In Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, fish fries are celebrated just about everywhere, including bars and restaurants. Those are great, but the truest fish fry experience is in a large community hall with fluorescent lights that are too bright, and volunteers serving up fish, pierogies, fries, and sides. There is something magical about sitting with neighbors at tables with plastic tablecloths and enjoying shared time and a hot meal that only happens for about seven weeks out of the year.
And when friends and community members can imbibe an alcoholic beverage in one of their favorite church basements, the whole experience is even better.
Therefore, City Paper picked a handful of great fish fries that encourage visitors to crack open a cold one with their meals.
American Serbian Club, South Side
Located in the heart of South Side, the Serbian Club is comfortable and usually not too busy. Grab some fish and mac 'n’ cheese at the window in the back then plunk down at a table. The club has a great rectangular bar with an impressive array of spirits, as well as Czech and Serbian beers.
2524 Sarah St., South Side. Each Friday through April 10. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. americanserbianclub.club
Elks Lodge #1668, Oakmont
Apparently, CP’s longtime Director of Operations Kevin Shepherd used to steal beer from the Oakmont Elks Lodge when he worked there in high school (or so he tells us), so we know they are stocked with booze. Located near the Oakmont Yacht Club, the Elks Lodge hosts a congenial fish fry with sandwiches and shrimp dinners. The lodge has a small bar where bartenders can whip up cocktails.
106 Washington Ave., Oakmont. Each Friday through April 10. 3-7 p.m. Facebook search "Oakmont Elks #1668"
Four Seasons Brewing, Latrobe
This one is actually a brewery that has a fish fry, rather than a fish fry that serves beer. But the space is open and the locals are plenty. Choose a beer from over the dozen Four Seasons has on tap, then order your fish fry with Big Dan. Watch him fry it up right there while you enjoy your brew and a conversation with friends. An English Mile or brown ale is the perfect accompaniment for some fried fish.
745 Lloyd Ave., Latrobe. Each Friday through April 10. 4-8 p.m. fsbrewing.com
American Legion Gold Star Post 820, Monroeville
Scores of American flags welcome visitors to this suburban center. The fried fish menu included haddock and shrimp, served in sandwiches and tacos. All seafood batter is made with Yuengling, so you should probably just order a Yuengling at the bar too. SpitfireZ caters the fish fry and they make an array of homemade sauces to go with your meal and drink. The legion is now nonsmoking.
4339 Old William Penn Highway, Monroeville. Each Friday through April 10. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Facebook search "American Legion Gold Star Post 820"
St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Homestead
The parish in Homestead has an incredibly extensive dinner menu: There's linguini with shrimp or scallops, tuna melts, pizza, and popcorn shrimp. It's more than fried fish at St. Maximilian Kolbe. And according to Code for Pittsburgh Fish Fry map, this parish also serves alcohol. With a meal this fancy, a glass of wine seems appropriate.
363 West 11th Ave., Homestead. Each Friday through April 10. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Facebook search "St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish (Homestead, PA)"
This is probably the most popular fish fry in all of Pittsburgh, so come prepared for a wait. If you have some friends and are willing to take turns waiting in line to order food, head over to the bar and grab a beer. There are domestics and crafts on draft and bottle. Once inside, embrace the business of a very popular community event. It’s faster to order to-go, but then you can’t get buzzed with all your neighbors.
400 Cedar Ave., North Side, Each Friday through April 10. 6-8 p.m. Facebook search "Allegheny Elks Lodge #339"
Holy Apostles Parish St. Albert the Great, Baldwin Borough
Here you'll find $2 beers. I repeat: $2 beers. Yes, the benefits of community fish fries are mostly about interacting with neighbors in a welcoming environment. But the cheap beer prices really bring it home. Fish sandwiches and crab cakes are available at this Catholic parish in Baldwin Borough. Grab some pierogies, too.
3198 Schieck St., Baldwin Borough. Each Friday through April 10. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. catholiccommunityofsouthpgh.org