Cocktails from the Crypt Review – Halloween Themed Libations

Last Updated on by Jeremy

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Pittsburgh's Halloween season is in full force with a number of hauntingly fun attractions to enjoy. Naturally, some pop-up bars have jumped onto the scene to celebrate this spooky season with themed libations!

One of these themed bars is Cocktails from the Crypt, a South Side pop-up managed by Spencer Warren of The Warren (a popular cocktail bar in downtown Pittsburgh).

I checked this one out shortly after it opened for its limited run and share a bit more on what the bar and cocktails are like below! 

A Slight Halloween Ambiance at Cocktails from the Crypt

Cocktails of the Crypt Pittsburgh

When it comes to pop-up bars, one of my first concerns is always about the ambiance as we have seen many that simply fall flat. Many, it seems, rush to open their doors to maximize their hours in a holiday season rather than craft an enjoyable experience- and it often shows.

While I would say that the Cocktails of the Crypt ambiance is a bit on the mellow side for a themed bar, they utilize the former Lava Lounge space rather well. It was transformed from, well, I don't even know how to describe what it was before, into what I'd consider being a spooky cave full of spider webs, bats, ghouls, and more. 

Bar at Cocktails of the Crypt

The theming is light but tastefully done. If you are looking to enjoy cocktails in a space that rivals a haunted house, well, you won't get that here (instead, think of decorations from the spooky house on a trick-or-treating route). But you will get a nuanced Halloween feel complete with themed music and, the most important part, delicious cocktails.

Delicious Cocktails with Stellar Glassware

Redneck Zombie from Cocktails of the Crypt

During my visit to Cocktails from the Crypt, with my friends from Bold Pittsburgh, we were able to work our way through most of the menu.

The drink list here runs the full spectrum from spirit-forward takes on Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, re-inventions of classics like the Aperol Spritz and a Cosmo, to tiki drinks like the Zombie and more. Out of the menu, a few stuck out as being highlights.

I started with the Redneck Zombie, a fruity drink made with spiced and white rums, fernet, pineapple, and banana and is served in skull. The fernet flavor was very mild in this one and allowed for the fruit flavors to shine through- something I can appreciate considering how bitter the amaro can be.

Crypt Keeper Cocktail

From there I moved on to the Crypt Keeper, made with apple brandy, apple cider, branca mentha, and allspice. This one is served in a tea cup and its flavor components are reminiscent of a boozy tea thanks to mint being the predominate (but not overbearing) flavor. If fall toddies are your thing, this is the cocktail for you.

The Shiver & Shake was my final drink from the evening and featured Wild Turkey Honey, Beam Rye, Thai iced tea, and condensed milk. It is on the dessert side of the spectrum and the iced tea and milk flavors come off first with the honey-flavored whiskey adding a more subtle nuance. I would've preferred this one to have a stronger whiskey punch, but appreciated the flavor combinations all the same.

Other delicious creations that showed up at the table included the CFTC Old Fashioned (a pretty straight forward iteration kicked up with pumpkin bitters) and the Transfusion (a cocktail made with cola vodka, amaros, and other bitter liquors and served in an IV bag- my favorite themed cocktail of the evening despite the ingredient list).

Cyanide shot with Mr Yuk sticker

While a few of the cocktails, like the Shiver & Shake, were a bit on the lighter side, my favorite part of this pop-up bar is that all cocktails are $10 plus tax (just like at The Warren). As cocktail prices in the city are creeping up to $12, $14, or more at area bars, maintaining this benchmark is a feat on its own that I can always appreciate. 

So, when will you head down to South Side for a Halloween themed libation?

Cocktails from the Crypt is located in the former Lava Lounge space at 2204 East Carson Street. It will be open until the first week of November and will be transformed into a second Miracle Bar space for the holiday season.

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