Updated 5:40 p.m. March 21, 2019
Pittsburgh has *a lot* of bars — the most per capita of any city in America.
The city boasts 12 bars per 10,000 people, at least according to this 2013 ranking (it appears rankings haven’t been released more recently, so we’re going to assume were still No. 1 — you know, city of champyinz).
But this embarrassment of riches means navigating the city’s bar scene can be a challenging feat. We broke down the most essential bars, from grungy dives to swanky cocktail lounges, shot-and-a-beer joints to hipster havens. We focused solely on bars within the city limits (we’re sorry, Homestead and Millvale, you just missed the cut), and we tried to exclude bars within restaurants except for absolute must-visit places.
And now, we present in alphabetical order, Pittsburgh’s most essential 100 bars. (Is your favorite bar missing from the list? Tell us about it.)
1. 11th Hour Brewing Co., Lawrenceville
2. 5801 Video Lounge & Cafe, Shadyside
An Ellsworth Avenue institution, 5801 describes itself as “a gay establishment that is welcoming to all people.” Hang out during happy hour on the bar’s stunning patio with $3 well drinks.
3. The Abbey on Butler Street, Lawrenceville
Is it a bar? Is it a coffee shop? All of the above in this funeral parlor-turned-bar.
4. Acacia, South Side
Expect gorgeous glassware and creative drinks at this speakeasy, as hidden as it can get on Carson Street.
5. Allegheny City Brewing, North Side
This cozy North Side joint offers a changing list of seasonal beers with a little something for everyone, from IPAs to ciders.
6. Allegheny Elks Lodge on Banjo Night, North Side
Peak Pittsburgh right here. The Pittsburgh Banjo Club provides the soundtrack as long-time yinzers and hipsters come together for cheap beers and bar food.
7. The Allegheny Wine Mixer, Lawrenceville
Explore this lengthy, oft-changing wine list and soak up the European vibes.
8. Andys Wine Bar, Downtown
In the lobby of the Fairmont hotel, a night of jazz at Andy’s with a cocktail in hand is a treat for the ears and the tastebuds. Also look for special menus, like these astrology-themed cocktails.
9. Arsenal Cider House, Lawrenceville
Hard apple cider, wines and mead — get ‘yer daily rations at this Civil War-themed bar.
10. Bar 11, South Side
Color palette: Neon, lasers, black lights, and highlighters.
11. Bar Marco, Strip District
This bar is like a choose-your-own-adventure novel. Tell the bartender what spirits and flavors you like, and get a customized cocktail, made-to-order.
12. Belvedere’s Ultra-Dive, Lawerenceville
Bar in the front, party in the back, pool tables on the side. Also, occasional roller skating!
13. Biergarten, Downtown
Perched atop Hotel Monaco, check out this bar’s solid beer list, giant pretzel, and a skyline view.
14. Bierport Tap Room, Lawrenceville
With a wide-ranging selection of beer spread across two floors, this tiny taproom is good for more than just grabbing a beer before a Row House show.
15. Birmingham Bridge Tavern, South Side
A classic Pittsburgh tavern with consistent food, it boasts a half-dozen TVs to watch Pittsburgh sports.
16. Blue Moon, Lawrenceville
Blue Moon Bar on Butler Street describes itself as, “the friendliest gay bar in Pittsburgh!” Don’t miss drag shows hosted by Who’s Nexter Bambi.
17. Brillobox, Lawrenceville
Whatever you do, don’t forget a #brilloselfie.
18. Butcher and the Rye, Downtown
A towering bar houses a (very instagrammable) collection of more than 350 bourbons. Grab a seat at next to the whiskey bar or head upstairs for a more intimate bar experience.
19. Cappy’s Cafe, Shadyside
Top-notch trivia, solid drink specials, and you might even spot a special guest: Mayor Bill Peduto, who called the bar his “living space.”
20. Cattivo, Lawrenceville
Go for a show or for a themed dance night, like Drake Night or 2000s Top Hits Night.
21. Cavo Night Club, Strip District
In the midst of fog from a smoke machine, dance under a chandelier at this Strip District club.
