox is the perfect spot to enjoy a pint of East End’s meal-unto-itself Blackstrap Stout, which boasts rich flavors of molasses, coffee and chocolate. Because a dark indie bar needs a dark indie beer. —KB

(4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield; 412/621-4900, brillobox.net)

Glass of Chimay White
at Hal’s Bar & Grill

Many neighborhood bars are still more likely to pour a Coors Light than an import, but that’s not the case at North Hills gem Hal’s. Belgian brews are on tap — and there are even more in bottles. Order Chimay’s acclaimed Tripel (with a white label — it’s not a white beer) and enjoy sipping a world-class brew in a bar where you’d feel perfectly comfortable screaming at the ref during a Steelers game. —SC

(3225 Babcock Blvd., Ross Township; 412/364-3230, halsbar.com)

Pint of Guinness
with dinner, at Mullaney’s Harp and Fiddle

Pittsburgh and Dublin might as well be sister cities: They’re both wet, overcast and filled with respectable pubs. Mullaney’s Harp and Fiddle is one such establishment, where food, libations and music share the dining hall. Ireland produces plenty of beer, but there’s nothing like the dry sweetness of Guinness, particularly alongside hearty Irish fare. Once you’ve drawn a white mustache across your upper lip, you’re ready to share some stories and maybe even hit the dance floor. —RI

(2329 Penn Ave., Strip District; 412/642-6622, harpandfiddle.com)

Pint of Celestial Gold
on the patio, with pierogies, at Church Brew Works

As breweries go, Church Brew Works is downright divine. Among its ecumenically themed beers (Pious Monk, Pipe Organ Pale Ale) is the cosmic Celestial Gold, which tastes like pure sunshine — with malt. Celestial Gold is best enjoyed in summertime, particularly on the open-air patio, where guests sit at benches and enjoy “untraditional pierogies.” Indoors, the beer makes you fuzzy and warm, and the echoing voices of the church’s nave sound heavenly. —RI

(3525 Liberty Ave., Lawrenceville; 412/688-8200, churchbrew.com)

Pint of Full Pint White Lightning
at Full Pint Brewing Co.

North Versailles is home to local favorite Full Pint Brewing Co. Smaller breweries tend to specialize in the hoppy, the dark or some other niche; at Full Pint, master brewers want to craft a knockout beer for every palate. While you can find Full Pint creations on tap throughout the region and beyond, you can’t beat the source for freshness: Head to the brewery’s bar and order a pint of White Lightning, a refreshing Belgian-style witbier. —SC

(1963 Lincoln Highway, North Versailles; 412/467-6414, fullpintbrewing.com)

Pint of Old Wylie’s IPA
at Rivertowne North Shore

A stone’s throw from the Allegheny River, Rivertowne North Shore is a pub for people who love pubs. Old Wylie’s IPA, meanwhile, is a pale ale for people who love quality beer. According to lore, crafter Andrew Maxwell took more than 15 years to perfect this recipe. There’s no better place to relish its complex, hoppy taste than the Steeler-centric environs of Rivertowne — and Old Wylie’s should be sipped with a gourmet pizza. —RI

(337 North Shore Drive, North Shore; 412/322-5000, myrivertowne.com)

Pint of Station 33 Firehouse Red
outside, at North Country Brewing

Pints of Station 33 Firehouse Red, as do all of North Country’s beers, have a bold taste and some serious hoppy bite. A portion of the brew's sales keeps the fire trucks running in Slippery Rock. Beyond those selling points, something about this malty ale just lines up perfectly with the flavorful fare that is North Country’s signature. Have your first with the Backwoods Country Dip — and have it all outside, where everything tastes better. —SC

(141 S. Main St., Slippery Rock; 724/794-BEER, northcountrybrewing.com)

Bottle of I.C. Light
in the Heinz Field parking lot

Sure, you can pour microbrews into appropriate glassware at your tailgate. You can dish out carefully assembled snacks and entrées, if you’d like. But, uh, why? Standing in a parking lot with thousands of like-minded Yinzers makes classic flavors taste better. Fire up the grill, throw on some hot dogs and have a bottle of Iron. It’s how your grandparents did it, and it’ll work just fine for you. Just redd up after, will ya? —SC

(Check parking lot websites for tailgating rules and policies.)

