City Works in Market Square is a massive pub with a huge draft list, and it's perfectly situated in PPG Place for after work happy hours and watching sports games on one of their 15 TVs.
We visited on a recent week night just after happy hour had ended, and it was bustling with large groups of professionals enjoying the deals ($4 rotating drafts and select $4 appetizers). While we were sad about missing out on the specials, we dove in to our meal all the same.
A Massive Bar and a Massive Draft List in Market Square
The first thing we noticed upon entering was how big the space is. There are several different areas suited to whatever kind of experience you want – high top tables near the bar and TVs if you want to be right up in the action, comfier booths and tables situated further away if you want a little more quiet, and even private rooms for events.
We decided to take a high top near the bar which ended up being quite loud, which was fine for us but may not be for everyone.
After our first impression of what a huge space it was, our eyes quickly turned to the impressive bar with 90 taps. There is a wall menu listing all of the beers as well as a menu book where beers are organized by style. City Works also boasts that they always have 25% local beers (local in this case stretching regionally and across the state).
Some of the Pittsburgh area breweries found on tap include Helltown, Penn Brewery, Church Brew Works, Full Pint, and East End to name a few. However, expect the local selections to rotate in and out often so it is hard to say which would be on draft at any given time.
The City Works Menu Follows the Gastropub Mold
We settled in with a few beers and started perusing the menu, which is mostly classic bar food with a few twists. Appetizers include the likes of pretzel bites, poutine, wings, flatbreads, and crab fondue.
We couldn't resist the fried cheese curds which had a super light and delicate cornmeal coating covering the creamy white cheddar curds. They were served with a smoked tomato coulis which was good but overpowered the delicate flavor of the curds a bit.
The rest of the menu focuses on burgers, sandwiches, soups, and salads, although a few entrees like ribs, fish, and meatloaf appear as well- more or less following the standard mold for most gastropubs. Although the burgers options sounded quite good we decided to go with a more unusual option, the duck reuben.
This one came with slices of duck, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and Gruyere cheese, all on toasted marble rye. The two downfalls to this sandwich were that the duck was pretty tough and the bread could have been toasted much more or, even better, grilled.
Other than that there was a good amount of sauciness from the dressing and cheese, and the sauerkraut had a delicious citrus tarragon dressing.
Still, we can't quite get over the overcooked duck on this one despite the flavors being fairly decent overall.
We also ordered the shrimp tacos which were served crispy on white corn tortillas and topped with slaw, Sriracha, a sesame vinaigrette, and a chili aioli. The three tacos were filled to bursting, which we appreciated.
The fried shrimp absorbed a lot of the sauces on the tacos and unfortunately lost some of their crispiness. Otherwise, the sesame vinaigrette flavor seemed to dominate and gave the tacos a nutty, Asian slant that took us a bit by surprise.
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If you work near Market Square and are looking for a great after work happy hour, or are looking for a great spot downtown to watch the next Steelers or Penguins game, look no further than City Works.
This spot may serve up fairly standard gastropub food with some twists thrown in, but the 90 beers on tap will ensure we go back for more in the future.
It is about time Market Square improved its beer game!
City Works is located at 2 PPG Place in Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh.
Looking for more restaurants in Market Square? Check out The Original Oyster House (Pittsburgh's oldest restaurant), The Yard Pittsburgh, or Pizzaiolo Primo for more options! Or, for more reviews of Pittsburgh restaurants, click the previous link to be taken to our directory of every review on Discover the Burgh!