20 Best Bars in Pittsburgh
Your guide to the cocktail lounges, brew pubs, wine bars and dives that make Pittsburgh more than a "shot and a beer" town.
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D’S SIX PAX & DOGZ
Want to mess with a beer snob? Take him to D’s, lead him back to the apartment-sized, refrigerated room full of cool bottles ready for the picking, and tell him he has only 60 seconds to decide. This snob will run frantically in a circle before he collapses in front of the Dogfish Heads. Aside from having thousands of beers to choose from (seriously) and the best hot dogs in Pittsburgh, it’s a great place for families—kids love hot dogs with crazy toppings on them; parents love beer. Bars in a long row on Braddock in Regent Square vie for your attention, but D’s should always be your first stop.
1118 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square. Info: 412/241-4666, ds6pax.com
It’s bizarre and busy in the way that every out-of-the-way bar should be. Three sections segregate the place into a small, calm front bar; a main dining room (inside an old railroad car); and a raucous, entertainment-focused back bar (with the railroad car running through it). There’s plenty to do at Duke’s: enough TVs to qualify as a proper sports bar, karaoke every night of the week, live stand-up comedy, game machines and more. But the bar’s big secret is the oddly serene outdoor patio hiding behind the back bar, framed by the remains of a beautiful, graffiti-covered concrete wall. It’s a pleasant, secluded spot and more than worth the trip.
5891 Baptist Road, Bethel Park. Info: 412/835-0697
Tucked underneath Firehouse Lounge is this Prohibition-style gem, with a new list of amazing cocktails on an almost nightly basis. The mixologists can recommend a drink, or you can pick one off the board. There’s no such thing as a bad drink at Embury, named after late barman David Embury. I randomly selected one called Faust Pact and received a spicy, eminently drinkable cocktail; later, I learned that it contained, among other things, jalapeño and cayenne pepper. I never would’ve ordered this if I had known what was in it—but I loved every drop. For the truly adventurous, try the absinthe cocktails.
2216 Penn Ave., Strip District. Info: 412/434-1230, firehouse-lounge.com
Here’s what you should do: Put on a concert T-shirt you bought in 1992. Find three or four friends. Wander in, grab the big booth by the window and buy the first round for everyone (pick some reliable microbrew from the ample lineup displayed behind the bar). Let the conversation flow. After a few minutes, saunter over to the jukebox and pick a lineup of songs by The Clash, The Jam and Johnny Cash. Later, challenge someone in the group to pingpong (the table’s in the back). At this moment, you'll feel like the coolest person in Pittsburgh—because you are.
3117 Brereton St., Polish Hill. Info: 412/681-1658