Pittsburgh’s personality really comes through in its nightlife scene. According to Infogroup, the city has 12 bars for every 10,000 residents—the most bars per capita among U.S. cities. Depending on your preference, you’ll find neighborhood bars, cocktail lounges, and nightclubs with live music. There are several options for late-night dining when you've got the midnight munchies. While trains stop running at 12 a.m. and most buses stop running at 1 a.m., finding a designated driver isn’t difficult: Uber, Lyft, and zTrip operate here. Here's where to spend a night out in Pittsburgh.
Bars & Brewpubs
- Bar Marco: Among Pittsburgh restaurants, this Strip District bar tops lists for its rotating menu, good service, and five-course meal in the reservations-only wine room. Order the "bartender's choice" for a customized cocktail based on your favorite spirit and flavors.
- Butterjoint: This Oakland watering hole is known for its burgers and handcrafted cocktails, but you can get pierogies and small plates here as well.
- Butcher and The Rye: Butcher and the Rye is really two bars in one. Whiskey lovers will find more than 600 varieties of their favorite drink on the first floor, while fans of craft cocktails should head up to the Rye Bar on the second floor. The food menu is truly classy, with such offerings as blue crab risotto and buttermilk-fried rabbit.
- Gooski’s: Feel more at home in a dive bar? This Polish Hill institution offers bottled beers and drafts at an affordable price, and the wings and pierogies are absolutely scrumptious. There's live music on the weekends, but a jukebox and pool table will keep you entertained other hours of the week.
- Hambone’s: This family-owned pub in Lawrenceville has comfort food, daily specials, and brunch on weekends. Wash down your meal with a microbrew or cocktail, and give one of the pinball machines a whirl. Hambone's regularly has live music, DJs, and comedy events as well.
- Jack’s Bar: This is a cash-only corner bar in the South Side. Here you can drink $2 beers, eat 25-cent hot dogs, and play a round of pool or two. It’s open every day from 7 a.m. (9 a.m. Sundays).
- Tiki Lounge: What used to be a doctor's office in the South Side is now a full-on tiki bar. Featuring three waterfalls, thatched roofs, and tropical cocktails, Tiki Lounge hosts a DJ on the weekends.
Clubs and Dance Clubs
- Cavo: Wear your classiest cocktail dress to this Strip District nightclub, which has two dance floors, lounge-style seating in its bar area, and a VIP balcony with bottle service. Cavo holds unique events, including burlesque and drag queen shows.
- Howl at the Moon: This dueling piano bar serves drinks by the bucket, in addition to beer, cocktails, and shots like Strawberry Shortcake and Cinnamon Toast.
- Seven: This nightclub in the Cultural District features a DJ and dance floor, VIP tables, and bottle service. Its bartenders serve up inexpensive signature cocktails and craft beers.
- Tequila Cowboy: A Nashville-style honky tonk on Pittsburgh's North Shore. It has four venues, including a karaoke bar, sports bar, and dance floor pumping out '80s and '90s music. The menu has salads, appetizers, pizzas, burgers, and wraps.
- Bonfire Food & Drink: This two-level restaurant on the South Side features a casual menu downstairs (mac-and-cheese, sandwiches, flatbreads) and upscale fare upstairs (chicken confit tagliatelle and Berkshire pork chop). The kitchen is open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight.
- Piper’s Pub: This South Side restaurant is open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and until midnight Sunday through Thursday. Order Scotch eggs or baked brie for the table before making your way to British and Irish pub fare such as Shepherd's pie and Guinness beef stew. Like many Pittsburghers, this family-owned pub is devoted to football.
- Primanti Bros.: No visit to Pittsburgh is complete without a stop here for the “Almost Famous Sandwich” on thick-sliced bread with meat, cheese, coleslaw, and French fries. Primanti’s has beer as well as wings, pizza, loaded fries, chili, and even bread pudding. This iconic restaurant chain started in the Strip District; some locations are open 24/7.
- The Backstage Bar at Theater Square: Part of Greer Cabaret, this bar is open before and after Cultural District shows. There’s no cover charge to listen to live acoustic, jazz, blues, or salsa music. It’s a small venue serving wine, beer, specialty drinks, and a limited food menu. In good weather you can sit outside at patio tables.
- Brillobox: This Bloomfield locale has been “keeping it weird since 2005,” feeding late-night revelers fries, nachos, wings, and burgers. It has 18 rotating drafts, seasonal cocktails, and a second-floor entertainment space—head here for DJ dance parties, art and spoken word events, fundraisers, variety shows, and other community activities.
- Club Café: If you’re looking for an intimate atmosphere, this South Side café books both local and touring musicians every night of the week. The bar serves wine, spirits, craft cocktails, and local microbrews on rotation, whereas the kitchen dishes out charcuterie boards, snacks, salads, wraps, and flatbreads. You must be 21 or older to enter.
- Mr. Smalls Theatre: This concert venue in Millvale has four bars, a restaurant, recording studio, and a program to encourage new artists. This repurposed 18th-century Catholic church attracts national acts that play to packed crowds.
Tips for Going Out in Pittsburgh
- Public transit is free on the T between the Downtown and North Shore stops.
- Trains stop running at 12 a.m. and most buses run until 1 a.m., so plan accordingly. In case you're out late, Uber, Lyft, and zTrip all operate here.
- “Last call” is at 2 a.m. for bars and 3 a.m. for clubs with memberships.
- The open-container law bans public drinking or open containers in vehicles.
- Pittsburgh is a fairly safe city, but use common sense and be aware of your surroundings when walking at night.