Mike’s Beer Bar Celebrates All Things Locally Made Beer

When we go out to bars in the city, we are often dismayed about how little our Pittsburgh brewery scene is represented on draft lists. In the many, many bars we have visited, it seems like local brews are generally overlooked for larger and more nationally known craft brewers.

This is, on its own, not necessarily a bad thing- we still can find a great craft beer either way. But this viewpoint comes about as we live in a region with nearly 100 breweries within an hour of downtown, and with that kind of stock, you would think more places would carry them as a focal point on the menu!

Enter Mike's Beer Bar on the North Shore. This one may look like just another bar near PNC Park, but is one that elevates their offering with over 80 beers on tap, a monster can selection (500+ bottles), and, perhaps the best part, almost all of them are local!

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The Carnegie Trees & Neapolitan Presepio Are A Holiday Gem

We love it when local museums decorate for Christmas in Pittsburgh as it always gives us an excuse to visit one more time before the end of the holiday season.

The Carnegie Museum of Art gets into the holiday fun with two annual exhibits worth checking out- the Carnegie Trees and the Neapolitan Presepio. While both of these exhibits are on the smaller side compared to other exhibits we've been to, they pack in a lot of detail that will have you lingering for quite some time.

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15 Reasons to Visit Pittsburgh in December – Embracing the Holidays

While Pittsburgh in December marks the start of winter, the city itself is in holiday mode more than anything. We have just come off the heels of Light Up Night, and our Christmas markets, numerous Christmas events, and other festivities are at their peak.

Of course, as with all of our other monthly recommendations list, we also have a few great places to drink and museums to explore on the exceptionally cold days that are coming into the city because, let's face it, winter is coming and sometimes you just want to be inside.

So if you are looking for things to do in Pittsburgh in December, check out the following options.

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7 Great Experiences to Try During Winter in Pittsburgh

Winters in Pittsburgh are rough, we're not going to sugarcoat it.

Between occasional mounds of snow and below freezing temperatures we wouldn't blame you if hibernation was your primary goal. But if you are looking to get out and explore, southwestern Pennsylvania has a lot for you!

The following are some of our favorite things to do when the temperatures are at a minimum.

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Lawrenceville Distilling is a Hidden Gem in the Neighborhood

Lawrenceville Distilling started making craft spirits in their namesake neighborhood in 2018. Since then, their popularity increased quite a bit to the point that they were awarded the title of Pennsylvania's Gin Distillery in 2019 and Absinthe Distillery in 2020 by the New York International Spirits Competition.

Unfortunately for us, we only made it into this gem of a distillery (tucked away off of the booming Butler Street) in late 2021. While we would still say that this one only has a few spirits available to purchase, their cocktail program and resident food pop-up make for a delightful night out all around.

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MoonLit Burgers Review – Smash Burgers Come to Dormont

MoonLit Burger is one of those restaurant concepts that has taken Pittsburgh by storm starting from their very first event. In just one year the concept went from having somewhat infrequent popups around the city to opening a dedicated restaurant to sling their popular LA-style smash burgers in Dormont.

While we, unfortunately, never made it to a pop-up event, we made sure to be one of the first people in the door when the restaurant opened in November 2021.

It was worth the wait, but admittedly with some kinks that we couldn't completely overlook as well.

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Dasher’s Lightshow at Pittsburgh Mills Was a Big Letdown

Drive-through Christmas lights in Pittsburgh are all over the place these days including Christmas at the Zoo, Shadrack's at the Butler County Fairground, Overly's Winter Wonderland in the Laurel Highlands, and the drive-through lights in Clinton, PA, to name a few. 

These experiences can be hit-or-miss to us as there is always a value proposition to keep in mind. Namely, how much you have to pay versus how many lights you get to see (and how long you get to spend on-site) as well as any possible wait you have to enter outright. To put it bluntly, what you can get for your money really does vary with these attractions and your experience can be especially impacted based on when you visit as peak crowds can detract from the experience immensely.

We mention this purely to set the stage for Dasher's Lightshow. This one opened up in several cities around the country in 2021, and in Pittsburgh can be found in the back parking lot of the Pittsburgh Mills Mall just off 28. We went shortly after they opened and drove away with one thought and one thought only- this one was an overpriced mess. 

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Cafetano Review – Visit for Coffee, Stay for the Food

When we found out the Honduran coffee roaster Cafetano was opening in the former Gaucho space in the Strip District, we weren't entirely sure what to think of it. This had nothing to do with the coffee shop itself (we will never say no to more amazing coffee in Pittsburgh), but rather the use of the space outright.

By Strip District standards, Gaucho had one of the larger building footprints in the neighborhood. Then, when it comes to coffee shops, we're not used to seeing any of that size anywhere in the city. So hearing that a coffee shop was moving into this particular space was a bit of a surprise.

Thankfully, it only took a few seconds after entering the shop to be sold on it. The wonderful use of the building was a hard reminder of how much space in coffee shops is sorely needed, and this is especially true in the always bustling Strip District. 

But Cafetano goes far beyond simply roasting and serving delicious coffee in a large and welcoming space. They also have a pretty stellar food menu to go along with it to make this one a full-service cafe in just about every respect. So when you visit, while you may go for the coffee, do yourself a favor and stay for a meal as well.

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Drink the Cookie Table is the Kind of Pittsburgh Beer Fest We Love

When it comes to Pittsburgh beer festivals, for a while it felt like we had seen it all. We've been to Beers of the Burgh (100% Western PA focused), Rose All Day (all things rose- beer, wine, and other spirits), and even the Good Wood Festival (where everything must have seen the inside of a barrel) to name a few.

It wasn't until the local beer website and podcast, Fueled by Hops, launched a beer festival in 2021 that we realized we were missing a category. Drink the Cookie Table was focused on all things dessert beer and brought both local and popular national breweries together to share their most devious sweet creations all under the branding of Pittsburgh's favorite wedding tradition- the cookie table. 

We were fortunate enough to attend Drink the Cookie Table as guests of our friends at Fueled by Hops, and share a bit more about what it was like in this one to get you excited for when it (hopefully) returns next!

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The Woods House Review – A Historic House Turned Scottish Pub

When we first heard about The Woods House restoration project, our ears perked up. As one of the oldest houses in Pittsburgh (constructed in 1792 by John Woods), we often remarked about how unfortunate it was such a beautiful and historic structure was in a state of disrepair every time we drove by.

When we found out that the restoration project involved turning it into a Scottish pub to honor the history of the early settlers of Hazelwood, we were in. Naturally, we visited The Woods House shortly after it opened to give it a try, and stuffed ourselves full of hearty and traditional pub fare.

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