Pint of Fire Brick Brown Ale
at Fuel & Fuddle

Fuel & Fuddle is a mainstay for older students of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University campuses — and for good reason. It has 100 different bottled beers. Really, you should aim to try them all — but you should begin with the house selection, Fire Brick Brown Ale, on draft. Brewed for Fuel & Fuddle by Smuttynose, this smooth, nutty session beer is perfect for an afternoon drink — but great any time of day. —KB

(212 Oakland Ave., Oakland; 412/682-3473, fuelandfuddle.com)

 

“Here's to alcohol, the rose-colored glasses of life.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned

 

Cooper
at Bar Marco

The folks at Bar Marco are a devilish bunch: Their ability to pour the perfect cocktails is uncanny. The Cooper is a perfect example, combining Irish whiskey and Laphroaig scotch, plus grapefruit bitters and St. Germain elderflower liqueur. The result is both tasty and tough, which echoes the speakeasy atmosphere of Bar Marco. Pair your Cooper with selections from the all-local menu; try the ceviche, ravioli and lavender ice cream. —RI

(2216 Penn Ave., Strip District; 412/471-1900, barmarcopgh.com)

P450
at BRGR

The P450 is an unusual drink; it’s citrusy but tastes of grapefruit rather than oranges. St. Germain — once a relic, now an increasingly popular ingredient — adds a wholly unfamiliar flavor. While we’re used to whiskey-backed cocktails, the use of local distiller Wigle’s white whiskey adds a distinctive bite. So unusual, yes — but refreshing and delicious, too. You’ll crave the taste days later. —SC

(5997 Penn Circle South, East Liberty; 412/362-BEEF, brgrpgh.com)

Rue Jolie
on draft, at Acacia

There’s a mysterious feeling to Acacia. It could be the boarded-up windows. It could be the quiet environs and dim lighting. And it probably has something to do with Acacia’s uncertain status in regard to bygone (and possibly forthcoming) parent Embury. Is Acacia a successor? A stand-in? A preview? Whatever it is, it’s a place with top-notch cocktails, such as the Rue Jolie, a gin drink boosted by Crème de Cassis and Combier. —SC

(2108 E. Carson St., South Side; 412/488-1800, acaciacocktails.com)

Caipirinha
at Green Forest Churrascaria

On first try, you’ll more than likely butcher the pronunciation of Brazil’s national drink, the caipirinha. When you finally get that cool glass of Brazilian sugar-cane rum, lime and sugar, it’ll make your linguistic blunders worth the trouble. Order a caipirinha (kai-pee-reen-ya) at Green Forest Churrascaria’s bar or at a table, where servers slice an endless array of Brazilian-style meats directly onto your plate. —KH

(655 Rodi Road, Penn Hills; 412/371-5560, greenforestdining.com)

Moscow Mule
at Harris Grill

Maybe you already feel hip — after all, you spend your evenings at the always-happening Harris Grill. Well, get ready to level up: We’re going to clue you in on Pittsburgh’s coolest drink (figuratively, given its $25 deposit, and literally, given the copper mug it’s served in — hence the deposit). The Moscow Mule is part Russian vodka and part ginger beer from nearby Natrona Bottling Co. — spicy and sweet with a seriously sassy kick. —AW

(5747 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside; 412/362-5273, harrisgrill.com)

Vesper
at Harvard & Highland

James Bond fans know that 007 was smitten with Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale and named a drink after her. While the Vesper can be ordered elsewhere, we’re confident that Harvard & Highland’s version shows up other iterations. Starring locally produced Boyd & Blair potato vodka, the martini also includes Bluecoat gin, Kina Lillet and a single lemon peel, in keeping with the original recipe. Order it if you prefer strong drinks. —KM

(220 N. Highland Ave., East Liberty; 412/363-7675, twitter.com/harvardhighland)

Mint Julep
at Kelly’s Bar & Lounge

There’s a beauty to roughing it through a brutally hot summer day — especially if you have a beverage that’s cold and flavorful enough to make you forget the heat. With plenty of crushed mint and your favorite bourbon (we recommend Maker’s Mark), Kelly’s mint julep is an ideal summer companion. When night falls, head to Kelly’s back porch and fully embrace your ice-cold julep — right down to the bourbon-soaked mint sprig. —KB

(6012 Penn Circle South, East Liberty; 412/363-6012)

