The Rivalry Issue: Down the Hatch | Drink | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Rivalry Issue: Down the Hatch

Let’s see how the cities stack up when it comes to local libations

Every city is only as good as its watering holes. Let’s see how Pittsburgh and Cleveland stack up when it comes to local libations.

Hidden Harbor in Squirrel Hill - CP PHOTO BY KATE HAGERTY
CP photo by Kate Hagerty
Hidden Harbor in Squirrel Hill

Local Booze


With another distillery or brewery opening up seemingly every week, it’s safe to say that Pittsburgh is a great place to enjoy a beverage while supporting your community. Rich with history going back to the development of rye whiskey and the rebellion that followed, Pittsburgh is a breeding ground for innovation informed by heritage. Distilleries like Boyd & Blair, Wigle Whiskey and the award-winning Maggie’s Farm Rum offer something for everyone. And the city’s second-wave craft brewery, East End Brewing, celebrates its 14th anniversary this year. - Celine Roberts


Cleveland is home to the region’s best and most widely distributed craft beer: Great Lakes. The only brewery that comes close in the Midwest is Bell’s, maker of Oberon and Two-Hearted. Is Bell’s in Pittsburgh? Of course not. It’s in Michigan, which is a god-forsaken state, but somehow still way better than Pittsburgh. Do they even make beer in Pittsburgh? It turns out the city has a swill factory that produces something called Iron City, which the ’Burghers are evidently very proud of, but it tastes like Keystone Light mixed with dishwater. Why is this even up for discussion? - Sam Allard

Stefan Was serves creative beverages at Porco Lounge and Tiki Room in Cleveland. - CLEVELAND PHOTO BY KEN BLAZE
Cleveland photo by Ken Blaze
Stefan Was serves creative beverages at Porco Lounge and Tiki Room in Cleveland.

Tiki Bars


Recently called an “eccentric tiki mecca” by online magazine Punch, Pittsburgh is bursting with friendly faces behind the bar who are eager to bring the aloha spirit to the city’s bar patrons. Hidden Harbor, in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, is the most recent bar to join the tiki-drink slingers, with tons of island decor and a choice of more than 250 rums. Sip 20 selected rums on Harbor’s “rum passport,” and you’ll be admitted to the Dead Parrots Society. And Tiki Lounge, in the South Side, has been whisking patrons away to tropical locales inside its bar since the early 2000s, with the help of tiki classics and an indoor waterfall or two. - Celine Roberts


Porco Lounge and Tiki Room has so completely dazzled and dizzied Cleveland with its delicious and powerful Polynesian concoctions that the name has become an adjective unto itself: porcoed. It takes a lot to get Clevelanders to forget that they’re actually in Cleveland, but step into Porco and you’re instantly transported to a tropical oasis where everything is fun, tasty, and filled with three shots of alcohol. Don’t believe us? Of course, you don’t — you’re drunk on Rolling Rock. Then take the word of all the beverage connoisseurs at the 2016 South Beach Wine and Food Festival who gave Porco the People’s Choice Award. And did we fail to mention it holds the record for making the world’s largest daiquiri? (Vince Grzegorek)

Comments (0)