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

Watch: Rare and in Color Footage of Pittsburgh in 1928

Film from the 1920s is most always in black and white. We stumbled onto this short reel from 1928 after it had gone through an early hand-coloring process. It gives you an idea how things really looked in Pittsburgh 91 years ago.

Wrapped in History: Your Chance to See Real Mummies

The largest collection of real mummies is coming to Pittsburgh this fall.

Troy Polamalu and his Hair Get Last Word in New Commercial

The former Steelers safety goes to head-to-head with Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. The ending is classic.

Behind the Scenes with Pittsburgh Chefs

Watch some of the city's most prolific chefs and restaurateurs in action.

This Class Teaches You How to Lose Your Yinzer Accent

A community course at Allegheny County Community College is ready to teach you how and why to leave your Pittsburgh accent at home.

Sandcastle's New Water Slide Promises a Wild Ride

The Homestead water park's new slide will send riders free falling at 26-feet-per second.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Steelers Challenge: Making the Most of Big Ben’s Final Years

Steelers Challenge: Making the Most of Big Ben’s Final Years

The Steelers couldn’t find a franchise quarterback between Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger. Now, with Roethlisberger as the sole remaining link to the team’s Super Bowl success, the time for another championship run is now — or it might not be for a while.
Restaurant Review: Alta Via

Restaurant Review: Alta Via

With its first new restaurant in 15 years, the big Burrito Restaurant Group proves it still has it.
The Amazing and Important Things Being Taught Off Campus

The Amazing and Important Things Being Taught Off Campus

For Pittsburgh’s universities, some of the most dynamic research and learning take place beyond campus borders.
Coworking Gets Down to Business in Pittsburgh

Coworking Gets Down to Business in Pittsburgh

Sharing a workspace becomes more than just a place to plug in a laptop for entrepreneurs seeking an environment where they interact and help others.
Find Out How to Play Hockey at the Bottom of a Pool

Find Out How to Play Hockey at the Bottom of a Pool

Penguins skate on the ice; stingrays swim below it. See what happens when they toss the puck in the pool.
Our 50 Years: Myron Cope on Sports

Our 50 Years: Myron Cope on Sports

In the earliest years of Pittsburgh Magazine, we didn’t quite know how to cover sports — so we just let Myron Cope say whatever he wanted.
#Shalieve in Love: An Exclusive Look at the Shaziers' Wedding

#Shalieve in Love: An Exclusive Look at the Shaziers' Wedding

Ryan Shazier and wife Michelle Rodriguez never lost faith that they’d get their dream day. A year and a half after the Steelers linebacker suffered a severe spinal injury, he danced at his wedding.
11 Real Pittsburgh Weddings

11 Real Pittsburgh Weddings

Chosen from more than 70 submissions, these 11 couples celebrated with lots of personal touches at local venues. We share all of the details that got them to “I Do.”
Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in August

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in August

Your 10 best bets for this month include Rock, Reggae & Relief, Shawn Mendes and a Party at the Pier.
Why These 6 Days in 1969 Were So Important to Pittsburgh

Why These 6 Days in 1969 Were So Important to Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, but we're not the only ones. We take a look at six notable events from 1969.
Edit Module