Sodium Flare
at Industry Public House

Industry Public House is a bit of a contradiction, marrying working-class charm with an upscale menu, plus an extensive beer and cocktail list. New summer drink Sodium Flare is balanced and refreshing, based around strawberry-infused pisco (a Peruvian liquor). It’s an ideal compromise between a flavorful drink and a stiff one — perfect for the end of a hard day. —KB

(4305 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/683-1100, industrypgh.com)

The “Mercy of the Bartender”
at Butterjoint

The cocktail list at atypical Oakland haunt Butterjoint includes the "Mercy of the Bartender" — a classic cocktail chosen by the mixing genius behind the bar. We received a combination of gin, maraschino, green chartreuse and lime juice. Bar manager Will Groves called it “The Last Word.” Take the risk; you won't regret it. —AW

(214 N. Craig St., Oakland; 412/621-2700, thebutterjoint.com)

Mojito
at Steel Cactus

What do you get when you combine crushed mint, limes, lime juice and simple syrup before adding a generous bit of rum, shaking with sugar, pouring with a splash of soda water, and serving it in Shadyside? A delicious mojito at Steel Cactus. Sure, you can get this cocktail just about anywhere, but there’s no reason to go to just any bar when you can enjoy a great drink coupled with the charms of Steel Cactus. —AW

(5505 Walnut St., Shadyside; 412/709-6444, steelcactuspgh.com)

 

“his lips drink water / but his heart drinks wine”  — E.E. Cummings, "Doll's Boy's Asleep"

Bottle of Condes de Albarei Albarino
at Spoon

You can’t go wrong with the food at Spoon — and the same could be said of the wines. Try the Condes de Albarei albarino, a crisp white with the sweetness of peach and apricots and a dry finish. It’s a fine way to round out your summer: an evening in a lounge-like restaurant, sipping a chilled glass of albarino. —KB

(134 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty; 412/362-6001, spoonpgh.com)

Glass of Cockburn’s Port
with a cigar, at The Wine Loft

The urbane Wine Loft is a playground for sophisticated vices. Cockburn’s port is a revelation for the taste buds, and a sharply dressed man or woman with an appetite for cigars will prefer this port to any solid dessert in existence. After a few healthy servings of tapas, fashionable couples retire to conversation and stogie-puffing before indulging in another sip. —RI

(2773 Tunnel Blvd., South Side; 412/586-5335, thewineloftpittsburgh.net)

Glass of 2009 Tasca d’Almerita Regaleali Nero d’Avola
at Enoteca at Il Pizzaiolo Mt. Lebanon

What’s better than a nero d’avola wine produced with care in Sicily? We can’t come up with anything — especially when the wine is served by the glass with a Neapolitan pizza at Enoteca, the intimate wine bar at Il Pizzaiolo Mt. Lebanon. The 2009 red from Tasca d’Almerita exhibits hints of berries and vanilla. —KM

(703 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon; 412/344-4123, ilpizzaiolo.com)

Bottle of Pedralonga do Umia Tinto
at Cure

With a name that sounds like Spanish nobility, this unfiltered, natural red wine from the Rías Baixas region is made predominantly from the mencia grape. It’s one of countless pairings available at Cure, where vino and gourmet meats come together. The sommelier will be happy to advise casual wine drinkers, but the more you know about vineyards and varieties, the more thoroughly you’ll appreciate the stock. —RI

(5336 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/252-2595, curepittsburgh.com)

Quartet of Red Taster Pours
at Toast! kitchen & wine bar

Impress your date with a trip to Toast!, where the staff is knowledgeable and the bar is quiet. Though the options are plentiful, one combination of reds is a trio of cabernet sauvignon, malbec and zinfandel with a nebbiolo to finish. The warmth of the dimmed-red walls and the open-beam ceiling is enough to spark long conversations — whether or not you know a thing about wine. —AW

(5102 Baum Blvd., Bloomfield; 412/224-2579, toastkitchen-winebar.com)

Bottle of 2009 Pittsburgh Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
during a cellar concert, at Pittsburgh Winery

Each wine produced at Pittsburgh Winery is made with love, as the owners handle everything in-house. The 2009 cabernet sauvignon, a perennial favorite featuring grapes from Sonoma County, Calif., is smooth with complex layers and fruit undertones, such as plum and blackberry. Enjoy the cab during one of the winery’s cellar concerts; combining it with live music and the cozy atmosphere ensures that your night will be an enjoyable one. —KM

(2815 Penn Ave., Strip District; 412/566-1000, pittsburghwinery.com)

Bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label
at Perlé

“Perlé” literally means “pearls” in French — but in the case of our local Champagne bar, it also refers to the bubbles that rise through a glass of Champagne. Sophistication is encouraged at Perlé, where marble countertops, sumptuous cushions and romantic lighting await the discerning patron. Even among Champagnes, Veuve Clicquot is no ordinary bottle of bubbly: The vineyard is older than our country, and the taste is timeless — a hint of peach and pear, with a refined finish. —RI

(25 Market Square, downtown; 412/471-2058, perlepgh.com)

Bottle of La Crema Pinot Noir
with your filet, at The Capital Grille

A member of the master sommelier’s selection at The Capital Grille, La Crema’s pinot noir from California’s Sonoma Coast will tempt and please your palate with scents and flavors of plum, cherry and dark chocolate. While a filet is the suggested pairing, this glass is also perfect for an after-work drink at the bar, where you can catch up on the news or debate with colleagues in a calm setting. —KH

(301 Fifth Ave., downtown; 412/338-9100, thecapitalgrille.com)

Bottle of Hana Hou Hou Shu Sparkling Nigori Sake
at Umi

Maybe you've tried sake only while dining at a hibachi restaurant. Don’t let that be your sole encounter with the rice liquor. Effervescent and rosy, Hana Hou Hou Shu’s sparkling nigori sake, imported from Japan, has a subtle sweet flavor. This unfiltered sake doesn’t have much of an aftertaste, so it should pair well with a number of items on Umi’s menu, including shrimp tempura. —KM

(5849 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside; 412/362-6198, bigburrito.com/umi)

Glass of 2011 Fleur de California Pinot Noir
at Tender Bar + Kitchen

Tender is housed in the old Arsenal Bank building, and the restaurant borrows from the structure's Prohibition-era feel. That said, we recommend embracing the repeal of the 18th amendment with a glass of the Fleur de California pinot noir. You can swirl this bright, fruity wine in your glass and feel oh-so-sophisticated as you ponder how anyone thought this joy should be outlawed. —KB

(4300 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/402-9522, tenderpgh.com)

 

“A cup of tea would restore my normality.”  — Douglas Adams

 

Glass of Thai Iced Tea
at Smiling Banana Leaf

If you’re fending off thirst and a sweet tooth while strolling the Bryant Street area of Highland Park, head to the Smiling Banana Leaf for a refreshing Thai iced tea. Let the cold blend of black tea, sugar and spice blend with half & half for a tangerine-colored swirl. Get it to go or order a glass with the ginger chicken. —KH

(5901 Bryant St., Highland Park; 412/362-3200, smilingbananaleaf.com)

Cup of Egyptian Cardamom Coffee
at Sphinx Café

Sphinx Café is your type of place if you love bohemian ambiance; the converted church features walls covered in tapestries and a floor scattered with poufs. Help yourself to a hookah, but be sure to get an Egyptian cardamom coffee to go with it. It’s brewed in the traditional style, using a fine grind and spiced with cardamom pods to produce some of the richest coffee that will ever cross your lips. —KB

(401 Atwood St., Oakland; 412/621-1153, sphinx-cafe.com)

Almond Frappe
at Biddle’s Escape

An almond frappe at Biddle’s Escape is a wonderful way to scoot off the grid twice over. Almonds may seem better infused in candy bars, but the nut flavor works well when combined with coffee. You may think that all there is to Regent Square is Braddock Avenue, but Biddle’s is a few blocks away and offers ample (non-smoking, dog-friendly) outdoor seating. Grab a board game off the shelf and spend the afternoon with friends, or squirrel away with a book for a quiet afternoon in the sun. —AW

(401 Biddle Ave., Regent Square; 412/999-9009, facebook.com/biddlesescape)

Glass of Boylan Soda
with your Superburger, at Hello Bistro

You’ve never had a Boylan soda like you will at Hello Bistro. Why? Because Hello Bistro is the first restaurant in southwestern Pennsylvania to boast a Boylan fountain. Hello Bistro says its E'nP Superburger — the same served at every Eat’n Park — is “served with nostalgia.” An old-fashioned birch beer — in the shade of fizzy red — is a perfect pairing. —AW

(3605 Forbes Ave., Oakland; 412/687-8787, hellobistro.com)



