Sometimes you just want to go where everyone knows your name-- or at least go to a familiar place to relax after a long day at work. Dive bars have always been a part of the Pittsburgh scene.
It goes back to the city’s hard-working, blue collar mentality. Pittsburghers don’t need a whole lot of extras at their bars — they just want a place they can stop by, have a few drinks, and catch up with friends. Recently, dive bars have become a sought after commodity, especially amongst the hipster crowd.
We’ve put together a list of 6 you might have overlooked.
GiftYa offers egift cards to all the dive bars on this list, and many other not-so-divey bars in Pittsburgh. If you know someone looking for a new hangout, or even someone new to Pittsburgh, why not treat them to an authentic Pittsburgh dive bar experience? You never have to worry about them losing their GiftYa voucher since it’s totally electronic. There’s no better way to hang out with the locals than at their favorite bars. Who knows — you might even make some new friends in the process!
1117 E. Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
If you haven’t checked out Jack’s Bar in Pittsburgh’s Southside, you haven’t been to a true dive bar yet!
They wrote the book on the don’t-care-what-you-think attitude that now comes standard with every dive bar.
This place is a must-stop for locals and out-of-towners alike. Their reputation has reached so wide that people come from all over just to see what all the fuss is about. They never seem to leave disappointed!
Maybe it’s the “shot and beer” atmosphere or the super cheap drinks, but this place is packed every weekend with college students and older people alike.
They open up at 7 a.m. each weekday morning, which is a nice nod to the Pittsburgh’s steel mill days, when shifts would start and end in the wee hours of the morning.
4 Bower Hill Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
You might just miss it if you’re not paying attention, but the Korner — literally on the corner of Washington Rd. and Bower Hill Rd.— is a dive bar hiding in Mt. Lebanon.
Something else that’s unique about this place, besides its location, is that it is one of very few bars in western Pennsylvania that serves only beer. Their license specifically forbids the sale of hard alcohol and wine. That doesn’t seem to bother the patrons, new and old alike.
Always changing their drafts, you can be sure to find a great craft brew here. Everything from craft, European and local Pittsburgh staples. The staff is knowledgeable about their beer too, and it definitely changes according to the seasons.
In true Pittsburgh dive bar style, the floor is carpeted and there are never-ending pretzel rods available, should you happen to crave something salty.
3117 Brereton St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Another iconic Pittsburgh dive bar, Gooski’s, has been unchanged and well loved for years.
If you haven’t ventured over to this Polish Hill favorite, take the time to do so this weekend. Their beer and kitchen offerings are just one reason why people all over Pittsburgh seek out this spot.
The other reason is that they have (arguably) the best bartenders in the city, and the tunes on their juke box are legendary. Just when you think one little dive bar cannot possibly offer you anything more, you realize it’s also a music venue. That’s right — depending on what night it is, you can expect to hear a punk show, a rock concert, or anything else the owners decide to put on their stage.
4016 Butler St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Belvederes Ultra Dive deserves to be on anyone’s list who up for a good time.
As soon as you walk in the unassuming entrance, you know you’ve just hit dive bar heaven.
Even though it’s located in the trendy Lawrenceville neighborhood, you’ll find no pretentious people here. The eclectic mix of graffiti, exposed brick, and Christmas lights is a sure sign you can cozy up to the bar and knock back a few with friends.
Popular with younger and older people alike — as well as everyone in between — this bar is also known for its theme nights and its roller derby. Only in Pittsburgh would a bar that seems to be so many different things at the same time also be a really fun night out.
3911 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
It’s almost like a rite of passage, and each and every University of Pittsburgh student seems to be required to experience at least one night at Hemingway’s Cafe in Oakland.
It could be the fact that it’s located right in the heart of from the campus — or because they have cheap drinks — but more than just students like to spend time here.
You have to check this dive bar off your list, especially if you stop in for their $5.50 food menu. This doesn’t just happen once per day at happy hour, but rather at three separate times during the day! They just want to make sure they can make this menu available to anyone, no matter what their schedule is.
801 E. Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Located in the part of the Southside just out of the downtown Pittsburgh area, this dive bar is where many people go to relax and hang out with friends — and sometimes scrawl things on the wall.
That’s right, the whole back area of the bar is one big, open graffiti display. For years, people have written their names, numbers, and sometimes interesting messages on the walls at Brewski’s.
It’s also a good place to catch the game and get some good, cheap drinks. And no, they don’t supply the pens — customers have to get those themselves.
Pittsburgh has so many small bars that cater to locals in the neighborhood. They don’t claim to offer anything except cold drinks and good bar food. Sometimes these no frill dive bars end up being the best place to hang out and relax amongst friends.
Did you find the perfect dive bar? If not, don't worry! GiftYa is here to help you personalize an egift card to other dive bars — and restaurants, for that matter — in Pittsburgh!
Speaking of which, what’s your favorite Pittsburgh dive bar? Let us know in the comments!