Last Updated on October 14, 2022 by Jeremy
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When we go out to bars in the city, we are often dismayed about how little our Pittsburgh brewery scene is represented on draft lists. In the many, many bars we have visited, it seems like local brews are generally overlooked for larger and more nationally known craft brewers.
This is, on its own, not necessarily a bad thing- we still can find a great craft beer either way. But this viewpoint comes about as we live in a region with nearly 100 breweries within an hour of downtown, and with that kind of stock, you would think more places would carry them as a focal point on the menu!
Enter Mike's Beer Bar on the North Shore. This one may look like just another bar near PNC Park, but is one that elevates their offering with over 80 beers on tap, a monster can selection (500+ bottles), and, perhaps the best part, almost all of them are local!
Mike's Beer Bar is the Pittsburgh Beer Bar
Now, before we dive into things, we have to admit that Mike's Beer Bar is not exclusively a Pittsburgh beer bar despite us calling it that. They, naturally, have domestic and national craft producers in order to be a bar for everyone.
We get why this is necessary, and we appreciate it for those who are not into the craft beer scene.
But as those who are into craft beer, specifically locally made craft beer, the fact that 50 of the 80+ taps are always local and that about 70% of their can selection is also local, makes Mike's the premier bar in the city for local brews. It is truly without compare in the area in terms of the sheer volume of local products as well as the variety of styles that you can find at any given time.
If you want to make it a night, you may be able to find brews from the likes of Grist House, Inner Groove, Cellar Works, and Four Seasons and can enjoy them without having to make the long trek out of the city on Route 28 and south to the Laurel Highlands. Having brews from many of these wonderful producers all from the comfort of just one bar stool is a perk that we simply cannot overstate.
But going beyond the standard draft list, Mike's also has some specials from time to time that adds to the allure of what this bar offers. For example, after the annual Barrel & Flow Festival in 2021 (formerly Fresh Fest), Mike's had a couple of dozen kegs on tap featuring the collaboration beers from the event. They did this for the first Drink the Cookie Table beer festival as well.
As we had to, sadly, miss Barrel & Flow in 2021, being able to head over to Mike's allowed us to try a few of the brews from the event we otherwise would've missed. For the Drink the Cookie Table festival, which we did attend, it allowed us one more chance to taste a few of our favorites from the festival outright.
Beyond the special features, we have one final highlight with regards to the beer at Mike's, and that is virtually every brew on draft can be poured into a flight pour in addition to a full glass. So depending on how many samples you have the capacity to enjoy, you can quite literally taste your way around the city at this one.
Mike's Also Has a Straightforward Gastropub Menu
Going beyond the beer menu, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that Mike's has a fairly conventional gastropub food menu with burgers, sandwiches, wraps, flatbreads, nachos, and more. They are also getting onto the “meals on a stone” trend that is popular in the North Shore as well that we hope to try on a future visit.
During our visit with friends, I was able to sample a flatbread and part of a burger which were every bit like what you'd expect a gastropub bar food menu to look like- namely large portions, not straying too far from the conventional molds, a much better option than what you can find inside most of the nearby stadiums and venues, and an extra helping of calories to go along with the beer.
In other situations, we'd probably have a bit more to say about the food partly just because gastropubs are everywhere these days.
That being said, considering the draft list and their prime location right next to PNC Park, we have to admit, they most certainly are playing to specific crowds- and to us, that is the local beer first and foremost. Really, the main takeaway here should less be regarding what is on the food menu but rather that they simply have an assortment of food available which we'd most certainly choose over many of the options inside the stadiums.
Overall, if you are Pittsburgh beer lovers like we are, Mike's Beer Bar needs to make it into your regular rotation soon. When it comes to drinking locally, there is truly no place better than this one, and for that we will return time and time again.
Mike's Beer Bar is located at 110 Federal Street in the North Side.