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The city of Pittsburgh has its fair share of night clubs that get going around midnight, but the electronic music and strobe lights are more popular among the college set. Wine bars, historic breweries, casual pubs, and cool, underground cocktail bars tend to draw an older, more sophisticated clientele of thirty-somethings, college professors, and professionals.

Pittsburgh Nightlife

Church Brew Works

The idea of kicking back in a church pew with a cold beer may seem strange until you walk into Church Brew Works. The once-sacred space was recycled into a contemporary watering hole and brewery in 1996, and still retains the church’s original high arches and stained glass, though copper beer tanks have taken the place of the altar. The pub food gets mixed reviews, but the signature beer, which is also for sale around the city, is a hit.

3525 Liberty Ave., PA, 412-688-8220, www.churchbrew.com
Tags: nightlife | great value

Kelly’s Bar and Lounge

Rose-colored lights, tasty small plates like crab dumplings and pot stickers, a range of beers on tap, and an eclectic crowd of hipsters and business types characterize Kelly’s Bar, a somewhat underground (at least to tourists) lounge on the East End. Retro-style booths and tiled floors feel straight out of the 50s, but a jukebox soundtrack including everything from punk to country music keeps this neighborhood bar grounded in the here and now.

6012 Penn Circle South, PA, 412-363-6012
Tags: nightlife | editor pick | great value | trendy

Le Mardi Gras

Le Mardi Gras may only be a hole-in-the-wall, but this cocktail bar is a local favorite for its dark, intimate atmosphere (including just a handful of tables) and the relaxed jazz soundtrack. The repeat clientele come for cocktails made from freshly squeezed juice; the jukebox adds to the vintage feel.

731 Copeland St., PA, 412-683-0912, www.lemardigras.com
Tags: budget | nightlife | trendy

Piper’s Pub

This lively Irish/Scottish pub draws a laid-back crowd with over two dozen beers on tap and a wide variety of single malt scotch. Shepherd’s pie and other classic dishes are popular among the groups of friends who show up to watch televised rugby matches and share a few pints on weekend nights.

1828 East Carson St., PA, 412-381-3977, www.piperspub.com
Tags: nightlife | great value | pub


Expertly mixed novelty cocktails like a white chocolate martini and a mango mojito became even more popular at Z:Lounge after one of the bartenders was honored as the city's best in Pittsburgh's City Paper in 2006. The relaxed dance club, well-liked by college students and twenty-somethings, features live bands or DJs on the upper level every night of the week. Call ahead to find out if there is a cover charge for the evening.

2108 East Carson St., PA, 412-431-1800, www.zloungepgh.com
Tags: nightlife | trendy | cover charge

Zen Social Club

New in August 2008, this posh club and cocktail bar is inspired, as the name suggests, by the Far East. DJs provide the electronic soundtrack for stylish clientele throughout the two sleek black and red rooms and the VIP lounge; exotic cocktails include the Zentini, a Japanese-style concoction of green tea liqueur, sake, and lemon. Arrive before 1:30am to avoid paying a cover charge (price varies depending on the day of the week and the DJ line-up).

125 W. Station Square Dr., PA, 412-918-1637, www.zenprivateclub.com
Tags: nightlife | editor pick | trendy | cover charge

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