The 'Burgh's Best Beer Gardens
Drinking indoors during the summer is just wrong, so we’re offering the skinny on four of our favorite beer gardens.
The enclosed beer garden at Round Corner Cantina is a relaxing hideaway on a summer afternoon — and a great place for drinks and a bite on a hot night. Photo by Rob Larson.
There’s something deeply comforting about drinking outside … like you’ve engaged in a small rebellion against the bar-stool status quo. It almost inevitably becomes a communal experience, more than a little reminiscent of backyard parties that fade slowly into nighttime. These go-to Pittsburgh haunts offer familiarity in the commonalities between them: a porch-like setting, the chance to see some greenery and small slices of the unique cultures making up our city. Trust us: You can drink to that.
Round Corner Cantina
Located in the heart of Lawrenceville, the enclosed back patio at Round Corner Cantina is the perfect place to sit under paper lanterns and enjoy a summery array of beers, sangrias and cocktails — but especially margaritas. Because we all need to take it down a notch from time to time, most drinks are served in appropriately sized mason jars. With palm-tree murals and mariachi music playing softly in the background, Round Corner manages to bridge slightly cheesy with very cool, creating a vibe that is quintessentially summer.
(3720 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/904-2279, roundcornercantina.com)
Church Brew Works
For those who are a little wary of drinking in church, the outdoor seating in Church Brew Works’ hops garden offers a guilt-free alternative. Enjoy any of the award-winning brews with some unconventional pierogies, such as rattlesnake, and observe the diverse community that the spot attracts: folks dressed in their Sunday best, kids swinging their feet and stragglers off the sidewalk. Everyone comes together to drink and eat under the dissipating evening light, and there’s something strangely joyous about the whole thing. You could even call it holy — or maybe that’s just the beer.
(3525 Liberty Ave., Lawrenceville; 412/688-8200, churchbrew.com)
Hofbräuhaus' outdoor area overlooks the Hot Metal Bridge and the Mon. Photo by Dave DiCello.
Because Hofbräuhaus looks as if it’s part of a beer theme park, the fact that the employees wear lederhosen and dirndl dresses isn’t surprising. Overlooking the Hot Metal Bridge and the Mon, the restaurant’s expansive beer garden offers biers brewed on-premises and in accordance with strict German standards. Order your selection in a sloshed-over liter glass the size of a small pail — it’ll actively work your arm muscles when you hoist it up for a rowdy toast. Prost!
(2705 S. Water St., South Side; 412/224-2328, hofbrauhauspittsburgh.com)
Guests in Kelly’s beer garden float from table to table, checking in with what seems to be an entire population of friendly, familiar hipsters. But Kelly’s never seems exclusive. Feel free to solicit a quick ukulele lesson from the girl strumming away behind you. (Seriously, that might happen.) Then buy her a mint julep or some other old-school cocktail to say thanks. As you chat across a picnic table under strung lights, enjoying the company of your new friends, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a neighbor’s backyard — only, you know, with much better drinks.
(6012 Penn Circle South, East Liberty; 412/363-6012)