"One sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits in delight, beyond the bliss of dreams." ― John Milton, Comus
Craft cocktails are all the rage and mixology is alive and well throughout the country. Whether you prefer a simple cocktail (the type your parents might have enjoyed, like a gimlet) or something a bit hipper (from prohibition-styled cocktails to exotic mixes), Pittsburgh has it all.
Here are few places may want to put on your list:
If you're looking for stellar craft drinks (beer and cocktails) this is a good place to start. They regularly offer locally produced spirits and beers, including Wigle Whiskey, Boyd & Blair Vodka, Arsenal Cider House and beers by Troegs and Victory. You'll find excellent burgers and perogies to accompany your libations -- all served by a great staff. A word to the wise, it can get pretty crowded during peak hours. 214 Craig Street (adjoining Legume).
It seems Acacia is a well-kept South Side secret. The former home of prohibition-styled bar, Embury. Folks are drawn to the door of an unassuming boarded-up storefront by great music. Inside is a slice of heaven, particularly for serious bourbon fans. A small cocktail lounge elegantly furnished with copper table tops and exposed brick walls. Knowledgeable staff and an overwhelming drink menu offer delicious inventive cocktails and custom made to order as well as an incredible selection of bourbons. Acacia doesn't serve food, but it's the perfect romantic spot for an after-dinner cocktail, with retro music and low lighting. 2108 E Carson Street.
This is a classic American cocktail bar -- in a repurposed bank. The 14-foot ceilings, old bank vaults and marble wainscoting add to the elegance and historic charm of this bar. The bartenders are passionate about their craft and offer an extensive list of cocktails 51 in all, as well as 16 wines, 100 whiskeys and over 70 other libations including brandies and cordials, three beers on tap, plus a cider. All in all, it's a good spot but can get crowded. 4300 Butler St. in Lawrenceville.
Richard DeSantz is the owner chef of this spot, in the Cultural District. It's a two-story restaurant known for its extensive whiskey selection. They have a towering wall of whiskeys, requiring a tall ladder to access the higher bottles. In all, they boast 600 varieties of whiskey including 350+ bourbons. There's also a long draft list and an extensive 38-cocktail menu; they serve their Moscow Mules appropriately, in a copper mug. The oil lanterns on some tables instead of candles create an atmosphere of rustic elegance. 212 6th St, Pittsburgh.
This gastro pub is a wide-open space with a very large bar in the middle, a prohibition-era style of architecture, industrial décor and exposed brick, yet still manages to be cozy. They have high and low tables and semi-communal bench seating. They specialize in craft beers and artisanal cocktails having 40 beers on tap, nearly 100 whiskeys and more than a dozen craft cocktails. The Smokestack is one of the most popular draws. It has a whiskey base (pick your favourite) and the "smoke" comes from infusing the whiskey with fresh smoke from wood chips (again, pick your favourite woody fragrance). 4305 Butler St., Lawrenceville.
This multiple award-winning distillery is a hidden treasure located in the Strip District. It's an independent distillery and the first to produce commercially available craft rum in Pennsylvania. Maggie's use copper stills, imported from Spain, to make their rums and all products are distilled from scratch, right behind the cocktail bar. Yep -- they've built a little bar right into their distillery and it's open to the public Fridays and Saturdays. Their creative bartenders have an ever-changing cocktail menu -- not to be missed is their incredibly flavorful Spiced Rum. 3212 Smallman, cocktail hour (Friday and Saturday only).
Andys (as in two individuals named Andy) is located in the Fairmont Hotel lobby, is named after the two famous Pittsburgh Andys: Warhol and Carnegie. It's a casual yet sophisticated bar with modern interior, comfortable chairs and sofas, serving classic and craft cocktails, 11 in all, as well as some unique wines. There are nine reds, eight whites and three sparkling wines, 27 beers (five on tap) and a good selection of liquors. From Wednesday to Saturday, you'll find local musicians serving up JAZZ, best of all there is no cover charge. Fairmont Hotel, 510 Market Street.
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