The Ultimate Guide to Sophisticated Cocktails in Pittsburgh

Long gone are the days of beer and shot (colloquially known as an Imp 'n Arn) dive bars in the former Steel City.

Today during Pittsburgh’s “Restaurant Renaissance”, not only has the dining scene stepped it up, but the selection of venues for quality crafted sophisticated cocktails is unmatched.

From traditional cocktails done right to innovative cocktail creations, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to enjoy a fancy cocktail around Pittsburgh.

Treating a friend or family member to a sophisticated cocktail is a thoughtful gesture for any occasion. Whether they’re celebrating another trip around the sun, or a new promotion at work, consider giving them a Giftya personalized gift to redeem at any one these fine Pittsburgh establishments.

Acacia Cocktails

Acacia Cocktail specialty mixed drink

Acaciacocktails.com

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2108 E Carson Street

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Mon- Sat: 5pm-2am

Featuring a Prohibition theme, this sophisticated cocktail bar serves craft drinks in elegant glassware, with an extensive selection and knowledge of whiskey.

...It's a great, chill environment with great cocktails. Go enjoy this place.

Escape the hustle and bustle of South Side bar hopping within this hidden gem. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for you may miss it, with the boarded up windows and discreet facade all playing into the Prohibition vibe. The carefully curated rotating cocktail menu will not disappoint!

“With the vibe of a 20s speakeasy, Acacia provides a classy environment. The bar fuses Pittsburgh industrial style with Victorian accents...A strong contribution to South Side's bar scene, Acacia is a great place to relax after a long work week with a fine cocktail. It's crucial to emphasize "fine cocktail...” - Yelp Review

Hidden Harbor

Hidden Harbor tropical styled cocktails

Hiddenharborpgh.com

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1708 Shady Avenue

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Tue-Sat: 5pm-1am

Aloha Yinz! If you’re seeking a retro tropical treat served in tiki tradition, you won’t be disappointed.

Talk about true and ingenious mixology...

Almost too pretty to drink, the presentation is topped only by the delicious flavors. Order a classic tiki house cocktail or grab some friends for a giant shared beverage.

“...Nothing gets better than high quality and natural ingredients and nothing tastes artificially flavored...I actually like the drinks here much better than at some of the higher-end restaurants in Pittsburgh.” - Yelp Review

Apteka Pittsburgh

mixed drink selection at Apteka Pittsburgh
Image courtesy of Samantha A.

Aptekapgh.com

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4606 Penn Ave

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Wed-Sun: Dinner 5pm-10pm
Fri-Sat: Late Night 10pm-12am

While Apteka is known for its unique cuisine concept of Central and Eastern European vegan dishes, they’re fresh and inspiring “Koktajle” menu is worth a trip.

...They have creative cocktails and reasonable prices...

The cocktail menu is straightforward and exotic featuring nameless drinks with earthy ingredients like “vodka/ grass / gruner/ sunflower oil” or “Bourbon/  poppyseed/ black balsam.”

“Drinks here are consistently good...I've liked everything I had tried! If you come later in the evening, after the dinner rush, it's not hard to get a table, even with a large group. On Sunday nights they are open late - hard to find in Pittsburgh! The ambience in the evening is nice, low lighting and not too loud...”- Yelp Review

Butcher and the Rye

couple of unique drinks at Butcher and the Rye
Image courtesy of yumyumpgh.com

Butcherandtherye.com

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212 Sixth Street

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Tue-Thu: 5pm-1am
Fri-Sat: 5pm-2am

The ambitious cocktail program at Butcher and the Rye has been awarded James Beard Semifinalist for Outstanding Bar Program for two consecutive years.

I always just pop in for a fantastically made cocktail...The cocktail list is long... - Yelp Review

Featuring 12 cocktails on draft 15+ custom cocktails, the team of skilled mixologists offer many custom creations. The popularity of this venue definitely makes booking a reservation a must.

Butterjoint

three distinct cocktails at Butterjoint
Photo by Emily O'Donnell

Butterjoint.com

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214 N Craig Street

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Mon-Sat: 4:30pm-1am

Butterjoint is the full service bar of Legume located in North Oakland.

The cocktails are FANTASTIC...

Sourcing the best products from distillers they trust, their cocktails are served in an approachable, simple and honest way.

“...They have a bigger cocktail menu than a lot of restaurants and I was impressed with every one that I tasted...” - Yelp Review

The Summit

featured cocktail from The Summit
Image courtesy of the Summit

Thesummitpgh.com

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200 Shiloh Street

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Sun-Sat: 5pm-2am

If you’re seeking an elevated experience in a casual atmosphere head to The Summit on Mt Washington.

...The cocktails have interesting stories to tell and I recommend trying several...

The craft cocktails are designed with premium liquors, homemade mixers, freshly sourced ingredients, and pristine cuts of ice. With sexy cocktails like Smoke & Mirrors featuring Mezcal / Dry Vermouth / Lemon / Black Currant, the rotating custom drink menu won’t disappoint.  

