Venue Guide: Thunderbird Café and Music Hall | Arts + Entertainment | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Venue Guide: Thunderbird Café and Music Hall

click to enlarge Venue Guide: Thunderbird Café and Music Hall
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Heading to a venue for the first time can be anxiety-inducing or at the very least cause inconveniences. Where’s will call? Is there parking? Will you have to hide your expensive bag behind a tree because it’s too big to pass security?

Pittsburgh City Paper wants to help make attending shows as comfortable as possible. So, welcome to our venue guide, where you can find out what to wear, where to smoke, and everything in between. CP will detail the ins and outs of venues in Pittsburgh, so you can fully enjoy the experience and not worry about little nuisances like not knowing the bar was cash-only.

Owned by John Pergal since 2000, Thunderbird Café and Music Hall in Lawrenceville was greatly missed in its three-year absence as Pergal and his team turned the small blues/roots venue into an intimate three-level space built with both the fan and performer in mind.

Put together by the same team that helped open the Roxian Theatre in McKees Rocks, the remodeled venue features a full-size bar on the top level, open regular bar hours, which makes way for the roomy, tiered, steampunk-looking music hall. Musically, the shows will focus on roots, indie rock, blues, bluegrass, jam, jazz, funk, and soul.


Non-smoking venue (this includes vapes)

Smoking is allowed out front, and reentry is permitted

Food & Beverage:

Cash, credit, and debit are accepted

Upon entry is a full-size that will be open every day with normal hours*

A full food menu will be available within the next few weeks

Handheld street foods like sandwiches, fries, chick on a stick, pizza, etc.*

Prices range from $3 (pizza) to $9 (pulled pork)

Vegetarian options are available

Kitchen will be open until between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. (earlier if weekday, later if a busy weekend)

The music hall has three full-size bars, one on each level

Bars in music hall close when show is over, but depending on time, the upstairs area, which is open normal bars hours, may be open

Rotating list of local and domestic drafts 

TV menus on sides of bar detail draft list

Official Untappd location

*During opening weeks, there will be a limited kitchen menu and scaled back bar hours


Three sets of bathrooms 

Not gender-neutral

One set in VIP area

One set located in main bar area (right when you walk in, on the right-hand side, no steps, totally accessible)

One on bottom floor of music hall (elevators can take you there)

Bathrooms are ADA compliant

Age Restrictions:

Most of the time, the shows will be 21+


Capacity: 382

Standing and seated room (depends on show)

Mostly standing room., with a few seats throughout 


Paid street parking on Butler Street (Free after 6 p.m.)

Uber and Lyft can drop off/pick up in front

64, 91, and 93 buses get within walking distance

Walkable for those living in or visiting the Lawrenceville area

Valet available for all shows

Pull car up 41st St. along the side of the venue (between Eden Ave. and Butler) where parking attendants will assist. Cost about $10


Standard bag policy: small, wallet-sized purses are fine, nothing huge (i.e. backpacks) are allowed

House security is always around, monitoring space


Box office is located inside, in the back of the main bar (located before steps to music hall)

Tickets can be purchased online, at the box office during an event (if not sold out) or at the following outlets:**

Culture Shop (South Side)

Dave’s Music Mine (South Side)

Government Center (North Side)

Hollowood Music & Sound (McKees Rocks)

Will call available, pick up tickets at box office        

 ** Only tickets for nationally touring acts will be available at ticket outlets


Elevator located on the main floor (bar area) to the right 

Box office workers can always assist 

Email [email protected] with the event you would like to attend and details of the accommodations you require

Fun Facts:

Upstairs in the bar area there is a small stage were acoustic acts will play throughout the week 

Pittsburgh architect Chris Lasky designed Thunderbird

Local steelworker, John Walter of Iron Eden created all bars, taps, tables

Music Hall mural was designed by Dan Kitchener, the same person who sprayed painted the mural on the side of New Amsterdam 

For bands, there is ample parking in the back with an easy load-in, an immense greenroom with hotel-style fixings

A private lounge, located on the bottom floor of the music hall, next to the bar, will be available to rent for parties and the like