South Side | City Guide | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

South Side

Commonwealth Press
Commonwealth Press

One Day in Town

The South Side is a part of town that stays up late, but mornings there can be just as fun. Begin yours at Big Dog Coffee (2717 Sarah St., 412-586-7306) with a pastry and any style of coffee drink your heart desires. Cozy up in an armchair in front of the roaring fireplace in the winter; in the summer, enjoy the sounds of the neighborhood while tucked away on the patio. 

Stroll down East Carson Street to Three Rivers Vintage (1716 E. Carson St., 412-431-2140). Carrying pieces that go as far back as the late 1800s, this is a hidden gem for both men’s and women’s vintage and consigment clothing. Whether you are looking for bell-bottoms or a classic ’50s varsity sweater, you’ll enjoy browsing through history. 

Lose the rest of the afternoon at Victory Pointe Gaming Lounge (1113 E. Carson St., 412-251-5150). Whether you prefer classic pinball, arcade games or console games, you’ll get into the groove to channel your inner child. Buy some tokens, or play all day on the classic consoles for only $10. 

At night, the South Side comes alive with people streaming in from all parts of the city and suburbs to enjoy the party scene. Club Café (56 S. 12th St., 412-431-4950) always has a solid and diverse lineup of bands, standup comedy and even burlesque to help you enjoy your evening. Shows are reasonably priced and the room is an intimate, art-deco-style haven for live-music fans. 

Once  you’re all tired out and ready to wind down for the night, grab a seat at Acacia (2108 E. Carson St., 412-488-1800), a cocktail bar designed in Prohibition-era style. Keep your eyes open for the subtly marked door, and once inside, enjoy the menu of excellent libations to the sounds of jazz floating over patrons’ conversations. 

click to enlarge South Side
CP file photo by Heather Mull
The Pub Chip Shop


Cafe du Jour. Beautiful homemade food with French influence is on the menu of this tiny, romantic cafe. Try to get a back-porch seat in the summer. 1107 E. Carson St., 412-488-9695

Cambod-ican Kitchen. This Cambodian-American fusion restaurant is one of the only places in the city for late-night eats. Options for meat-eaters and vegetarians abound. 1701 E. Carson St., 412-381-6199

Dish Osteria & Bar. Take a date here and your date might love you forever. Known for its hospitality and thoughtfully curated coastal Italian menu. 128 S. 17th St., 412-390-2012

Doce Taqueria. This teeny taqueria has a few stools and a whole lot of flavor. Stop by for classic tacos, including a vegan option. 1220 E. Carson St., 412-238-8518

Double Wide Grill. This open, dog-friendly bar inhabiting an old gas station is a great place for some grub and a beer. Good veggie choices. 2339 E. Carson St., 412-390-1111.

Lla Palapa. Truly traditional Mexican food in friendly atmosphere. Try the mole and the chili rellenos. 1925 E. Carson St., 412-586-7015

The Milkshake Factory. This is the place to come for over-the-top sweet treats. More than 50 flavors of milkshakes should keep everyone fat and happy. 1705 E. Carson St., 412-488-1808

Over the Bar Bicycle Café. Ride your bike to this bike-themed bar, and have a pint and some pub fare to fuel you up for the road. 2518 E. Carson St., 412-381-3698

Piper's Pub. A true Scottish-Irish pub, this is the place to drink scotch, wash down pie-and-mash, and watch soccer, ahem, football. 1828 E. Carson St., 412-381-2797

The Pub Chip Shop. Piper’s little brother, this tiny spot serves up savory pies, fish-and-chips, scotch eggs and a healthy dose of sarcasm. 1830 E. Carson St., 412-381-2447

Stagioni. Delicious homemade Italian food, right down to the fresh ingredients. Expect great pasta dishes, excellent meats and simply prepared but soul-warming dishes. 2104 E. Carson St., 412-586-4738

Zenith. The spot is a quirky little vegetarian restaurant with a well-known brunch and plenty of mismatched chotchkies. 86 S. 26th St., 412-481-4833.

