E.T.A. Review – Japanese Whisky and Cocktails Downtown

Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on April 17, 2024.

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We love a themed cocktail bar, and when it is run by the team behind The Warren, even better.

E.T.A is a Japanese whisky and cocktail bar that opened in The Warren's back room in early 2024. The space was where the former wine shop was located and has been a bar we've been waiting to check out for quite some time. In fact, it wasn't until our friend Alex Eats Too Much stumbled upon this one on opening week that we even found it was close to opening at all. 

Naturally, we visited right away.

Whether you are visiting for whisky, a highball, one of their inventive house cocktails, or even a modest food menu, there really is a lot to enjoy about E.T.A.!

E.T.A. is an Intimate Japanese Bar in Downtown Pittsburgh

E.T.A. Pittsburgh

When visiting E.T.A., the first thing you'll have to do is head to The Warren. No, not for a drink (although, we did), but because the entrance to E.T.A. is via a side door just after the entrance of this downtown staple. (Also note that hours are not the same as The Warren.)

Once inside, you'll be experiencing an intimate, albeit somewhat small, cocktail bar full of amazing options to try!

While the bar has an impressive whisky menu, the main attractions to us is the menus split between cocktails with Asian-focused ingredients and a robust highball menu.

On the cocktails side, we started with the Shimiken Martini and the E.T.A. Old Fashioned.

Cocktails at ETA

The Shimiken Martini was made with Haku vodka, plum liqueur, plum puree, yuzu, lemon, and kumquat syrup, and came with a sidecar of sparkling sake for good measure. It was light, delicate, and really showcased the flavors of the plum beautifully. We were told that the sidecar could be a chaser, or dropped right in, but we found going back and forth with sips to be the best way to enjoy it on a first order at least. Thankfully, this cocktail is about as close to perfect as you can get, so next time we order we'll give mixing the sake in a try to see how it impacts the drink.

The E.T.A. Old Fashioned is for those with deep pockets, as the base Hakushu 12 Year Whisky more or less doubles the price from any other drink on the menu. Throw on Houjicha tea syrup, yuzu bitters, and a mix of dandelion and burdock bitters and you have a wonderfully complex, and dare I say, even a little nutty Old Fashioned that gets a hint of brightness from the bitters.

Do I need such an aged whisky in my Old Fashioned? Not particularly. Did I not realize the price when I ordered? Absolutely- and that makes it hard for me to want to order it regularly. But as a splurge for something high-end, this was a fun one to try as it was still quite delicious.

Suntory Whisky Highball

On the highball side, E.T.A. offers numerous styles made with differing base spirits be it Suntory Toki whisky, Suntory Roku gin, vermouth, and more. For our second round, we opted for a classic Toki highball with whisky and one made with vermouth for good measure.

Admittedly, we have to preface this one with the fact that highballs are not our standard order. Despite being made properly with an immensely cold and carbonated base, there is something about this style that is simply not for us. That said, if we were to be regulars of the highball, the vermouth based highball would be our standard. This one had a pleasant intensity of flavors from the vermouth and worked well with the carbonated base to still bring about an intensity we desperately seek in cocktails.

All things considered, we do give respect here because these are some of the finest highballs you'll find in Pittsburgh outside of, perhaps, The Warren next door (to no one's surprise).

Don't Miss Food at E.T.A – Even for a Snack

Gyoza and Shishitos from ETA Pittsburgh

While we could end this one here, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that E.T.A. has a decently sized food menu of items like dumplings, blistered shishito peppers, sushi, and more.

If you've ever wondered why The Warren had a sushi menu next to the more conventional gastropub menu items, well, it makes a bit more sense now that E.T.A. is open as the cross-over is indeed quite prominent.

Although we admittedly had to miss the full sushi menu as we were heading out to another dinner reservation after this stop, we added on some appetizers of gyoza and peppers and found them to be a nice complement to our drinks. So even if you're just stopping in for a round, be sure to add on a snack too (and for our next visit, we're going for a full meal because the sushi menu looks, as expected from our experiences at The Warren, delicious).

Overall, we love a good themed bar, especially one that nails the theme right away. Although we expect E.T.A. to quickly be a downtown staple that will be hard to find a seat due to its incredibly small size, if you are lucky enough to grab a seat, a rewarding cocktail experience is in your future. Finally, before leaving, don't forget to take some time to look at the decor in closer detail- they have some real gems for you to discover!

E.T.A. is located at 245 7th Street in the Cultural District. As previously mentioned, head inside The Warren to find the entrance to this bar and note that E.T.A. maintains separate hours from The Warren proper as of the time of publication.

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