With all the beautiful buildings in downtown Pittsburgh, we often find ourselves wishing for more options for eating and drinking on the rooftops of some of the tallest buildings.
While we do not have many sky-high dining options available, the folks at the Hotel Monaco have tried to rectify this problem with their rooftop Biergarten.
We had been to this one before for quick drinks and were invited back down as guests of the hotel to try more. In this one we share our full thoughts on this beautiful rooftop bar!
Impressive European Brews with a View
As far as the draft list at the Biergarten is concerned, they know how to rock a beer list.
The beer list here contains roughly fourteen on draft and 80 bottles. The draft list during our recent visit included imported brews like the Braupakt (a hopped Hefeweizen by Weihenstephaner in partnership with Sierra Nevada) and a Belgian single from Duvel in Belgium as well as local brews like a collaboration cider between The Commoner and Wyndridge Farms and T-Funk from local brewery Full Pint.
The bottle list tilts heavily into import territory and features a number of beers from all over Europe including brews from Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, and more. Suffice it to say, if you want to get your hands on an obscure import, you will be able to find a few options here worth trying.
We were also pleasantly surprised to find a small cocktail menu as well, which during the summer months shifted heavily to frozen slushie cocktails. Naturally, we had to try the Froze which featured rose wine, coconut rum, banana liquor, key lime, and mint. It was a nice, boozy cocktail that was surprisingly full of flavor- perfect for summer rooftop drinking if you aren't in the mood for beer.
A Small Food Menu is Available
During our recent visit we were able to sample some of the food menu, but the waitress will be the first to admit to you that the offerings are more snacks than actual entrees.
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On our first choice, kielbasa with pierogies, we were told they were already out at 6pm and so we opted for the bratwurst- keeping in line with an issue we had from a prior visit when they were out of beer cheese for their pretzels. (We later heard a waitress tell another guest they were temporarily out of chips and had to run down to the hotel restaurant to get more and it'd be a few minutes- this appears to be a recurring theme.)
The order of brats and pierogies is fairly small- three fried pierogies and a standard bratwurst. The flavors were about average for what you'd expect for these, and apart from the small size is decent bar fare when drinking European brews.
Our second dish was the fish sandwich which was a larger portion overall, but still erred on the side of being a bit basic for our tastes even for bar fare. (But, if in the right mood at the same time, could be exactly what we need.)
Overall, the food at the Biergarten is best viewed as snack food, and their $10-$12 price tag reflects this. If anything, go for the pretzel with beer cheese at its a delicious and large portion to complement the beer!
The Biergarten is Hard on the Wallet
When it comes down to it, a rooftop bar in downtown Pittsburgh serving up imported brews should be one of the best bars in the city. And judging by the seemingly perpetual crowds, it just may be.
But where we have reason to pause is the cost.
At the Biergarten the bottled beers run $8-$12, draft beers will set you back $9-$10 on average (with the most expensive topping out at $14), and cocktails average around $12-$14 each. While the libations are great in their own right, this price point also makes the Biergarten perhaps the most expensive bar we've visited in the entire city- outside of those at the stadiums, at least.
Do we expect a rooftop bar to be on the high end? Absolutely. Do we pay more for obscure European imports? All the time (it is what we do best). But this one is pushing it, and is perhaps more attractive to business travelers who are visiting on an expense account than locals looking to knock back a few before dinner.
What we wouldn't give for a well timed happy hour here!
The Biergarten is located on the roof of the Hotel Monaco at 620 WIlliam Penn Place in downtown Pittsburgh. The bar closes during inclement weather as the tables are uncovered. We'd like to thank the folks at the Biergarten for inviting us out for our visit. As always, all opinions are our own.