22. Church Brew Works, Lawrenceville
The holy church of beer.
23. Cinderlands Beer Co., Lawrenceville
Cinderlands has quickly became a Lawrenceville favorite, an anchor location on Butler Street. Go for locally made craft beer classics, like kolsch, witbier, and a bunch of IPAs.
24. Cioppino Cigar Bar, Strip District
If you want to smoke a cigar with your booze, check out this cigar lounge.
25. Colony Cafe, Strip District
Hang out with cats while sipping your wine at this wine bar/cat cafe — you can’t take the wine with you, but you can adopt a cat to take home.
26. Couch Brewery, Highland Park
It’s all about comfort at this brewery, where you can order a recliner stout, a loveseat IPA, or an Ottoman Empire (puns!) Double IPA.
27. Coughlin’s Law Kitchen and Ale House, Mount Washington
Grab a seat on the patio to enjoy the view and the extensive beer list.
28. Dee’s Cafe, South Side
Ping pong, pool tables, and dirt-cheap beers.
29. East End Brewing Co., Larimer
Sip on an iconic Big Hop in the place where it’s made.
30. Evangeline, Downtown
Swanky vibes, well-made cocktails, and excellent people-watching atop the Distrikt Hotel lobby.
31. Fat Head’s Saloon, South Side
A standard for suds, this bar sells beer made at its Ohio brewery.
32. Federal Galley, North Side
Located in what used to be a bank, look for the cool vault remnants at the end of the bar while you wait for a cocktail.
33. Fl. 2, Downtown
Yes, this is a restaurant bar, but it has to make the list because it’s so dang good with its on-point interior design and specialty cocktails.
34. Full Pint Brewing Company, Lawrenceville
The brewery itself is located east of the city, but you can try out the brews at the Lawrenceville taproom. The White Lightning Belgian White is a standout.
35. Gandy Dancer Saloon, Station Square
All the bougieness of the Grand Concourse without the prices. Come for happy hour to score deep discounts on cocktails and seafood.
36. Gene’s Place, Oakland
With its cheap beer and legit dive bar status, Gene’s is an Oakland treasure. Regulars refer to it as their living room.
37. The Goldmark, Lawrenceville
Music is the key at this DJ-owned-and-operated bar that features DJ sets each night, from trap to reggae to disco.
38. Grapperia, Lawrenceville
Don’t miss the La Vanda, which features lavender-infused grappa, at this Italian grappa bar.
39. Hambone’s Pub, Lawrenceville
This family-owned fixture on Butler Street adorably describes itself as the “‘Hey, let’s go have some fun’ place,” with pinball, darts, and a weekly trivia night.
40. Harris Grill, multiple locations
Two words: Frozen cosmos. The bar’s got locations Downtown and on Mt. Washington, but we’re partial to the Shadyside location, though it’s closed right now after a fire.
41. Hemingway’s Cafe, Oakland
If you didn’t celebrate your 21st birthday at Hemingway’s, did you really turn 21?
42. Hidden Harbor, Squirrel Hill
A paradise of good design and tropical drinks with super fresh ingredients.
43. Hop Farm Brewing Co., Lawrenceville
Obviously, you’re going to find some hoppy beers here, hop heads. But there are a bunch of other options too, like a porter made with La Prima coffee.
44. Hough’s Tap Room, Greenfield
A beloved beer bar, 73 rotating taps pour beer at Hough’s. Order drafts in 4.7-ounce taster glasses for a chance to try a variety of beers in a DIY flight.
45. Howler’s, Bloomfield
Go for a show at the Coyote Cafe, stay for the seasonal beers on tap.
46. Independent Brewing Company, Squirrel Hill
Their motto: Local beer is fresh beer. Fresh beer is good beer. The bar serves solely beers made by Western Pennsylvania breweries.
47. Jack’s Bar, South Side
Open 365 days a year, this South Side bar serves booze starting at 7 a.m. every day (except for Sundays when it opens at 9 a.m.). As Jack’s website proudly declares: “Mixed drink prices are based on doubles, as that is all we serve.”
