The Newcomers Guide to Bloomfield-Garfield | City Guide | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Newcomers Guide to Bloomfield-Garfield

click to enlarge The Newcomers Guide to Bloomfield-Garfield
Cp photo: Jared Wickerham
Brady Malcom and Liam Collins play hockey with their dad Chris in Bloomfield.
Old and new: That’s the simplest way to describe Bloomfield and Garfield. The two adjoining neighborhoods are home to a growing influx of younger residents, while still accommodating long timers. There are still smoker-friendly bars and old-school Italian joints, but also new gluten-free bakeries and hip spots with rotating cocktail menus. And, of course, places that are welcoming to both young and old. Bloomfield still has an old Italian charm with its historic churches and fresh-produce markets, as well the Little Italy Days festival ( each year. Garfield has emerged as an inclusive artists’ hub, with several galleries along Penn Avenue that come alive during the monthly Unblurred gallery crawl ( In an increasingly divided world, it’s appealing to see these two Pittsburgh neighborhoods embrace their contrasts and unite.

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Food + Drink

Apteka ( offers inventive vegan fare with Eastern European influences, including soups, pierogis, and fruit tarts, as well as cocktails with housemade shrubs and syrups. For a longtime fixture of Penn Avenue, check out People’s Indian Restaurant (, which offers popular curries, rice dishes, and more in a warm, casual setting. The lunch buffet is a bargain.

Just down the street is Spak Brothers (, a popular spot for freshly made pizzas, sandwiches, calzones, and other snack-food options. The menu offers plenty for vegetarians and vegans, including the can't-miss seitan cheesesteak. Meat eaters can rejoice at Tessaro’s ( and enjoy one of Pittsburgh’s favorite gourmet burgers. Dine in the lively barroom or one of the quieter back rooms.


Keep your street style fresh at Daily Bread / Refresh ( This locally created fashion storefront sells caps, T-shirts, as well as vintage athletic wear.

Looking for that perfect house plant? Farm & Forest ( in Garfield can supply an indoor cactus or low-maintenance succulent; there are also classes about plants and how to add some charm to your home decor.

White Whale Books ( is a cozy corner bookstore, with a well-curated selection of new, used, and local work. The bookstore also hosts poetry events, author visits, and other literary community happenings.

click to enlarge The Newcomers Guide to Bloomfield-Garfield (2)
CP photo: Lisa Cunningham
Pittsburgh Glass Center

Arts + Culture

Bloomfield and Garfield are mostly about cutting-edge art, but the Pittsburgh Glass Center ( honors the region’s glass-producing roots. Part classroom, part gallery, this center teaches you to make art glass, or you can just admire the work of professionals at regular exhibits. For a more modern experience, stop by Silver Eye Center for Photography and peruse this gallery devoted to contemporary photographic arts.

At Assemble (, a nonprofit community space, kids can tap into maker culture through craft, art and tech classes, and projects. But adults can craft at Workshop PGH ( and relax in the classroom space to learn woodworking, shibori dyeing, printmaking, leather work, sewing, and more.

BOOM Concepts ( is a shared space that focuses on the community, with exhibits from local artists and open events like puppet-karaoke (it's what it sounds like).


Brillobox ( is your stop for national indie acts, hip local shows, and specialized DJ nights, from world music to queer dance parties. 

Howlers ( is a no-frills storefront joint where you can catch everything from old punk, new punk and weird rockabilly to indie bands, alt-country, and tribute nights.

The Mr. Roboto Project ( used to be a bar, but now it’s a DIY, all-ages, straight-edge space that hosts mostly indie, punk, and hardcore bands.

Where the Locals Go

It might seem counter-intuitive considering this is a popular, tourist-friendly chain, but the Primanti Brothers ( on Penn Avenue in Garfield has become a neighborhood hangout. Cheap late-night food, good beer, and a ton of TVs where locals watch the game and shoot the breeze. Happy hour includes half-off most drafts and discounted food. The pizza is better than you think.