Homemade Root Beer
at D’s SixPax & Dogz

Before you ever tasted beer, you probably enjoyed a can of Mug or Barq’s. Dark and bubbly, root beer takes you back to the days of pizza parties and sleepovers. For grown-ups, there’s the homemade root beer at D’s SixPax & Dogz, an artisanal rendering of the sassafras-flavored beverage. If you’re a teetotaler (or you’re driving), D’s root beer is shockingly delicious, and its frothy mug fits well on a tableful of craft brews. —RI

(1118 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square; 412/241-4666, ds6pax.com)

Cup of Papua New Guinea Koban
at Commonplace Coffee

No hour-old pots here: Smell and watch as the Commonplace Coffee barista carefully prepares your cup of Papua New Guinea Koban coffee. It’s a delightful treat for the adventurous, and even cream-and-sugar people might want to take this one black. Sit with your cup and saucer and enjoy Commonplace's Squirrel Hill spot. —KH

(5827 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/422-0404, commonplacecoffee.com)

Glass of House-Infused Seltzer
at Thin Man Sandwich Shop

With all there is to see and do in the Strip, you might want a deceptively simple drink to accompany your long walk along the river. Thin Man Sandwich Shop makes drinks with the help of Pittsburgh Seltzer Works — and it turns out that honey and lemon are flavors perfectly enjoyable outside of winter teas. The bubbles of the seltzer lighten the honey and make for a refreshing change from your average lemon water. —AW

(50 21st St., Strip District; 412/586-7370, thinmansandwichshop.com)

Pot of Mint-Chocolate Tea
at Tazza d'Oro

Next time you’re looking for a soothing hot tea, stop by Tazza d’Oro for a clear-glass pot of mint-chocolate goodness. The cool mint paired with a mild chocolate flavor makes this a great tea to enjoy with Tazza’s Sunday breakfast panini. It’s a flavor for all occasions, but we recommend drinking it during a chill work session with your laptop and Wi-Fi. —KH

(125 N. Highland Ave., Highland Park; 412/362-3676, tazzadoro.net)

Spring Vs. Summer Tea Tasting
at Dobra Tea

At Dobra Tea, the employees will pull up a stool to help you navigate the 100-plus teas on the 64-page menu. It’s hard to choose, so it's wise to get some built-in options: Try the spring vs. summer tasting set, and you’ll have the opportunity to compare two darjeeling harvests. Notice differing colors, smells and tastes; lift the pot’s lid and compare the leaves. In short, become a little more of an aficionado. —KB

(1937 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/449-9833, dobrateapgh.com)

Iced Hazelnut Mocha
at Espresso a Mano

An afternoon in Lawrenceville wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Espresso a Mano. Whether you’re strolling around Butler Street or looking for a place to have a session with your laptop, the fact remains that few things in this world are better paired than coffee, chocolate and hazelnuts. It’s not too sweet for the sugar-averse and not too strong for the coffee-impaired (you know who you are on both counts). —AW

(3623 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/918-1864, espressoamano.com)

 

“I drink to make other people more interesting.” — Ernest Hemingway

 

Pitcher of White Sangria
at Round Corner Cantina

Hop on a stool at one of Round Corner’s outdoor high-tops and order a pitcher of crisp sangria. Best shared with a friend during happy hour, a good pour of the white variety will yield proper proportions of sangria and fresh orange wedges; try keeping the ice and/or all of the oranges from falling out of the pitcher. It’s a trickier maneuver than you might expect. A summer breeze is the perfect complement. —AW

(3720 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/904-2279, roundcornercantina.com)

Mimosa
on a Sunday morning, at Park Bruges

This Highland Park spot offers several breakfast cocktails to pair with its fresh fare, including a seasonal morning beer cocktail. But the Mimosa is probably the go-to choice; far from a flute of O.J. with a dash of Champagne, this creation is a full wine glass of expertly crafted weekend refreshment. It’ll taste great alongside seasonal fruit or poutine. —SC

(5801 Bryant St., Highland Park; 412/661-3334, parkbruges.com)

Burnt-Almond Torte Milkshake
at Burgatory

The magic (and the treachery) of the hard, “heavenly” shakes at Burgatory: You can easily forget that you’re enjoying an adult beverage. The flavor of the house-turned vanilla-bean ice cream (and, in this case, bits of Prantl’s burnt-almond torte) suggests more dessert than cocktail. Trust us — this ain’t Dairy Queen. Unless you order the all-ages version, there’s amaretto and vanilla vodka in there, making this shake one of Pittsburgh’s most delicious indulgences. —SC