48. Jekyl & Hyde, South Side
It’s Halloween year-round at this tiny dive, so you can get ~*SpOOky*~ even in July.
49. Kelly’s Bar & Lounge, East Liberty
Well-mixed cocktails, acclaimed mac-and-cheese, and retro booths.
This new small-batch craft distillery with a bar is slinging daiquiris, highballs, and old fashioneds, along with snacks. On Thursday evenings, pair your cocktail with live music.
51. Il Tetto, Downtown
A retractable clear roof covers this rooftop bar so you can party under the skyline all year long — even when it’s rainy and gray, which is basically always.
52. Industry Public House, Lawrenceville
A Lawrenceville mainstay, order the Smokestack (smoked wood chips and whiskey).
53. Le Mardi Gras, Shadyside
In this dark, smoky bar, sip on s-t-r-o-n-g drinks and listen to the Rat Pack on the jukebox.
54. Lefty’s, Strip District
This Strip District bar truly embraces its dive vibe with a banged-up chalkboard sign out front and strong island ice teas inside.
55. The Library, South Side
A bar made for bookworms, scope out references to famous authors and notable books.
56. Lorelei, East Liberty
At this dual concept bar and beer hall, look for a lager-forward beer program, Alpine-inspired cocktails, and food by renowned chef Jamilka Borges.
57. Maggie’s Farm Rum Room, Strip District
You’d never guess based on its concrete block exterior, but there’s a cute bar and distillery inside this hulking Smallman Street warehouse. The distillery makes the first commercially available craft rum in the state since Prohibition.
58. Mario’s, South Side and Shadyside
Both the South Side and East Side Saloons are must-visits for a raucous, late-night party.
59. Max’s Allegheny Tavern, North Side
This low-key German bar has become a neighborhood favorite. Order the German beer flight.
60. Miracle, Downtown
Like Santa, it only shows up once a year, but this pop-up spot looks like “Christmas threw up everywhere” with kitschy decor and holiday-themed drinks.
61. Mixtape, Garfield
You can order a coffee or a cocktail (or a coffee cocktail) at this ultra-chill, no-tipping establishment.
62. Monterey Pub, North Side
Nestled among a patch of North Side row houses, it’s the one with an Irish flag out front. Grab a dark beer in a dark booth.
63. Moonlite Cafe, Brookline
A “home away from home” for Brookliners, this neighborhood pub is a go-to for drafts and specials (like $2.50 Coors).
64. Mullaney’s Harp and Fiddle Irish Pub, Strip District
Live Irish music, Ceili dancing, Guinness.
65. Nadine’s, South Side
First of all, Guy Fieri loves it here. Secondly, it’s part dive bar, part neighborhood diner.
66. New Amsterdam, Lawrenceville
Grab a spot on the deck to drink in all of Butler Street’s happenings and some beverages.
67. Nico’s Recovery Room, Bloomfield
A karaoke bar at heart, it’s got a surprisingly long list of sandwiches and bar food.
68. Packs & Dogs, Mt. Washington
The name says it all: Packs of beer and hot dogs (no packs of hot dogs).
69. The Park House, North Side
Snack on as much free popcorn as you like while listening to live music in this historic bar (the building dates back to 1892).
70. Penn Brewery, Troy Hill
Pittsburgh’s original craft brewery, it’s been producing craft beers since 1986 in German style. It’s a must-visit during Oktoberfest when you can drink beer out of milk cartons.
71. Piper’s Pub, South Side
Go early on a Saturday morning for Premier League soccer paired with a cask ale.
72. Primanti Bros., Strip District
Go to the original Strip District location for late-night beers (and obviously buy a Primanti Bros. sandwich while you’re there).
73. Redbeard’s, Mt. Washington
A casual Mt. Washington sports bar with a large outdoor patio, just steps away from Grandview’s grand view.
74. Redfin Blues, Herr’s Island in Troy Hill
After you go once, you’ll be dreaming of sunny afternoons on Redfin’s riverfront patio all winter long.
75. Refucilo Winery, Allegheny West
Grab a glass (or a bottle) of wine at the new Refucilo Winery, which specializes in wines from Argentina.
