Simplicity and dedication to detail reign at DiAnoia’s | Drink | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Simplicity and dedication to detail reign at DiAnoia’s

“We want to be your most glorified home bar. Everything matters but it’s super simple.”

DiAnoia’s Aperol Spritz
DiAnoia’s Aperol Spritz

The newly opened DiAnoia’s, in the Strip District, already feels like an established neighborhood spot. Settle onto a barstool and be greeted by the sight of a tidy back-bar, gold barware gleaming warmly and arranged just so. A lot of love went into building this place, starting with the owners, married couple Dave Anoia and Aimee DiAndrea, and involving many of their friends and family. The woodwork was done by a friend, Christopher Bandy, and the light-blue quartz bar top was a wish granted to Heather Perkins, the bar/restaurant manager, who got to pick it out. Many of the staff including Anoia worked together previously at Spoon, where he served as the former chef de cuisine. DiAndrea clearly has an eye for beautiful glassware. She has a bead on finds vintage and thrift, and handpicked it all. 

Perkins runs a tightly curated bar. “I had some hard decisions to make,” she says. She wanted to emphasize approachability and start conversations about what was being poured. “I envision it being a café. I’d love to see happy hour be a big thing,” she says. She keeps simple syrup on the back bar just in case a customer requests it, but prefers to use mildly bitter Italian sodas to provide a touch of sweetness. “We want to be your most glorified home bar. Everything matters but it’s super simple,” says Perkins of the general food and beverage concept.

The cocktail menu is split into three sections — morning, noon and night — and provides an impressive collection of amari and wine. Morning begins with coffee. “Coffee cocktails were something Dave had to have,” says Perkins, “Everywhere in Italian cafés you have to have a Shakerato.” Shakeratos are espresso and a liqueur shaken over ice. DiAnoia’s offers a choice between house-made limoncello, sambuca and amaretto. The combination of the creamy espresso and anise flavors served in delicate glass was a delight from the first sip. The coffee program, both with booze and without, is an adventure in flavor of its own. “Coffee is its own primadonna,” says Cameron Kasraie, the café manager. He created the Merda (yes, that’s Italian for shit, ask for the story — it’s worth hearing), a cocktail that’s a lovely combination of Cedrata, a cedar soda, espresso and limoncello. It’s woody, nutty and with light citrus notes, and could easily park someone at the bar for leisurely Saturday morning. 

Noon cocktails pack more punch, like the Martini Perfecto, topped with golden olive oil that somehow is the ingredient every martini I’ve ever had has been missing. Night features the more indulgent of the menu’s two negronis, a drink Perkins is passionate about. The other is priced at an affordable $7. Montenegro, a mellow amaro, is permanently on tap for those who might want just a little nip, or to get ambitious and order a smoky glass of rhubarb-heavy Sfumato.