Once the weather turns cold, I find myself turning to comfort foods and a nice drink to pair it with. As someone who loves food, I am constantly on the hunt for new places to try out. Over the past few years, I heard about something called a gastropub.
Gastropub or gastrobar is a hybrid type of bar known for both its libations and food menu. True, most places fit this definition, but to me, gastropubs also offer the perfect atmosphere: a place that is cozy and relaxed, crowded but not packed, and quiet enough that I can have a conversation without having to scream across the table. Doesn’t this sound like the perfect way to spend a chilly Saturday?
Here are some of my all-time favorites.
Sienna Mercado (942 Penn Ave) is a three-in-one all evening fun with meatballs, charcuterie, and rooftop cocktails. Emporio: The meatball joint features gourmet meatballs, salads, snacks, fry bowls, and desserts made from scratch, daily. As perhaps the most well-known part of Sienna Mercado chain, Emporio certainly offers a unique cuisine. Mezzo: houses the fine wine, charcuterie boards, and wood fire pizza. Reservations are available through Open Table for Mezzo only. This is the perfect atmosphere for a girl’s night out or a casual group function. IlTetto: A Rooftop Beer Garden offers 32 drafts, cocktails, wine, and light fare while showcasing one of the best views of downtown Pittsburgh. The retractable glass roof allows for year-round fun with and open-air in warmer months.
Wigle Whiskey (2401 Smallman Street) you might guess, is known for their whiskey, but did you also know that it is milled, fermented, distilled, aged, bottled, and labeled all in Pittsburgh? Their whiskey is smooth and the perfect based for an old fashioned. Whiskey flights are available for those who want to try more than one kind of their whiskey. If you are looking for something other than whiskey, their Tom Sawyer, which is a mix of Dutch style gin, threadbare strawberry rhubarb cider, seltzer, cherry syrup, and orange bitters, is very refreshing. Did you also know that it is more than just a whiskey bar? While they have a larger variety of foods, my favorites are their burgers, which come on pretzels buns and their pulled pork mac and cheese made with threadbare cider and Wigle bourbon BBQ sauce. Their handheld sandwiches are baked on the Mediterra Café bread which is from a local forage market and bakery in Mt Lebanon and worth checking out if you are ever over there! Street parking is available within a short walking distance. It is better to park in the Strip District and walk the two blocks to Wigle.
The Yard (736 Bellefonte Street or 100 Fifth Ave) is its own unique place where you come for the huge draft list but stay for the gourmet grilled cheese. The grilled cheese sandwiches are served with a cup of tomato soup and fries. If you want to carbo-load, I recommend upgrading for the mac n cheese. There are many great ones to choose from, but I recommend either the Smack yo Mama made with beer cheese, cheddar, onion straws, sweet and tangy BBQ pulled chicken or the Perogies n’at made with cheddar, smoked gouda, beer cheese, fried perogies, caramelized onions, sauerkraut, kielbasa. There are over 30 rotating drafts available to enjoy with your sandwiches as well! The Yard is pretty good at keeping the lists up to date on their website for both locations. In Shady side, there is a parking garage directly next to The Yard and in Market Square there are a few garages withing a few blocks walking distance.
Cinderlands Warehouse (2601 Smallman Street) is probably my favorite from this list. When I lived in Lawrenceville, I visited here once a month. There are a few locations now, but their Warehouse location is the best for dine in eating. Without fail, each time I go, I get the Crunch Wrap, a delicious wrap filled with shredded beef, Fritos, beer cheese, hot sauce, and Aleppo sour cream, and their tartshakes. To be frank, I come here for the tartshake, which is basically a fruited sour with a flavored puree. Right now, they have a blueberry one that is made from blueberry puree, PA maple syrup, Ceylon cinnamon, milk sugar, and Madagascar vanilla bean. These are on the sweeter side but so good. Cinderlands draft list rotates frequently so be sure to check the website to view their draft list before you head down to visit. If you love the beer as much as I do, 6 packs are available for in-store pickup and delivery. Street parking is available nearby on the adjacent streets.
Urban Tap (1209 East Carson St or 216 South Highland Ave) is a gastropub that specializes in alcohol and appetizers. With over 140 taps between the two locations plus an extensive wine and mixed drink menu, Urban Tap is the perfect place to try out a new favorite drink. They have Happy Hour specials as well as game day specials as well. For the food, their appetizers are the way to go here. You can’t go wrong with a giant pretzels pair great with an ice-cold beer, the smoked gouda mac and cheese washed down with a stiff drink, or the fried Brussel sprouts paired with a nice glass of wine. Reservations are available on their website for either location. Street parking is available for both the South Side and Shady Side locations.
Are you hungry yet? I know I am now. Which one do you want to go to first? Drop a comment below.