Normally when we visit a new bar around the city, we often categorize it based on what they're good at. Allegheny Wine Mixer is great for wine. Independent Brewing Company has a killer draft list if you like Pittsburgh beer. We could go on.
While you can go to all of these spots for other reasons, odds are good you're going to gravitate to their specialties because, well, that is what they're known for.
Brillobox in Pittsburgh's Bloomfield neighborhood does not have one of these primary focuses. Instead, they shine on all three. Throw in a unique and welcoming ambiance and you have a bar that that comes together for the coveted goal of being good at everything- a rare treat in the city.
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A Unique Ambiance at Brillobox
You better be prepared when entering Brillobox, as the bar is a visual treat from all directions.
The gathering tables are 1950s-chic, curved for a cozy talking space, and are bright red to boot like something out of a diner or perhaps a lounge from the same decade. The bar itself was adorned with flowers that quite literally lept out and over to the bar seats, making them the focal point well before you even set eyes on the spirits. The back wall has a giant shark on it. And finally, the TV was playing everyone's favorite TV show from the 90s, Tales from the Crypt.
Does any of it make sense? Not in the slightest. But it doesn't have to in order for the colorful and uplifting ambiance to be all that you need to grab a drink of your choice and unwind from the week.
Friday Nights are Wine Nights – But You Can Have So Much More
Our Friday night visit coincided with their weekly Friday wine specials- $5 glasses of wine and champagne for the whole evening. Throw in live performances starting at 10pm and running until the early morning, this combo makes Brillobox shine on its own (and the big portions don't hurt either).
Both Angie and a friend who joined us jumped on this wine special, while I opted to inspect the beer and cocktail list.
If the colorful onslaught of the bar itself was not enough, the two slushie machines were running full blaze with one with a matching purple hue. This was the fruit margarita which had the perfect balance of alcohol potency, fruit, and texture. And, like the wine, the size was well worth the $8 price tag.
Moving on, I opted to try their house made Manhattan which at $12 is one of the most expensive items on the entire bar menu and starting to get towards my spending limit. Served with Bulleit Rye, Ramazzotti amaro, and bitters, this Manhattan is about as straight up as you can get. When served neat in their oversized coup class, you won't be let down by the price at all as the volume more than makes up for any price concerns.
As Angie and our friend were multiple glasses of wine down at this point, I decided to keep up by switching over to the beer menu, which contains a decent list of roughly a dozen or so breweries both local and national. I settled on a cream ale to tone it down for my third drink, and worked it over slowly throughout the evening of conversation and catching up.
Overall, the drinks at Brillobox are solid. There is no other way to put it. Aside from the Friday wine special, I wouldn't say that we'd go out of our way to visit just for the wine, or just for the cocktails, but if you are looking for a place to go with a group who just can't agree on what kind of booze to drink, this one should be it.
There is nothing wrong with that in the slightest.
Brillobox is located at 4104 Penn Avenue.
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