BuzzNtheBurgh.com welcomes you to Pittsburgh, home of The Steelers, The Penguins and The Pirates and the 2009 G20 Summit.Our 2009 Official Tourist Guide is designed to tell you about the numerous locations in Pittsburgh where you can grab dinner, watch a game or enjoy the unique ambiance of Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh is fortunate enough to have some of the best upscale restaurants and some of the more unique dive bars. We can’t cover them all in this guide, so we have picked out some of our personal favorites that best represent what Pittsburgh nightlife is all about.
We have broken our guide up into five sections, each of which represents an area of Pittsburgh where you my find yourself looking for fun.
One of the more historic districts of town, it is also one of the fastest growing business and residential areas in Pittsburgh. There are dozens of bars, clubs and restaurants along East Carson Street, as well as along the side streets, and deep into The Works. Starting at the corner of 10th and East Carson Street is Charlie Murdoch’s. This former church has been transformed into the only dueling piano bar within Pittsburgh City Limits. If you plan on going on a weekend, be sure to show up early if you want a good seat.
Moving away from town just a few blocks away on 12th street is Jack’s. Arguably one of the most famous bars in Pittsburgh, Jack’s (also known as The Jack Rose Bar) has been serving up drinks at rock bottom prices, 365 days a year, for as long as most Pittsbughers can remember. Every time Pittsburgh makes the national news, reporters invariably show up at Jack’s to get the real scoop on local opinion.
South Side is also fortunate enough to have two amazing sports bars located within yards of each other. Carson City Saloon. A remodeled bank building constructed in 1896 is a frequent winner of our Best Sports Bar award. On the other side of Carson Street, Mario’s South Side Saloon, recently brought under new management and completely revitalized, is drawing fantastic crowds and even some of our NHL and NFL champions!
In the same area you can find Diesel. With state of the art lighting and video screen, you can get out on the dance floor or hang out on the upstairs balcony or VIP area.They also feature live music that includes local talent and national touring acts.
Along the 1800 block of East Carson St are two locations worth mentioning. Fat Head’s has made a name for itself with their signature “headwich” style sandwich that are as big as your head, and 42 craft beers on tap, as well as many, many others in bottles. Casey’s Draft House is yet another unique stops in Pittsburgh. Monday is always Midget Madness Night with Manboy. A trip to the southside would not be complete with a stop at this nationally recognized weekly event. (Not here on Monday, stop in on Saturday, it’s a bit more relaxed, but just as fun!)
If you have not tried one yet, be sure to stop in at Primanti Brother’s for their famous sandwich. Ever time Monday Night Football is in town they set up cameras at one of the Primanti’s in town, now you can taste what they are talking about!
Venturing a block or two off of East Carson Street you can visit a couple of Pittsburgh’s true local bars. Venture a couple of blocks up the hill (away from the river) up 11th street until you come to Bradish St. and you will find Bar 11. It doesn’t really look much like a bar from the outside, but once you walk in you will know why it is on this guide. Tell owner Rob that BarSmart sent you, he was one of the first bar we ever reviewed and he is still going strong!
Along 18th Street is Pittsburgh’s only Five Star Dive Bar, St James Place Tavern. This place has everything that you would look for in a hangout: cheap drinks, great staff, pool tables and several televisions. There isn’t a lot more you could ask for in a dive bar, and yet they give it to you. Old style roller bowling, karaoke on Tuesday nights, open Mic comedy on Thursdays and for a special treat order up a batch of the Shady ‘Schetta. It’s not on the menu but it is awesome!
Further away from the city at the corner of Sarah and 29th is the Birmingham Bridge Tavern. This tavern has three levels, a consistent schedule of bands and they always get nominated for Best Wings in Pittsburgh. Make sure to try the Jerk Wings, or if you like things a bit hotter order up some Eric The Reds. South Side also includes an area called The Works, a multi-use property that includes high end shops, condos and excellent places to eat all next to one of our most beautiful river trails where, daily, hundreds of people ride, walk and job along the banks of the Monongahela river.
Next to that river, and a BarSmart reader favorite, is Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh, one of only three Hofbrauhaus locations in the United States, The Hof brews their own old world quality beers, cooks up some amazing German food, and features a riverside Bier Garden complete with it’s own massive outdoor bar! The Works is also the Pittsburgh home of The Cheescake Factory. I don’t think I need to tell you about the Cheesecake and what they offer, but in summer, just outside, you can enjoy live music and events almost every night of the week in summer!
