Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on November 29, 2023.
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We're just going to be upfront here- Pittsburgh isn't known for being a late-night city.
Part of this is cultural- the demand for late-night entertainment simply is not great (yet). Another part is due to local laws- late-night serving is often heavily restricted. Furthermore, many of our popular business districts are also nestled within residential neighborhoods where noise ordinances cause businesses to close earlier than they'd otherwise like. And yet another part is simply that those who do want a nighttime vibe almost always head to South Side.
That being said, the late-night scene in Pittsburgh is changing for the better, so in this one we thought we'd share a few great activities you may want to check out after the clock strikes midnight!
Notes: While we always recommend reconfirming hours before visiting any place shared on our site, this is especially important for late-night spots. Hours can and do change faster than even we can keep up with. One spot may be open with food service til 5 am one week, then suddenly change to 2 am, 11 pm, or 8 pm the next (the original Primanti Brothers in the Strip District is a great example- it was once 24/7 but as of publication now closes at variable hours, often before midngiht). Finally, as always, if your late-night outing involves alcohol, please be responsible and Uber or have a designated driver.
A Quick Note About Pennsylvania Late-Night Alcohol Laws
Before we get into this one, we should make a note upfront and state that you will not find any public bars serving in Pittsburgh past 2 am. This is due to state laws that prohibit the sale of alcohol in public businesses between the hours of 2 am and 7 am. Bars may let you stay later, especially if they have a late-night food permit, but apart from that case the law states all bars must have all alcohol discarded and patrons out of the business no later than 2:30 am.
One caveat to this is private social clubs that are membership-based. These businesses are typically allowed to serve until 3 am if they choose and alcohol must be discarded and patrons out the door by 3:30 am. These options are few and far between.
That said, when looking up business closing times, assume that the listed time is when you should be leaving the property- not last call. So if a business is stated to close at 2 am, it would be a reasonable assumption that last call is roughly 30 minutes before that. There may be places where this is not the case, but it is a good rule to keep in mind.
Onward to some great late night activity ideas!
Walk Down Grandview Avenue and Ride the Inclines
One of our favorite parts about Pittsburgh, its gorgeous skyline, is something that can also be enjoyed 24/7. There is something quite serene about walking down Grandview Avenue after dark once most visitors have left for the day, and this holds just as true after midnight!
As a bonus, both of the Inclines tend to run past midnight most nights with the Duquesne Incline operating until approximately 12:30 am and the Monongahela Incline running until 12:45 am (excluding Sundays and holidays where service ends at midnight).
So while we wouldn't recommend riding these too much past midnight, if only because you don't want to get stuck above or below when they close, it is still an option to check out after the clock strikes midnight (so definitely double check the last ride time before boarding). When in doubt, simply enjoy Grandview Avenue for a late-night stroll!
- Keep in mind that Grandview Avenue is a residential street. Be courtesy of the neighbors with regards to late-night noise.
Grab Some Snacks at Vendor Bender
Did you know that Squirrel Hill is home to an international vending machine store named Vendor Bender? Did you know this one is also open 24 hours a day?
If your late night outings have you near the East End and you are looking for a different kind of snack, this store is a must stop for international snacks, drinks, and a whole lot more.
Games at Barcadia or Bowling at Arsenal Bowl (Weekends)
Want to get a little game action on your midnight outings around the city? We have a few late-night barcades and bowling alleys to check out, too.
While Market Square is somewhat quiet late at night, the aptly named barcade, Barcadia, is open late on Fridays and Saturdays (until 2 am) for your pinball and retro arcade game needs.
Or, if bowling is more your speed, Lawrenceville's Arsenal Bowl tends to be open until about 1 am on weekends. That being said, weekend promotions here tend to involve all-you-can-bowl pricing so it is best to arrive early to get a lane and the biggest bang for your buck!
Bar Crawl in the South Side
To start, we have to hit the big one- going on a bar crawl in South Side. This neighborhood is known for its bars, and the density is so great that you can hardly walk a block on East Carson Street without running a bar (or three)- especially between S 11th and s 22nd Street.
While this is a popular part of the city for a night out, South Side makes this late-night guide simply because a disproportionate number of bars are open until 2 am when they are legally required to close. Truly no other Pittsburgh neighborhood comes close for late night spots than here!
But where there are late-night bars, also come late-night eats. South Side is a great spot for those who want a bite after midnight as a select few restaurants stay open late for the bar crowd- something a bit unusual for Pittsburgh at large. Options you may want to check out include Cambodi-can Kitchen, Dive Bar & Grille, Benny Fierro's, and more. As with all things South Side, some of these may only stay open past midnight on weekends, and hours are always in flux so best to confirm before making plans for your night out!
Visit Other Late Night Bars Around Pittsburgh
Want to hit up other bars around the city but don't want to visit South Side? You're in luck, late night spots are becoming more and more common as the years go by. Some of these are open until the 2 am limit, but some others may only be open til 12:30 or 1 am on weekends only- so keep an eye out on the operating hours!
In the Cultural District, bars like The Warren and Redbeard's on Sixth are typically open until 2 am most nights. Night clubs, like Cavo in the Strip District, often are open til 2 am as well. Gooski's and the Rock Room in Polish Hill tend to be open til 2 am. As you approach Bloomfield and Lawrenceville, personal favorites Brillobox and Tina's are also open well after midnight as is The Goldmark in Lawrenceville, Whisper Nest in Millvale, and more.
On Mount Washington and Allentown, you may want to head over to Bigham Tavern, Satalio's (home to an incredible city view), or Bottlerocket Social Hall on weekends (admittedly at the time of publication this one only was open until about 12:30 am). Most of the North Side tends to quiet down after midnight apart from Modern Cafe on Western Avenue, but you'll likely find much later hours for bars on the North Shore like Bar Louie and BURN by Rocky Patel many nights plus Tequila Cowboy and Mike's Beer Bar on weekends (with varying hours).
Heading towards the East End, you also have Squirrel Hill Cafe open late and J Gough's Tavern in Greenfield open after midnight on weekends.
For those who want to be out until 3 am, some private social clubs should be on your radar like Penn Society downtown, too!
Keep the Party Going at the Casino
Finally, we end this one with a place that never truly closes- Rivers Casino on the North Shore. While we personally do not promote gambling activities on our site too much here, Rivers Casino does need a shoutout simply because the games here are almost always open.
That being said, Rivers Casino is not like Vegas casino. Alcohol is not served on the floor (instead only at on-site bars and restaurants), and alcohol service typically ends between 11pm to 1:30am pending location even if some spots are open later for food. So while you could visit the casino for some late night fun, keep in mind that some of your options will be limited to only gambling later in the night.
Do you have a favorite late-night activity in Pittsburgh (after midnight)? Comment below to share!
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