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Pirates, Pubs and Clubs

Pittsburgh's Nightlife is Calling

By Mary Casey-Sturk

Pittsburgh, Pa., is known for its industrial heritage, powerhouse sports teams and arts scene—it’s the birthplace of Andy Warhol among others—but Pittsburgh is also growing in popularity as a great place for a night on the town!

Kristin Mitchell of VisitPITTSBURGH shares, “I would suggest two areas of the city that are great for nightlife: downtown and the North Shore.”

Mitchell continues, “The city is all about craft beer and one downtown hotspot is Sharp Edge Bistro on Penn. Located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, Sharp Edge combines all the comfort of your favorite neighborhood bar with the polished feel of a Belgian bistro, offering the same unparalleled beer selection and a unique dining experience. There are 36 taps and 200-plus bottles of beer, and they also have beer baskets available to purchase.”

A peek at Sharp’s dinner menu reveals Belgian-influenced dishes, including mussels from Brussels, sautéed with bleu cheese, a mild sauce and a hint of cream, and steamed in Belgian ale. Top off your meal with Belgian Chocolate Pudding, comprised of bittersweet Belgian chocolate, raspberry coulis and toasted almonds.

Sports lovers will cheer for the North Shore area. Here you’ll find PNC Park,PNC_Park consistently rated the best ballpark in Major League Baseball and home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, as well as Heinz Field, home to the Pittsburgh Steelers football team. The Pirates season offers several opportunities to catch the boys of summer after the sun goes down. The Steelers also will have select night preseason home games beginning in August.

Across the Allegheny River from downtown, there are many options to catch a meal and views of Pittsburgh’s skyline, the three rivers, Mount Washington and Point State Park. One such spot is Bettis’ Grille 36. Owned by former Steeler Jerome Bettis, it’s best to arrive early and grab a seat before sporting events. Tuck in and enjoy the casual menu with choices like the “Garbage Plate”—a macaroni-and-cheese cake, sloppy Joe, over-easy egg, and sweet rooster sauce. Also on the menu are burgers and salads, as well as an extensive drink menu featuring many local brews and specialty drinks and martinis, including the football-themed Kickoff Cooler—Absolut Pear, St. Germain, strawberry puree, lime juice and Sprite.

Rivertowne North Shore is another popular destination for food and drink. Offering up their own microbrews, including Rivertowne Babbling Blonde and Rivertowne Oktoberfest, this is great place for specialty pizzas, appetizer and “buckets” of food including fish and chips.

Station SquareStation_Square is Pittsburgh’s most popular tourist attraction. Locals and visitors alike enjoy this 52-acre “block party.” What was once a railroad hub has been transformed into an entertainment complex with attractions, shopping, dining (over 20 restaurants) and bars.

Nightlife is hopping here and you can rock out at the Hard Rock Café while enjoying American cuisine and live music or put on your dancing shoes and head to the Buckhead Saloon, which has a great DJ mix of music and is open until 2:00 a.m. on weekends. Its rustic mountain lounge will make you forget you’re in the city!

Elsewhere in Station Square, the happiest of happy hours can be had by relaxing at the Grand Concourse or enjoying the Waltzing Waters Liquid Fireworks Show in the Fountain at Bessemer Court.

From Station Square, you can also take a sightseeing tour of the City of Pittsburgh from one of several tour operators. Hop aboard the Gateway Clipper Fleet and cruise along the three rivers that meet in Pittsburgh. Gateway offers dining, wine tasting and sunset cocktail cruises. Segway in Paradise Tours offers up a more upright adventure via its Sunset Tour or you can choose to head to the top of Mt. Washington on a historic cable car and take in breathtaking views of the illuminated skyline on the Duquesne Incline (open until 12:45 a.m.).

If a night of culture is on your agenda, the aptly named Cultural District will not disappoint. This 14-square-block area has nine theaters, featuring everything Meat_and_Potatoesfrom plays and improv to cabaret and comedy. Pittsburgh has its own symphony, ballet, and numerous options to catch a show year round. Foodies will enjoy a pre-show meal at nearby restaurants including Meat and Potatoes (comfort food with a twist) and Butcher in the Rye (boasting over 600-plus types of whiskey).

Butcher_and_the_RyePittsburgh CLO (founded as the Civic Light Opera) today features the intimate Cabaret at Theatre Square with its own performances and plays host to touring Broadway shows. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust offers Salsa Fridays and The Pittsburgh Improv Jam. Theater doors for late night shows open at 10:00 pm., but you can arrive earlier and enjoy happy hour in the Backstage Bar.

You don’t have to travel to New Orleans for great jazz music and Creole food. NOLA on the Square (in the historic Market Square area) offers up live jazz and blues on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Traditional fare includes red beans and rice, crispy fried alligator, gumbo and jambalaya. Vegetarian and vegan options are available as well as an extensive drink menu. Check in advance to see who’s playing at this lovingly renovated 1902 landmark tavern.

Pirates, pubs or clubs? Take your pick and head to Pittsburgh for a nightlife filled trip!

For more information on planning your trip to Pittsburgh, visit