That hidden bar list became extremely popular, and suggestions came pouring in for other hidden, but welcoming, bars in the region. However, with the pandemic shutting everything down for a time, it was unclear which hidden bars would make it through.
Now with restrictions lifted, and a large majority of adults vaccinated in Allegheny County, the hidden bars are ready for visitors again, if you can find them. CP has highlighted five welcoming hidden bars that have emerged from the closures and are serving drinks, food, and merriment, even if remaining a little bit secretive.
Shadyside Hideaway Bar
228 S. Highland Ave., Shadyside. Search Facebook for “Shadyside Hideaway Bar”
Though advertised as hidden away with a cool neon sign, this little hole-in-the-wall bar in Shadyside can still be a bit difficult to locate. To enter, walk down a thin alleyway next to Millie’s Ice Cream, and open the non-descript door to a divey Pittsburgh institution.
Dark and small with few windows, this is the perfect kind of bar to escape Pittsburgh’s rapidly chilling temperatures and feel like you have escaped the city. It's also one of the few places in a very trendy business district to get a cheap and stiff drink, and to schmooze with some locals.
Order a tall boy (Hideaway often has specials) or a mixed drink, and then play some darts with your new friends.
The Speckled Egg
501 Grant St., Downtown. thespeckledeggpgh.com
Known mostly as a breakfast and lunch spot, The Speckled Egg can only be accessed by entering the Union Trust Building in Downtown Pittsburgh. However, after lunch, this hidden gem converts into a happy hour bar, serving up inventive cocktails, craft beer, fine wines, and a slew of “refreshers.” Happy Hour runs from 4-7 p.m. and offers half-priced cocktails and $2 cans of beer. But remember, last call is at 7 p.m.
The cocktails and craft beers are reason enough to visit, but the charm of this hidden bar lies in its location right inside the lobby of the Union Trust, which has an amazing 11-story spiral ceiling to gaze upon as you finish the last drop of your beverage.
Elks Lodge #339
400 Cedar Ave., North Side. thepittsburghbanjoclub.com/wednesday
What is mostly a members-only bar inside the Elks Lodge on the North Side, on Wednesdays, this charming neighborhood joint opens up to the public for the lodge’s weekly banjo nights. Visitors have to ring a bell to get in, but once inside, it's one of the warmest experiences around, and the beer is extremely cheap.
Hang out at the circular bar in the small back room, and then make your way up to the larger hall to watch the banjo players do their thing. You might even spot WQED’s Chris Fennimore plucking some strings. Don’t miss this Pittsburgh right of passage, and don’t forget to tip well, this event is always packed.
510 Market St., Downtown. fl2pgh.com
Step into the Fairmont Pittsburgh, and then walk up the wide staircase to the second floor of this four-star hotel (or take the elevators). Then enter fl. 2, the hotel's fancy, yet inviting bar that offers great views of Market Square and a very accessible and classy experience.
Cocktails are served in special glassware and the wine list is extensive. Bartenders are dressed to the nines, and customers can get dolled up too, but it's not a necessity. The bar even offers DJ nights, for those who want to dance. Or stay for a fancy dinner with some after-dinner digestifs.
601 Amity St., Homestead. bluedustpgh.com
The borough of Homestead is split into two business districts: the strip mall at the Waterfront with its chains and bike path, and 8th Avenue with its small businesses and restaurants on the old main thoroughfare. In between these two districts is a gastropub that is easy to bypass, but it shouldn’t be missed: Blue Dust.
Located right by the train tracks, Blue Dust offers an extensive craft beer list and some of the best pub grub in the region. They smoke all their meats and offer them on plates or in sandwiches, and their nachos are some of the best around.
The wood bar is also homey and comforting in an area known for crowded chain restaurants and retail centers, so it feels hidden away in more ways than one.