76. Remedy, Lawrenceville
Head upstairs to the sticky dance floor where you’ll spill your PBR while dancing with other sweaty people.
77. Roundabout Brewery, Lawrenceville
Tap selections change every few weeks, so you’ll just have to stop back often to try out all of this local brewery’s beers.
78. Round Corner Cantina, Lawrenceville
An evening on the lush patio is with some margaritas is as close to the tropics as you can get in Pittsburgh.
79. Ruggers Pub, South Side
It’s a rugby bar, but even if you’re not a rugby player, you can still stop by for a beer and to watch the sport on one of the bar’s many TVs.
80. Sharp Edge Bistro, Downtown
Boozy Belgian beers.
81. Sonny’s Tavern, Bloomfield
Pickle shots in a hipster dive bar. Look for the mural of cats drinking PBR.
82. Speakeasy at Omni William Penn, Downtown
Hidden in the basement of the Omni William Penn, this space was an honest-to-goodness speakeasy tucked away for years as a storage closet. Order the Pimm’s Cup.
83. Spirit, Lawrenceville
In this Moose Lodge-turned-bar, dance, eat pizza, play bingo and watch live pro wrestling.
84. Spring Hill Brewing, Spring Hill
Light and fruity Belgian-style beers take center stage in this century-old Workingmen’s Beneficial Union hall. Here’s the full tale.
85. The Squirrel Hill Cafe, Squirrel Hill
Also known as the Squirrel Cage, it’s a longtime Pittsburgh standby for pitchers and burgers. Even Anthony Bourdain ate there.
86. Smallman Galley, Strip District
Smallman Galley takes seasonal menus to the next level, like their Smallman Sandlot menu.
87. Southern Tier Brewing Company, North Side
The Pittsburgh outpost of the New York brewery, it’s located within walking distance of Heinz Field and PNC Park and is a much better alternative than some other options (cough, Tequila Cowboy, cough) for pre- and post-game drinks.
88. Stinky’s, Lawrenceville
Step 1: Go on karaoke night. Step 2: Order a burger. Step 3: Wash it down with a beer.
89. The Summit, Mt. Washington
Craft cocktails atop Mt. Washington. Bonus points if you take the incline there.
90. Take a Break, Lawrenceville
Don’t just pass by this Penn Avenue place if you’re into pool games and jumbo-sized mugs of beer.
91. Threadbare Cider, Spring Garden
Housed in a former tannery, this ciderhouse pumps out cider so good it’s like grown-up apple juice.
92. Tiki Lounge, South Side
Tropical drinks and floor-to-ceiling tiki kitsch — bamboo matting, thatched huts, glowing lanterns.
93. Tina’s, Bloomfield
You can get really yinzer and describe this as “the place where Tea Bags used to be,” Tina’s promises “classic vibes and classic cocktails at a vintage price.”
94. The Urban Tap, South Side
Between two locations, one in Shadyside and one in the South Side, there are 140 drafts to try.
95. Villa Reale, Downtown
Located along Strawberry Way, the sign for this nondescript spot literally just says “bar.” Order some of the cheapest drinks you’ll find Downtown at this charmingly no-frills watering hole.
96. War Streets Brewery at Bier’s Pub, North Side
The brewery names its beers for locations on Pittsburgh’s North Side, like the Resaca Place Red Ale and the Arch Street Amber Ale.
97. The Warren, Downtown
The brainchild of two long-time bartenders, The Warren has become a classic neighborhood spot for craft cocktails. Bonus: You can order sushi from Penn Cove next door.
98. Wigle Whiskey, Strip District
A drink at the distillery is always a treat, but even better — plan in advance and book a tour and tasting to learn about (and taste) Pennsylvania’s fascinating whiskey history. The bar will soon double in size meaning more space to drink whiskey.
99. William Penn Tavern, Shadyside
A Shadyside staple, it’s the dream Pittsburgh sports game room.
100. The Wine Bar at Market Street Grocery, Downtown
Downtown’s best-kept secret, this wine bar serves up Italian specialties in a cozy spot nestled behind a grocery store.