(Locations in Waterworks and Robinson Township; burgatorybar.com)

Pimm’s Blue Ribbon
at Meat & Potatoes

Pimm’s No. 1, a refined, gin-based concoction, is frequently paired with citrusy ingredients in a highfalutin’ cocktail called the Pimm’s Cup. Refreshing! But, you know, a little fancy for day-to-day purposes. Meat & Potatoes mixes Pimm’s with St. Germain, lemon ... and Pabst Blue Ribbon. The intrusion of a working-class brew gives the drink a crisp punch — but the blend is still perfectly light. Who knew Pabst could be a mixer? —SC

(649 Penn Ave., downtown; 412/325-7007, meatandpotatoespgh.com)



Glass of Red Star Kombucha
on tap, at Franktuary Lawrenceville

When’s the last time you sipped tea beer? Try Red Star kombucha, available on tap, during your next visit to Franktuary’s Lawrenceville location. The Troy Hill brewery’s chief product is “raw, unfiltered, alive,” bubbly and gluten-free; it contains live cultures that form a glob-like “mother culture” (hence the motto “In glob we trust”). Franktuary usually serves original (green tea) but has served Zinger Buch (or ginger) in the past. —KM

(3810 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/586-7224, franktuary.com)

Growler of Picket Bone Dry Cider
to drink out back, at Arsenal Cider House

The offerings at Arsenal Cider rotate seasonally, but one mainstay is the Picket Bone Dry. With the use of Champagne yeast, Arsenal creates a flavor more reminiscent of your favorite bubbly than a typical sweet cider. Though Arsenal isn’t a bar and doesn’t serve by the glass, there’s a patio where you can bring your growler and escape in the backyard. Go on, pretend it’s your own. —KB

(300 39th St., Lawrenceville; 412/260-6968, arsenalciderhouse.com)

The Yinzerita
at Local Bar + Kitchen

The Yinzerita is downright acrobatic: A goblet of crushed ice and tequila, with an upside-down bottle of I.C. Light Mango sticking out of it. Somehow, the margarita glass is sturdy enough to support the beer protruding from the blood-red concoction. The folks at Local Bar + Kitchen pride themselves on all-native ingredients. Although Iron City has flown the Lawrenceville coop, it’s still Pennsylvanian — and the taste can be savored here. —RI

(1515 E. Carson St., South Side; 412/431-1125, localpgh.com)



The Pickle Shot
at Sonny’s Tavern

Sonny’s Tavern is a little smoky, a little run-down and a little (no, a lot) of pure Pittsburgh. The house special is, fittingly, the pickle shot. If you find the idea of a shot of Ketel One vodka chased by pickle brine curious, you’re not alone. You might teeter on your bar stool, hesitant to throw back the contents of these two plastic cups — until you do it and experience pure pickle bliss. —KB

(630 S. Millvale Ave., Bloomfield; 412/683-5844)

Bottle of Magners Pear Cider
at Hough’s Taproom and Brewpub

You don’t have to travel to find one of Ireland’s favorite drinks. Known in the Emerald Isle as Bulmers, you’ll find it as Magners in Greenfield. Pear cider is softer than the traditional apple option and is velvety to the taste; it won’t overpower whatever you’re eating. Hough’s extensive beer list and friendly atmosphere make this sports bar a great place to try something new. —AW

(563 Greenfield Ave., Greenfield; 412/586-5944, houghspgh.com)

Sake Bomb
at Little Tokyo Bistro

Little Tokyo befits its name: The quaint dining room is a slice of Japan, with a slick sushi bar where you can sample Asian beers, sakes and wines. Feeling punchy? Request a “sake bomb,” the practice of dropping a shot of rice liquor into a pint of beer. In an otherwise even-tempered restaurant, the sake bomb is a mischievous mixture. Like the Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh shot-ski, it’s something every adventurous reveler should try. —RI

(2122 E. Carson St., South Side; 412/488-9986, littletokyopittsburgh.com)

 

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The Factory Building on Homestead's Eighth Avenue is the site of tournaments and more.







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.
Review: Sienna Mercato

Review: Sienna Mercato

Matthew Porco, one of our Chefs of the Year, designs the menus at Sienna Mercato's downtown establishments.
An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

PittGirl has had enough of the criticism of fanatics and asks the media to stop labeling everyone.