Many Pittsburgh bars have solid beer lists, well-mixed cocktails or a bartender who's handy with a shot and a story. We need more than that. What makes these bars the best?



(page 2 of 7)

Best Classic Dive

Gooski’s

It’s Tuesday night. You’re already a little bit heady. You’re not quite ready to go home (but your car already is parked for the night). Where to? Gooski’s, of course. There are no-frills, inexpensive drinks. It’s smoky and often loud, especially when local punk, rock and metal bands are raging in the back room; when there aren’t, there’s a Ping-Pong table and a killer jukebox to keep you amused. Gooski’s has a seemingly gruff but extraordinarily hospitable bar staff. A good number of Pittsburghers name the wings at Gooski’s as the best in town, and the pierogi aren’t too shabby, either. Gooski’s is the perfect dive bar. 

3117 Brereton St., Polish Hill, 412/681-1658
 


 


 

Best Getaway/Best New Bar

Hidden Harbor

“What’s fun?,” you’re thinking. “As in, what’s ‘Let’s-get-bonkers’ fun?” The answer is Hidden Harbor. Crush your old-time notions that tiki bars are made of kitsch and serve crappy cocktails. The tiki resurgence is here, and Hidden Harbor is a destination bar that’s leading the charge. The drinks menu includes modern takes on tiki classics such as the warmly spiced Ishmael and the punchy, potent Curse of Pele. Classic tiki lovers will be thrilled with the weekly Tuesday night Tiki Time Machine and futurists will foam for Weird Science Wednesdays. Warning: These drinks are potent; pace yourself and consider ordering a few items from the bar’s very good food menu.

1708 Shady Ave., Squirrel Hill, hiddenharborpgh.com
 


 


 

While Pittsburgh Magazine recognizes the work of the bar owners and bartenders featured in this package, we also recognize that celebrating a party also must include a note of social responsibility. Alcohol isn’t for everyone.

This package is intended for readers 21 and older and despite some fun prompting, should not be considered a suggestion to over-consume alcoholic beverages. The legal limit for driving in Pennsylvania is a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent, but don’t even take it that far. Arrange for a designated driver, or take a taxi or rideshare home. Getting home in your own car isn’t worth receiving a DUI citation, or worse, taking your life or someone else’s because you were driving while intoxicated.

If you’re feeling unsafe at a bar because a fellow customer or a staff member is behaving inappropriately toward you, talk to a manager or bartender. If he or she is unwilling to assist you, talk to the police. Nobody should feel harassed or threatened while out drinking. Ever. If you believe that you or someone you love has a problem with alcohol abuse, seek help. Alcoholics Anonymous (900 Fifth Ave #500, Uptown; 412/471-7472, pghaa.org) and other organizations are there to aid in your recovery.

 


 

Best Complete Bar Program


photos by laura petrilla
 

Spoon

We could have dubbed Spoon as the best contemporary cocktail bar for the absurdly tasty and ever-rotating selection of cocktails. Or the best gin bar for its 60-plus bottle (and growing) gin list. Or best wine bar for its levels-deep wine program and savvy sommeliers. Or best bar service for its attentive, engaging bartenders and waitstaff. Or best restaurant bar program because Spoon’s drink list is a companion to its exceptional restaurant menu. All of this adds up to Spoon building the most complete bar program in Pittsburgh. So that’s what we’re calling it.

134 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty, spoonpgh.com


 


 

Best Bar for the Proletariat

Apteka

You’ll see a broad cross-section of Pittsburghers hanging out at Apteka, drinking crafted cocktails thoughtfully infused with house-made syrups and cordials. Bartenders and guest DJs at this vegan eatery spin tunes ranging from funky disco to experimental electronica. The flavor profiles of both the cocktails and the cuisine are deeply rooted in the local and eastern European heritage of the owners, but they are made with contemporary sensibilities. Cocktails cost the same ($6-9) as at many ho-hum bars yet rank among the most delicious in Pittsburgh. Apteka is proof that the semi-recent revival of cocktail menus built from handcrafted, considered ingredients is something that everyone can enjoy.

