The Hangover | Drink Issue | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Hangover 

We were probably overambitious when we thought we could get to 14 or more bars in one night. After a solid eight hours of drinking and more than one heated argument about city bike lanes, we had to call it a night. Some met up with friends; one had to fetch the bike he had abandoned in the Strip District eight hours earlier; and I tipsily tricked a co-worker into finally watching Beyoncé’s Lemonade

But we had fallen short. 

So, for pride’s sake, we decided to visit the last three on the list.

2 p.m.

Place: Birmingham Bridge Tavern, 2901 Sarah St., South Side

Drink: Tangerine Swirl Cream Ale, Penn Brewery, Pittsburgh 

Type of bar: An English-style neighborhood tavern that pays special attention to sports. Both floors have a couple of TVs that show whatever game is in season. 

Special features: The 120-year-old building started life as Hotel Lieb, and was reputedly known as one of the best brothels in the city. In the 1930s, to facilitate its own expansion plans, J&L Steel paid for the building to be moved across the street to where it stands now.

Happy hour: 50 cents off all drinks from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday 

Weirdest thing overheard by the bartender: “It usually comes out of my mouth,” says owner John Hauck. “We once had a sweet old lady tell us, ‘Ya know, this used to be a whorehouse,’ she had pictures that she showed us of women sitting on the steps.”

Time:  5 p.m.

Place:  Täkō, 214 Sixth St., Downtown

Drink:  Michelada (spicy beer cocktail)

Ambiance: Inside, it’s dance club meets pirate ship meets street-side taqueria. Bar-stool seats on the outside give it the feel of a stationary food truck.

Speciality drinks: Margaritas and mezcal. Beers are mostly imported selections from Spanish-speaking countries.

Noise level: Fucking loud 

Weirdest thing overheard by the bartender: At the one-year-anniversary party: “Well, no one died. And no one got pregnant. I’d say it was a pretty zen year. We made no life and took no lives.”

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Place: Acacia, 2108 E. Carson St., South Side

Drink: Horse’s Neck (bourbon, ginger ale, ginger beer, lemon)

Type of bar: A speakeasy-style bar that’s easy to walk past if you aren’t looking for it. The low lighting and mellow mood make it a breath of fresh air on a night out in the South Side. 

Who to bring: A date or a close friend. The vibe is intimate, but there’s plenty of fun to be had.

Specialty drinks: If you’re looking for a superbly made, detail-oriented cocktail, Acacia has a list full of them; drinks change frequently enough to keep bringing you back. Look for pours of hard-to-find spirits as well.



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