“The Summit is by far the best bar in Pittsburgh. The atmosphere is low-key and relaxed, but the drinks are top-notch and of extremely high quality. I have sampled nearly all their drinks from the summer and fall menus at this point and each one has been special...I have also never met a barstaff that was so dedicated and skilled at their jobs...” - Yelp Review

Mixtape

mixed drink on a table at Mixtape
Image courtesy of Mixtape

Mixtapepgh.com

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4907 Penn Avenue

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Tue-Thu: 2pm-12am
Fri: 2pm-2am
Sat: 7pm-2am

This eclectic venue has a little bit of everything!

...The drinks are interesting, absolutely beautiful and delicious...

Inspired by the ever-popular pastime in the 80s and 90s of making mixtapes, the atmosphere is a blast from the past.

You can enjoy a selection of classic cocktails along side signature drinks with names inspired by your favorite tunes.

“...Aside from the quality of the drinks and bonus free popcorn, what sets mixtape apart is the undeniably welcoming, relaxing atmosphere. From the fun background music to the comfy seating arrangements, mixtape has the perfect evening cafe vibe where you can come and do work, catch up with friends, or just relax with a book or board game.” - Yelp Review

The Ace Hotel Lobby Bar

Ace Hotel Lobby Bar cocktails
Image courtesy of Kelly F.

Acehotel.com

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120 S Whitfield Street

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Sun-Sat: 11am-2am
Happy Hour: 4:30-6:30pm daily

Ace Hotels are known for being the epitome of hip, and this location in East Liberty is no different.

Great space and nice vibe...

Rising from the ashes of a truly transformed former YMCA the entire hotel is overflowing with quirkiness. The Lobby Bar offers seasonal cocktails crafted from fresh local ingredients and spirits from 11am to 2am. Enjoy Happy Hour from 4:30-6pm everyday!

...The cocktails were well made and the bartender is really good despite being left by himself. ...a bit on the expensive side for the area, but well made.” - Yelp Review

Bar Marco

well dressed drink at Bar Marco
Image courtesy of Bar Marco

Barmarcopgh.com

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2216 Penn Ave

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Tue-Sat: 5pm-11pm
Sat-Sun: Brunch 10am-3pm

As one of the forerunner in Pittsburgh restaurant revival, Bar Marco is known for their quality artisanal menu and the deep reserves in the wine cellar.

Delicious dinner, phenomenal drinks, and quaint atmosphere...

Their cocktails don’t disappoint either. You can choose one of their unique featured cocktails, one of your favorites made with one of the quality spirits they carry, or get adventurous with “bartender’s choice.”

“...The bartender is fantastic. I was going to order a drink off the menu, but he suggested that he make one of his own after asking me a few questions. The drink was fantastic and unlike anything I had ever had...I would definitely come back for a nice occasion!” - Yelp Review

Eleven

a trio of mixed drinks at Eleven
Image courtesy of Eleven

elevenck.com

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1150 Smallman Street

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Mon-Thu: 2pm-10pm
Fri-Sat: 5pm-11pm
Sun: 5pm-9pm
Mon-Fri Happy Hour: 4pm-6pm

As one of Big Burrito Restaurant group’s flagship venues located in the Strip DIstrict, Eleven’s elegant ambiance and seasonal menu is always on point.

...The cocktails were luscious. Nothing disappointed us...

The cocktail menu features elevated classics with high quality spirits. The perfect spot for a romantic date night and refined beverages.

...the two of us were thrilled to treat ourselves to delicious, delicately plated food in the friendly, architecturally pleasing Eleven. All personnel were genuine and friendly...We'll be back. - Yelp Review

Meat and Potatoes

lime round served mixed drink at Meat and Potatoes
Image courtesy of Frances L.

meatandpotatoespgh.com

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649 Penn Avenue

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Sun-Sat: 5pm-2am
Sat-Sun Brunch: 10:30am-2pm

Located in the heart of Downtown’s Cultural District, Meat & Potatoes won’t disappoint if you’re craving a top notch steak or handcrafted cocktail. Their curated cocktail menu features libations honoring Prohibition and the Repeal.

Trendy. Hip. Delicious...

The menu has “Prohibition” options like the Dark & Stormy, “Repeal” options like the Smokey Siesta, an Oak-Aged Manhattan, and traditional Absinthe drinks.

“...Meat & Potatoes mixes the feel of a bar Don Draper would drink in with the menu of a mad scientist that really, really loves meat.” - Yelp Review

Speakeasy

sugar stirrer topped drink at Speakeasy

Omnihotels.com

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530 William Penn Place

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Tue-Thu: 5pm-11pm
Fri-Sat: 5pm-12:30am

Transport yourself back in time at the Omni William Penn Hotels genuine Speakeasy

...one of the few bars in the city that really offers the "speakeasy vibe..." as well as the caliber of classic cocktails...

The space actually once hosted a speakeasy during the Prohibition. It’s been emasculated restored to its previous 1920s glory, tucked away under the hotel’s lobby.

Wet your whistle with a classic Rob Roy or Rusty Nail, or choose one of their single malts or blended scotches, Whiskey, Bourbon, or Highball cocktails.