4606 Penn Ave., Bloomfield, aptekapgh.com
 


 


 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Pittsburgh's Best Bars

The Best Bars in Pittsburgh Right Now

The Best Bars in Pittsburgh Right Now

Many Pittsburgh bars have solid beer lists, well-mixed cocktails or a bartender who's handy with a shot and a story. We need more than that. What makes these bars the best?
Pittsburgh's Distillers Launch A Spirited Comeback

Pittsburgh's Distillers Launch A Spirited Comeback

Long before Kentucky was bourbon country, whiskey’s home was southwestern Pennsylvania. Even the federal militia that suppressed the Whiskey Rebellion couldn’t dry up Old Monongahela; it took Prohibition to do that. Now a new generation of distillers is still-crazy, after all these years.
The Wine Experts: Meet Pittsburgh's Super Sommeliers

The Wine Experts: Meet Pittsburgh's Super Sommeliers

Restaurant wine experts help to break down stereotypes associated with their profession.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

America’s “Gratest” Celebration of Cheese is Coming to Pittsburgh

Sample cheese of every rind during the American Cheese Society’s annual Festival of Cheese.

Watch: 12 Questions with WTAE's Sally Wiggin

The WTAE anchor was voted Best Journalist by readers of Pittsburgh Magazine. She answers 12 random questions ranging from her most memorable vacation to who should portray her in a movie.

Tax Credit Brought Mister Rogers Flick to Pittsburgh

The granting of the credit means the majority, if not most of the movie starring Tom Hanks, will indeed be shot in the Pittsburgh area.

Jeff Goldblum Day is Causing a Stir in the ’Burgh

Local venues will be celebrating the native actor Friday with Goldblum-themed merchandise and events.

Pittsburgh Developer Offers Location for Riverfront Swings

A developer in the South Side may fulfill KDKA anchor Ken Rice’s wish for shaded benches along the city’s riverfronts.

Expert Opinions on How HQ2 Could Change Pittsburgh

From jobs to housing to technology, six areas which would be impacted if Amazon chose Pittsburgh for its HQ2.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

The Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in July

The Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in July

This month's best bets in the 'Burgh.
Best of the 'Burgh 2018: Readers' Choice Poll Results

Best of the 'Burgh 2018: Readers' Choice Poll Results

Diners, food trucks, dive bars and more. Here's the most popular stuff in town.
Restaurant Review: The Twisted Frenchman is an Ambitious Endeavor

Restaurant Review: The Twisted Frenchman is an Ambitious Endeavor

Andrew Garbarino moved his fine-dining restaurant into a multimillion-dollar new home. Does it live up to its new digs?
Vietnam Vets – The Warriors No One Wanted to Thank

Vietnam Vets – The Warriors No One Wanted to Thank

When veterans returned from Vietnam, they didn't often hear the phrase “Thank you for your service.” But now, Pittsburgh veterans think people are learning to separate the war from the warrior.
Sadie's Tree: A Plea for Kindness in Memory of a Bullied Teen

Sadie's Tree: A Plea for Kindness in Memory of a Bullied Teen

In an obituary read round the world, the family of Bedford, Pa., teen Sadie Riggs called out those who had bullied her and pleaded for people to be kind to one another. A year after Sadie’s death, lessons remain to be learned from her suicide.
Pittsburgh Area Fireworks 2018: When & Where to Watch Them

Pittsburgh Area Fireworks 2018: When & Where to Watch Them

You can get your fill of fireworks throughout the long holiday week, if you know where and when to look.
Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Sunrise, Sunset: Pittsburgh Playhouse's Second Act

Sunrise, Sunset: Pittsburgh Playhouse's Second Act

The curtain is closing this month on the historical Pittsburgh Playhouse in Oakland, but it will rise again when Point Park University this fall unveils its new theater Downtown, a space with a history of its own.
A Matter of Pride: Delta Foundation's Struggles with Success

A Matter of Pride: Delta Foundation's Struggles with Success

Within the span of 10 years, the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh has brought the city’s annual Pride festival to previously unimaginable heights. That growth, however, has left some members of the community behind — and unhappy.
Best Restaurants 2018

Best Restaurants 2018

This year we recommend 40 establishments as our region's top restaurants.For the second year in a row, we categorize the restaurants in All-Arounders, Killer Casual, Fancy Night Out and Classic Pittsburgh to help you find whatever suits your mood.
Edit Module