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 6 of 7)

Best Inclusive Barspace


 

Blue Moon

What is the best gay bar in Pittsburgh like? Well ... like a prototypical Pittsburgh spot, really. But with framed pictures of notable drag queens on the walls. Blue Moon for years has been gaining a reputation for can’t-miss events such as the T&A Thursday drag shows and the uproarious, utterly bizarre Quick & Shameless Comedy Hour. Since its 2002 opening, however, it’s been an unpretentious and effortlessly inclusive example of a neighborhood gay bar — and one where all are most assuredly welcome. The drinks are cheap, the atmosphere is friendly and convivial, the staff is friendly and the back room, oddly laid out though it may be, is a perfect hangout.

5115 Butler St., Lawrenceville
 


 


 

Best Old-School Neighborhood Bar


 

Nied’s Hotel

Plenty of watering holes, from Burgettstown to Blairsville, preserve the traditional look and feel of the western Pennsylvania neighborhood bar: Cold beer in short-pour glasses, massive quantities of food for minimal expense, the evening news on a ceiling-level TV. None, however, are as worthy of your time and regular patronage as Nied’s, which continues to serve as both the platonic ideal of the form and a perfect everyday tavern. This is a place to stop whenever you’re hungry and thirsty — or whenever the Nied’s Hotel Band is playing.

5438 Butler St., Lawrenceville, niedshotel.myfastsite.com
 


 


 

Best Longstanding Urban Dive


photo by evan custer

 

Squirrel Hill Cafe (Squirrel Cage)

It’s been a long day. You don’t want anything complicated; you don’t want anything grandiose. In a few days, you’ll want craft cocktails, thoughtful menus, careful decor. Today? You want the opposite. You want a room free of pretension where you can have a few drinks without going broke, get a no-nonsense bite and hide away for a few hours. And so you return to the eternal Squirrel Cage, the spartan dive that always has felt like an alcove of simplicity in an ever-changing neighborhood. Sure, it’s smoky in here. Because it always has been. You’re here because it hasn’t changed. It never will. Aliens could conquer Earth, and twentysomethings would still be drinking at the Squirrel Cage.

5802 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill, 412/521-3327
 


photo by evan custer
 


 

Best Whiskey and Cocktail Saloon


photo by evan custer

 

Acacia

It may be hard to picture in 2016, but it wasn’t long ago — less than 10 years — when great cocktails were hard to come by in Pittsburgh. Bygone Strip District saloon Embury stood at the vanguard of the scene; from its ashes rose Acacia, an island of impeccable drink creation in the middle of Carson Street. This is the sort of place where one should ignore personal preferences and ask the bartender for a recommendation; whatever is created may well be the best drink you’ve had in weeks. The whiskey list is unparalleled as well, and the hush-hush newspaper-on-window aesthetic makes Acacia the local go-to for clandestine meetings with undercover agents. Or anyone else with whom you’d like to have a quiet conversation.

2108 E. Carson St., South Side Flats, acaciacocktails.com
 


photo by evan custer
 


 

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

Amazon Includes Pittsburgh in its Top-20 List for HQ2

The list of 20 was narrowed from 238 proposals Amazon received in October. So which other cities made the cut?

New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

The mystery thriller is latest to cash in on the city’s filming opportunities.

Andrew McCutchen: Thanks for the Memories

It's hard to overemphasize McCutchen's impact on the Pirates and its fan base.

Big Ben Not Ready to Retire –– But He's Making Plans

Ben Roethlisberger will do as many former athletes have and start the next phase of his career with a dining venture.

Researchers and Pittsburgh Dad Agree - The ‘Man Flu’ is Real

There is now science to challenge the popular notion that men are wimps when sidelined by a cold.

High Praise - The Three Steelers Added to the Fight Song

The writers of one of the most familiar Steelers fight songs has updated the lyrics to include the teams newest stars.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Restaurant Review: or, The Whale

Restaurant Review: or, The Whale

The Downtown restaurant is a captivating, if costly, catch.
Celebrating 5 Pittsburghers Who Built Careers Behind the Bar

Celebrating 5 Pittsburghers Who Built Careers Behind the Bar

Pittsburgh is a city that celebrates its neighborhood bars. In some of those spots, second- and third-generation regulars are pulling up their stools to be served by someone who started pouring drinks decades ago.
Second Chances: Crossroads in the Kitchen

Second Chances: Crossroads in the Kitchen

People working to overcome substance abuse problems and ex-offenders discover a welcoming environment in restaurant kitchens.
How to Pamper Yourself in Pittsburgh

How to Pamper Yourself in Pittsburgh

Looking to beat the winter doldrums? We round up the best places and experiences for a little personal indulgence.
The Growing Popularity of Shooting a Clay Pigeon

The Growing Popularity of Shooting a Clay Pigeon

Skeet shooting is taking off as a favored western Pennsylvania hobby.
Top 10 Things to Do in January in Pittsburgh

Top 10 Things to Do in January in Pittsburgh

This month's best bets in the 'Burgh.
2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

No one would blame the veteran WTAE anchor if she took time off while undergoing intensive breast cancer treatment. Instead, she chose to use humor and grace to educate and inspire others, all while in the public eye.
Edit Module