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5107 Penn Ave., Garfield
412-362-7725 or www.spakbrothers.com
Grab-and-go staples like pizza, hoagies and chicken wings can be found here at very reasonable prices at this no-frills shop. Vegan and vegetarian options are available too. While waiting for your order, get in a game or two of pinball.
3rd: Sesame Inn
1150 Smallman St., Strip District
412-201-5656 or www.elevenck.com
The waiters and waitresses here fulfill the classic requirements of what a wait staff should be: attentive, polite and informed about the food and drinks menu. Nor are they overly obtrusive, so that diners at this high-end restaurant can enjoy their meals and conversations without unnecessary interruption.
2nd: Bar Marco
Round Corner Cantina
3720 Butler St., Lawrenceville
412- 904-2279 or www.roundcornercantina.com
Sure Lawrenceville has gotten a bit see-and-be-seen, but what if you want to hang out in a hip space away from prying eyes? Nothing beats Round Corner’s interior patio, a fenced-in getaway where one can sip on cocktails and munch on veggie tacos in peace.
2nd: Double Wide Grill
3rd: Harris Grill
942 Penn Ave., Downtown
412-281-2810 or www.siennapgh.com/mercato
With a retractable glass roof, spacious bar and funky lighting, the perch atop this three-storied restaurant complex is a year-round destination for rooftop drinking. The people-watching views of the Cultural District and the action on Penn Ave below are unrivaled.
2nd: Hotel Monaco
3rd: Six Penn Kitchen
The Ace Hotel
120 S. Whitfield St., East Liberty
412-626-3090 or www.whitfieldpgh.com
This bar checks all the hipster-chic boxes: white walls, lack of clutter, reclaimed-wood bar, and a dynamite local twist on the Manhattan, called the East Liberty. It’s a perfect start to a night on the town, or settle into the vintage furniture with friends and a board game.
2nd: Hotel Monaco
3rd: Omni William Penn
The exclusive late-night draw for after-hours dining is the $7 special on 22-ounce margaritas from 10 p.m. to midnight. A couple of those and everything looks good, but many Mad Mex locations also offer late-night specials on select food items.
2nd: Fuel and Fuddle
3rd: Ritters Diner
Pub Chip Shop
1830 E. Carson St., South Side
Can you get beer at Pub Chip Shop? Yes! But unlike many South Side establishments, the focus here is on food. The impressive British-inspired menu offers everything from fish-and-chips and Scotch eggs to perch tacos and fried Mars bars. A range of savory baked goods are also available.
2nd: Industry Public House
3rd: Monterey Pub
735 Copeland St., Shadyside
412-802-7070 or www.edenpitt.com
An oasis for diners with dietary concerns, Eden offers healthful seasonal fare, prepared raw, that is allergy conscious, vegan and gluten-free. It is also a great spot for adventurous diners, who can appreciate lasagna made with flax noodles or a farm-fresh beet salad.
2nd: Bella Frutteto
214 Sixth St., Downtown
412-471-8256 or www.takopgh.com
Warm lighting, a laid-back atmosphere, and an ample margarita and cocktail list make this Downtown hotspot a good pick for quick, on-the-go dining. Warm weather offers extra bar-side-like seating, with five sidewalk stools peering into the lively kitchen.
2nd: Industry Public House
412-421-9346 or wheeldeliver.net
With service to the East End, Regent Square, Edgewood, Mount Washington, Downtown and South Side, this multi-restaurant delivery service gives at-home diners access to the menus of 30 restaurant partners. And users can even order from more than two restaurants at once.
Nothing says “I’m ready to drink and have a good time” like a margarita, and locally based Mexican-food chain Mad Mex offers several options, including a sage-infused cranberry variety. To truly embrace one’s inner “good time” spirit, try the frozen margaritas that are spinning in the machines.
2nd: Round Corner Cantina
Olive or Twist
140 Sixth St., Downtown
412-255-0524 or www.olive-twist.com
Sometimes, a night out at the theater isn’t complete without a nightcap. Olive or Twist, in the heart of the Cultural District, offers a menu of daily and seasonal selections. Go with a traditional martini, or be adventurous with a “Black and Gold Martini.”
2nd: Tender Bar + Kitchen
3rd: Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse
Meat and Potatoes
649 Penn Ave., Downtown
412-325-7007 or www.meatandpotatoespgh.com
In Pittsburgh as elsewhere, Bloody Marys have become an art form, and Meat and Potatoes scores with its brunchtime Bloody Mary bar, where $7 buys access to the acclaimed house mix, plus your choice of pickled and raw vegetables, hot sauce, and even charcuterie and cheeses.
2nd: The Urban Tap
3rd: The Commoner
East End Brewing Company
147 Julius St., Larimer, and 102 19th St., Strip District
412-537-2337 or www.eastendbrewing.com
Since 2004, this brewery has been making beer right here. It now brews about 35 types of beer a year, including seasonal offerings and year-round favorites such as Big Hop IPA, Monkey Boy Hefeweizen and Fat Gary Nut Brown Ale. Stop by for a tour or sample a pint at Pittsburgh bars.
2nd: Grist House Craft Brewery
3rd: Brew Gentlemen
Lots of bars have forests of taps and warehouses of bottles. But the venerable Sharp Edge — each of whose five locations boasts dozens of drafts and 150 or more bottled varieties — remains esteemed for its connoisseurship, especially of the cornucopia of flavors offered by the prized beers of Belgium.
2nd: Fat Head’s Saloon
3rd: Industry Public House
947 Penn Ave., Downtown
412-697-1336 or www.thesonomagrille.com
With over 90 bottles of wine served by the glass, Sonoma Grille has the curious wine drinker covered. Try a curated wine flight, or make your own. If you’re looking for a recommendation, the little wine glass icons on the menu mark staff favorites.
2nd: Allegheny Wine Mixer
2401 Smallman St, Strip District
412-224-2827 or www.wiglewhiskey.com
Since Wigle opened in 2012, the family-owned craft distillery has enjoyed nearly nonstop acclaim. It’s been the most-awarded craft whiskey in the country for the past two years, succeeding with classics like rye and bourbon, as well as more adventurous spirits like ginever and white whiskey.
2nd: Maggie’s Farm Rum
3rd: Arsenal Cider
Pgh Taco Truck
At this mobile taqueria, the menu is (almost always) gluten-free; the corn tortillas are layered two-deep; and the tacos are rich, simple and unfussy. The filling options rotate, but favorites like Thai peanut chicken and spicy jerk chicken are safe bets on most days.
2nd: BRGR Truck
3rd: The Mac & Gold Truck
It’s a wood-fired pizza oven on a trailer. They can drive it anywhere, set up and cook wonderfully crispy and full-flavored pizzas. It’s no wonder Driftwood was named this year’s best new food truck. Use Twitter to find out where it will be: @driftwoodoven.
2nd: Leena’s Food Truck
3rd: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina Truck
Pittsburgh Juice Company
3418 Penn Ave., Lawrenceville
412-586-5060 or www.pittsburghjuicecompany.com
In the mood for a healthy boost? Stop in for a cold-pressed juice, smoothie or snack (think spinach crisps and vegan cheesecake). Everything is raw, vegan and gluten-free, and made with fresh, organic ingredients. You can even stop in for a class at the adjoining yoga studio.
2nd: Salud Juicery
3rd: Simpatico Espresso
This outdoor summer festival celebrates vegetarian food and sustainable living with live music, wellness vendors, educational speakers, yoga and cooking demonstrations. The day-long event is hosted by Justice For Animals, a Pittsburgh-based animal-rights nonprofit organization.
3rd: St. Nicholas Greek Food Festival