click to enlarge South Side
Photo by Billy Ludt
Dee's Café

Bars & Clubs

Beehive Coffeehouse. A mainstay in the hip coffeeshop scene. You can still expect lots of tattoos, strong coffee and, later in the day, a strong “adult beverage.” 1327 E. Carson St., 412-488-4483

Birmingham Bridge Tavern. Rowdy weekends and easy days make this lived-in neighborhood establishment with an impressive beer list a great place to meet friends. 2901 Sarah St., 412-381-2739

Carmella's Plates & Pints. Still a bit of a darling among industry folks, the place has earned its reputation for a no-nonsense menu and a good time. 1908 E. Carson St., 412-918-1215

Dee's Café. Darts, pool, ping pong and cheap beer keep this landmark bar competitive and fun. Be prepared to smell like smoke. 1314 E. Carson St., 412-431-1314

Fat Heads. Big everything, from the sandwiches to the beer list. This place is a Pittsburgh classic and will remain so for years to come. 1805 E. Carson St., 412-431-7433

Jack Rose Bar. The dive bar to end all dive bars, Jack’s draws in the rough-and-tumble regulars and curious college kids, too. Cheap is the name of the game. 2104 E. Carson St., 412-431-3644

Local. A bar and an open rooftop known to host Pittsburgh sports stars and fans alike. 1515 E. Carson St., 412-431-1125.


Commonwealth Press. Celebrate Pittsburgh culture through screen-printed T-shirts and other wares featuring local sports teams, neighborhoods and celebrities. 1931 E. Carson St., 412-431-4207

Culture Shop. Placate your inner hippie with some turquoise jewelry, Thai fisherman’s pants and incense from this unique bohemian hideaway. 1602 E. Carson St., 412-481-8284

Dave's Music Mine. Good prices and a sizable inventory of both new vinyl and used CDs are the bread-and-butter of Dave’s. Browse through thousands of records on a rainy day. 1210 E. Carson St., 412-488-8800

Decade. This street-style boutique will keep your wardrobe fresh. Pick up some Pittsburgh-themed wear for extra street cred. 1407 E. Carson St., 412-720-1677

Figleaf Boutique. Delicate women’s clothing and accessories in the latest colors and styles grace this boutique. Shop for a cute dress or a new bauble. 1406 E. Carson St., 412-431-7700

Highway Robbery. A well-curated vintage shop with a ton of style and friendly help. Check out the Instagram account to see what’s new. 1411 E. Carson St., 412-251-0818


Charlie Murdoch's Dueling Piano Bar. This South Side gem is closed for renovations until August 2016, but they’ll be back with all of the dueling pianos they can muster. 1005 E. Carson St., 412-431-7464

Rex Theater. This former movie theater houses an impressive variety of shows. Rock acts, comedians, freak shows and storytelling nights all find a home here. 1602 E. Carson St., 412-381-6811

Smiling Moose. This lively venue is known for hosting all-ages rock shows in the top bar. For dancing, you’ll also find a DJ or two spinning a couple of nights a week. 1306 E. Carson St., 412-431-4668

Arts & Culture

City Theatre. This long-standing theater group presents Pittsburgh premieres of contemporary plays, often with slightly off-beat themes. 1300 Bingham St., 412-431-2489

Silver Eye Center for Photography. Solely devoted to photography, this gallery features new work from Pittsburgh and around the world. 1015 E. Carson St., 412-431-1810

Other Spots of Interest

Escape the Room PA. Bring your friends and family for an adventure game inside a room that’s an interactive puzzle. Find clues to help you escape in 60 minutes. 1505 E. Carson St., 412-301-7444

Oliver Bath House. This is the only city pool that stays open year-round. Use that summer pool pass to swim in every season. 38 S. 10th St., 412- 488-8380

Riverfront Walking Trail. Hop on this trail to hike and bike along on the Monongahela River. Start here and you can go all the way to Washington, D.C., on the Great Allegheny Passage. 

SouthSide Works. This shopping center down by the river boasts a multiplex movie theater, shops galore from REI to Urban Outfitters, and restaurants of all types to assuage your appetite. Between 26th Street and Hot Metal Street,