“...The Speakeasy at the Omni William Penn is perfect for groups and special occasions, and I've never had a subpar experience here. From the service, to the quality of the drinks and the ambiance, and even down to the sweet/salty bar snacks, everything has always been nothing but perfect....” - Yelp Review

or, The Whale

sparkling cocktail at the whale

orthewhalepgh.com

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463 Boulevard of the Allies

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Sun-Thu: 5pm-10pm
Fri-Sat: 5pm-11pm
Mon-Fri Brunch: 10am-2pm
Sat-Sun Brunch: 9am-2pm

Like Ace Hotel, Distrikt is a renovated gymnasium turned hotel featured a stunning in house restaurant, or, The Whale.

Had a fantastic meal at this restaurant...

The lofted two story space featured a nautical theme and plenty of Moby Dick references. The vast cocktails menu features brunch and dinner sophisticated cocktail options.

“...The bar had a long list of cocktails, many of which were tried and were well received. The service was excellent throughout the meal...We will definitely be going back.” - Yelp Review

Smallman Galley

5 unique mixed drink options at Smallman Galley

smallmangalley.org

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54 21st Street

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Tues-Thurs: 11am-10pm
Fri: 11am-12am
Sat: 10am-12am
Sun: 10am-3pm
Mon-Fri Happy Hour: 5pm-7pm

Smallman Galley is a food hall and restaurant accelerator hosting four unique dining options.

...The cocktails here are phenomenal...

To compliment the top notch cuisine the bar features artisanal cocktails with tongue in cheek names, signature themed menus, and happy hour (1/2 off all drinks) Monday through Friday 5-7pm.

“...The bar is always crowded, which makes the quick service and well made drinks even more impressive.” - Molly M. Yelp Review

The Commoner

smoking served drink at the Commoner

thecommonerpgh.com

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458 Strawberry Way

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Mon-Thu: 10am-12am
Fri-Sat: 10am-2am
Sun: 10am-11pm
Sat-Sun Brunch: 9am-3pm

There’s no shortage of quality bars and restaurants in Pittsburgh burgeoning boutique hotel scene, and The Commoner located in the Kimpton Hotel Monaco is another fine example.

everything is always so good.

From classic cocktails to signature libations featuring smoke, sage infused nitrogen balloons, and duck fat washed whiskey, there’s no shortage of quality experimental beverages.

“...I think their drink menu is extensive and creative, although a little pricey. I still continue to go back regardless of the price, because everything is always so good.” - Yelp Review

Spoon

garnished mixed drink from Spoon
Image courtesy of the Spoon

spoonpgh.com

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134 South Highland Avenue

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Mon-Thu: 5pm-10pm
Fri-Sat: 5pm-11pm
Sun: 5pm-9pm

Another fine dining destination forerunner located in East Liberty, Spoon offers a night of high-end dining and drinks.

When I walked into this place, I melted into the room...

Choose from signature cocktails mixed just right for whatever mood you are in, one of their many aperitifs, or a special cocktail from their Gin Club menu.

“...It was so beautiful with the lounge area at the entrance near the bar. Speaking of which makes some killer cocktails. Just a tip....order something with gin, anything. They know gin and honor it well here.” - Yelp Review

täkō

decorative drink at Tako
Image courtesy of täkō

takopgh.com

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214 6th Street

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Mon-Thu: 5pm-10pm
Fri-Sat: 5pm-11pm
Sun: 3pm-9pm

If you feel like heading south of the border, head no further than Downtown’s Cultural District to check out täkō for a so-cal surf vibe.

...Amazing drinks, appetizers, and tacos!...

With seasonal frozen drinks, eclectic margarita menu, sangria and fiesty cocktails with plenty of tequila options, you’ll practically hear the ocean and feel the sand on your feet.

“I have been so excited to dine at Tako since I first heard about it, and my experience tonight lived up to the expectation!...”- Yelp Review

Grapperia

popsicle served drink from Grapperia

Grapperiapgh.com

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3801 Butler Street

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Tue-Thu: 4pm-12am
Fri-Sat: 4pm-2am

While their specialty is their namesake Grappa, Grapperia also serves uniquely crafted $10 cocktails, including grappa cocktails, and a special flight menu featuring various spirits.

The cocktails here are literally the best I have had in Pittsburgh...

You’ll feel like you’ve been transported from bustling Lawrenceville to an authentic, cozy bat in Italy.

"...I was blown away by the intimate space, kind and knowledgeable bartenders, and delicious grappa..." - Yelp Review

Scratch F & B

trio of specailty cocktails at Scratch F & B

Scratchfoodbev.com

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1702 Lowrie Street

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Tue-Sat: 5-10pm

Scratch makes the trip up to Troy Hill completely worth it!

Amazing!...every bite/sip was worth every penny...

Savor the regionally-inspired dining experience and handcrafted sophisticated seasonal cocktail menu.

Be sure to stop by on Fridays from 10pm-2am for their Karaoke and Cocktails night.

“...It's a little pricy and your traditional "small plate" type of dinner, but the quality of food and drinks were spectacular! Highly recommend it...” - Yelp Review
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