Best of Culture + Nightlife | Culture and Nightlife | Pittsburgh

Best of Culture + Nightlife 

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Best Bar to Day-Drink 

Local Bar + Kitchen 
1515 E. Carson St., South Side
412-308-5183 or

Three things are essential to day-drinking: a good selection of drafts and spirits; a menu with tasty booze-soakers, like nachos; and something to watch besides daytime TV. So yeah, grabbing a pint and a triple-decker reuben, and getting a window seat to watch East Carson Street stroll by seems like a good day.

2nd: Round Corner Cantina
3rd: Lot 17

Best Strip Club 

3100 Liberty Ave., Strip District
412-281-3110 or

More than just your average titty bar, this gentlemen’s club also boasts an extensive food menu, with selections like the “chocolate mousse eruption.” Stop in on Tuesdays for the two-for-one lap-dance special, and check the website for special upcoming acts. 

2nd: Blush
3rd: Club Erotica

Best Dive Bar

3117 Brereton St., Polish Hill

This dark, narrow bar is a favorite of those in search of cheap drinks and no-nonsense service. (Most regulars will pledge their undying love to long-time bartender Tim Quinlan.) Head to the back room for live music, which could be a touring punk band or local noise artists (or both).

2nd: Dee’s Cafe
3rd: Jack’s Bar

Best Trivia Night

4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield412-621-4900

Trivia nights abound at local watering holes, but at nearly a decade old, Brillobox’s Pub Quiz is among the liveliest and longest-running. Wednesday nights, don your thinking cap and improve your memory for factoids by indulging in the ’Box’s well-curated drafts list. 

2nd: Hough’s
3rd: Franktuary 

Best Karaoke Night

Nico’s Recovery Room
178 Pearl St., Bloomfield

Every Saturday night from 9:30 on, Nico’s is full of dedicated karaoke fans. The welcoming atmosphere and supportive crowd are enough to make newbies want to take the mic. Drinks are cheap and spirits are high, so bring friends and sing your heart out. 

2nd: Garage Door Saloon
3rd: Cappy’s Café

Best DJ

DJ Nugget

Though he’s lately focusing more on his Butler Street bar, The Goldmark, Nugget (a.k.a. Adam Kulik) remains one of the city’s hottest DJs. His seamlessly grooving mixes, which run the gamut from rock and reggae to house and hip hop, have earned him dozens of credits at clubs and events nationally.

2nd: DJ Get Nasty
3rd: DJ Scar

Jillian Swisher and Theresa Peranteau at Perle, winner of Best Place for a Girls' Night Out - CP PHOTO BY JOHN COLOMBO
  • CP photo by John Colombo
  • Jillian Swisher and Theresa Peranteau at Perle, winner of Best Place for a Girls' Night Out

Best Place for a Girls’ Night Out

25 Market Square, Downtown
412-471-2058 or

This champagne lounge features tasty drinks, a chic atmosphere and music to dance to. Every Saturday is ladies’ night — enjoy a free drink — and on Thursdays, you can grab your gals and learn to dance the bachata with DJ Bobby D. 

2nd: Cavo
3rd: Howl at the Moon

Best Place for a Guys’ Night Out 

135 Ninth St., Downtown412-281-7703

Blush has evolved in the past year or so. In addition to the exotic dancers, Blush also offers a pretty sweet sports bar on the third floor. There are 10 big-screen TVs, and plenty of food and drink, including wings, sandwiches, burgers and steaks.

2nd: Cheerleaders
3rd: Cavo

Best Haunted Attraction

118 Locust St., Etna
412-781-5885 or

With top-notch production values and outside-the-box premises — horror Christmas, anyone? — this nationally known haunted house has been scaring the bejabbers out of locals and visiting celebrities alike for years. And for true fear-seekers, there’s always the no-holds-barred attraction The Basement

2nd: Hundred Acres Manor
3rd: Phantom Fright Nights at Kennywood

Best Place for an Adult Birthday Party

Rivers Casino
777 Casino Drive, North Side
412-231-7777 or

You needn’t like slots or blackjack to spend your b-day here. Rivers boasts multiple bars, DJs, live music and dining options from casual to fine. Bonus: Visit on your actual birthday and qualify for a free lunch or dinner at the Grand View Buffet.

2nd: Dave & Buster’s
3rd: Hofbrauhaus 

Best Distance Race

Pittsburgh Marathon

Most locals would call this city-spanning marathon THE distance race. Runners gather from near and far — there were 39,000-plus participants this year — but if you’re not up for 26.2 miles, there are other ways to get in on the fun, even if that just means cheering from the sidelines.

2nd: The Great Race
3rd: The EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler 

Best Independent Movie Theater 

Row House Cinema 
4115 Butler St., Lawrenceville
412-904-3225 or

This newer but cozy movie theater has quickly become a favorite place to screen classic and cult films, as well as the occasional new movie. Kids’ shows, theme nights and easy access to malted craft beverages at the adjacent Bierport Tap Room make this a neighborly place to catch a film.

2nd: Hollywood Theater
3rd: The Manor Theatre 

Zumba during July's OpenStreets PGH, winner of Best Street Festival - CP PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
  • CP photo by Luke Thor Travis
  • Zumba during July's OpenStreets PGH, winner of Best Street Festival

Best Street Festival 

OpenStreets PGH

For three Sundays this past summer, Pittsburghers took the streets, as a couple of major thoroughfares were closed to automobiles. Instead of traffic, there were bikers, walkers, yogis, dancers, skaters and giddy kids enjoying the asphalt. We loved it in 2015 and 2016, and hope Open Streets returns in 2017.

2nd: Jam on Walnut
3rd: Little Italy Days

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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