Bar Exam: The Headkeeper
Love tapas? This is your new go-to bar in Greensburg.
During The Headkeeper's "Keeper Night Special," you get to keep the glass after buying a draft.
Broadly speaking, I’m a fan of Greensburg. I wouldn’t say I’m looking at real estate there or anything, but I can’t recall a trip to the small town that I haven’t enjoyed. I love The Palace Theatre, with its lineup of great performers usually associated with another era but still vital and entertaining. I have a great deal of affection for Warp Zone, probably the greatest repository of retro video games and pop-culture ephemera within 100 miles of Pittsburgh.
Until recently, though, I didn’t have a go-to bar and restaurant in Greensburg. I’d enjoyed meals there before, but no specific place stuck in my mind. Then I visited The Headkeeper.
The two-floor restaurant and bar on the edge of town bills itself as a tapas restaurant but looks more like an industrially themed sports bar. In a way, that’s apt; the menu does offer smaller portions designed for sharing, but these are not the dainty bites you may be conjuring when you think of tapas.
Yes, there are tasty and fresh dishes with clear European inspiration (I ordered the pan-seared shrimp with kalamata olives and feta twice). But The Headkeeper also offers a menu of more traditional pub-grub choices done tapas style. Fried calamari in chili sauce with Asian slaw. Black bean, sweet corn and pepper-jack cheese dip with hot pretzels and tortilla chips. Gyro eggrolls. A heaping bowl of scallion and rosemary potatoes.
Be hungry. Be very hungry.
Even for a party of two, you’ll want to try four or five dishes; most run from $10-14. That will more than fill you up, though; these aren’t two-bite tastings. In most cases, these run closer to family-style offerings.
The menu is so alluring that it’s taken me this long to mention the beer, and there is quite a bit of it. The Headkeeper only has 10 taps, but a full wall of the lower floor is given over to a stuffed beer case housing 600-plus bottles from around the world. Your favorite American micros are well-represented, along with those from about any other beer-swigging country you can name. Those who prefer reading to browsing should know that the selection changes so often that no beer list is present; rather, you’ll be encouraged to wander up to the glowing doors and stare in hoppy awe until a winner emerges. (Locals should note that this spot offers mix-and-match six packs, too.)
With two floors of seating and a patio, Headkeeper can accommodate whatever you have in mind; the first floor is a festive-but-reasonable sports bar, and the second is more apropos for dates and conversation (though it’s not always open).
I’d like to think I have a go-to bar in most corners of the region — but in many cases, that’s mostly because I only know one bar in a particular hamlet. That’s not the case here; I can’t imagine passing through Greensburg again without visiting The Headkeeper. What’s more, I wish there was one in my corner, too. If your travels bring you within 10 miles of the place, schedule a dinner stop. It won’t be your only visit.