Long gone are the days of beer and shot (colloquially known as an Imp 'n' Arn) dive bars in the 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 a 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 egift card to redeem at any of these fine Pittsburgh establishments.
2108 E. Carson Street
Mon- Sat: 5pm-2am
This Prohibition-themed, sophisticated cocktail bar serves craft drinks in elegant glassware with an extensive selection and knowledge of whiskey.
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 -- the boarded-up windows and discreet facade all play 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
1708 Shady Avenue
Aloha, yinz! If you’re seeking a retro, tropical treat served tiki style, you won’t be disappointed here.
Almost too pretty to drink, the presentation is topped only by delicious, fruity flavors. Order a classic tiki house cocktail or grab some friends for a giant, sharable 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
4606 Penn Ave
Wed-Sun: Dinner 5pm-10pm
Fri-Sat: Late Night 10pm-12am (21+ after 10pm)
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.
Their straightforward, exotic cocktail menu features nameless drinks made 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
212 Sixth Street
The ambitious cocktail program at Butcher and the Rye has been awarded a James Beard Semifinalist for Outstanding Bar Program for two consecutive years.
Featuring 9 cocktails on draft and other types of alcohol, the team of skilled mixologists offer many unique creations. The popularity of this venue definitely makes booking a reservation a must.
214 N. Craig Street
Butterjoint is the full service bar of Legume, located in North Oakland.
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
200 Shiloh Street
If you’re seeking an elevated experience in a casual atmosphere, head to The Summit on Mt. Washington.
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
4907 Penn Avenue
This eclectic venue has a little bit of everything!
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 alongside 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
120 S. Whitfield Street
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.
Rising from the ashes of a 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
2216 Penn Ave
Sat-Sun: Brunch 10am-3pm
As one of the forerunners of Pittsburgh's restaurant revival, Bar Marco is known for their quality artisanal menu and the deep reserves in the wine cellar.
Their cocktails don’t disappoint, either. You can choose one of their featured cocktails, order 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
1150 Smallman Street
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 cocktail menu features elevated classics with high-quality spirits. With refined drinks, it's the perfect spot for a romantic date night.
...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
649 Penn Avenue
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.
The menu has “Prohibition” options like the Dark & Stormy, “Repeal” options like the Smokey Siesta, 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
530 William Penn Place
Transport yourself back in time at the Omni William Penn Hotel's genuine Speakeasy.
The space actually once hosted a speakeasy during the Prohibition era. It’s been 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
463 Boulevard of the Allies
Sat-Sun Brunch: 10am-2pm
Like Ace Hotel, Distrikt is a renovated gymnasium-turned-hotel featuring a stunning in-house restaurant, or, The Whale.
The lofted two-story space features a nautical theme and plenty of Moby Dick references. The vast cocktail menu offers 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
54 21st Street
Mon-Fri Happy Hour: 5pm-7pm
Smallman Galley is a food hall and restaurant accelerator hosting four unique dining options.
To compliment the top-notch cuisine, the bar features artisanal cocktails with tongue-in-cheek names, signature, themed menus, and a weekday happy hour (1/2 off all drinks).
“...The bar is always crowded, which makes the quick service and well made drinks even more impressive.” - Molly M. Yelp Review
620 William Penn Place
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.
With classic cocktails and signature libations featuring smoke, sage-infused nitrogen balloons, and duck fat-washed whiskey, this is no common establishment.
“...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
134 S. Highland Avenue
Another fine dining destination forerunner located in East Liberty, Spoon offers a night of high-end dining and drinks.
Choose from signature cocktails mixed just right for whatever mood you're 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
214 6th Street
If you feel like heading south of the border, all you have to do is visit downtown’s Cultural District! Check out täkō for a so-cal surf vibe.
With seasonal frozen drinks, an eclectic margarita menu, sangria, and feisty cocktails with plenty of tequila options, you’ll practically hear the ocean and feel the sand between your toes.
“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
3801 Butler Street
While their specialty and their namesake is Grappa, Grapperia also serves uniquely crafted $10 cocktails, including grappa cocktails. They also offer a special flight menu featuring various spirits.
You’ll feel like you’ve been transported from bustling Lawrenceville to an authentic, cozy bar in Italy.
"...I was blown away by the intimate space, kind and knowledgeable bartenders, and delicious grappa..." - Yelp Review
1702 Lowrie Street
Scratch makes the trip up to Troy Hill completely worth it!
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