A visit to Pittsburgh would not be complete without a few hours spent visiting this part of town. The mega-dance clubs may be gone, but the locally owned businesses are reallying turning things around. Along Smallman Street is the John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, which brings more than 250 years of Western Pennsylvania to life. In addition to showing how immigrants shaped this region the museum includes a 1790s log cabin and a 1940’s Pittsburgh trolley. In association with the Smithsonian Institution, the History Center has a dynamic museum-within-a-museum of traveling exhibits. Sports fans will want to check out the Western Pennsylvania Sports Musuem spanning 20,000 square feet of exhibit area over two floors. In addition to the obvious history of Super Bowl, World Series and Stanley Cup victories there is the high school football tradition that has produced nearly 50 pro quarterbacks. The museum captures the region’s evolution and impact as a sports leader over more than a century, from amateur to pro and across the spectrum of sports.
Right in the middle of the shopping district of The Strip you can find Roland’s Iron Landing, one of busier spots in the area, they feature a popular happy hour and full menu. Just up the road a few blocks, be sure to stop in at Saloon on the Strip where you will find casual people enjoying casual dining, unless there is a Steeler or Penguins game on, then Saloon draws one heck of a sports crowd.
The Firehouse Lounge is a bit upscale and a bit relaxed, they are knowing for hosting fun events, often involving a charity as well as their beautiful deck. Want some old fashioned mixed drinks served like they were meant to be? There is a bar just around the back that most Pittsburgher’s don’t even know about, so be sure to look for Embury. A the far end of The Strip in an area called Lawrenceville, Church Brew Works has been crafting their own beers since 1996. Not only do they brew award winning beers, they serve some of the best food in town.
Almost every picture that you have seen of Pittsburgh has been shot from atop of Mt. Washington. You can easily drive you way to the top, but taking a ride on one of Pittsburgh&’s Inclines, (The Mongahela and Duquesne Inclines) will give you a great view of the downtown, from The Golden Triangle to the Cathedral of Learning located on the Pitt campus in Oakland.
Still haven’t had enough of the view? The Grandview Saloon is a fantastic restaurant that features a beautiful deck around the back that gives you the full view along with some semi-fine dining. If you are looking for a more formal dining experience, Than LeMont, one of the most celebrated restaurants in Pittsburgh, is the place for you. Next year they are celebrating their 50th year in business, but this year they are offering some great discounts on both food and wine to start the celebration early!
Mt. Washington is also the home of Redbeards Mountain Resort and Yacht Club. They may not specialize in fine dining, and there may not be a yacht anywhere on Mt. Washington, but what they do have is a fun filled bar with plenty of great wing flavors.
Right below Mt. Washington, and just across the river from downtown Pittsburgh is Station Square. Originally constructed in the 1800’s, Station Square was a hub for train traffic, both cargo and passenger. Today it serves as a culture center with it’s mall shops and nightlife district with it’s many clubs. Before exploring the nightlife, you can tour the three rivers with Gateway Clipper fleet, book a Segway tour or see both the land and rivers at the same time with Pittsburgh’s very popular Just Ducky Tours.
Located in one of the most beautiful buildings in the area, The Gandy Dancer Saloon (formerly the station baggage area) is known for upscale dining at fantastic prices. You will also find quality dining options at The Melting Pot, Joes Crab Shack and of course Pittsburgh’s very own Hard Rock Cafe.
There are several clubs here as well, including, Zen (an upscale Asian inspired nightclub), Buckhead (a party bar) and Saddleridge (a country/rock bar) as well as several others to keep you entertained no matter what your tastes are.
The North Shore is quickly developing around Pittsburgh’s two new stadiums, PNC Park and Heinz Field and the recently opened Rivers Casino. As well as a couple of establishments that have been in the area for some time (the Clark Bar and Firewaters) there are several new establishments. Soho offers an upscale location to dine before or after an event while Atria’s also offers outdoor dining, a schedule of live music and a mini-Rock and Roll Hall of Fame of the region.
If you are looking for the club scene The North Shore has it, McFaddens, located right behind PNC Park is one of the largest clubs in town. They offer some of best drink specials in town and often have pre and post game events going out throughout all of the major sports seasons. They are also great for hosting your own event. The sister bar of McFadden’s, Calico Jacks, is located closer to Heinz Field and offers up much of the same atmosphere, with a hint of Mexican spices!
Hungry for something unique? Pop your head in at Bettis Grill 36, owned by Superbowl Champion Jerome Bettis. Not only is the food excellent, and nicely prices, but the crowd here is amazing. This is going to sound weird but make sure you visit the bathroom before you leave. No I’m not even going to hint about what you will find there. Just go.
If you are looking for more of a cultural stop, also located on the North Shore of Pittsburgh is the Andy Warhol Museum. The museum features extensive permanent collections of art and archives of the local artist.