When it comes to drinking in Pittsburgh, we have a number of great options ranging from beer, to wine, to liquor, and even a strong scene of local producers for all three of those as well!
One industry that has been growing at a rapid pace in recent years is wineries, and more specifically that of the wine bar.
Today, we wanted to share some of our favorites from our explorations around the city!
Not Everything Can Be a Pittsburgh Wine Bar
Unlike other articles of this nature, such as our goal in finding the best Pittsburgh breweries, we have to take a step back and answer one very important question up-front: what is the difference between a wine bar and a winery?
To us, the main distinction is based on where the wine is made. A winery makes their own wine and serves it on-property (and we have many Pittsburgh wineries to check out) while wine bars are just that- a bar.
There are a few wineries that blur the line and make this list because they feel more like bars than wineries, despite the fact that they make their own wines.
But for the most part, a wine bar (in how we look at it at least) is simply an awesome bar that has a stellar wine list- be it of their own creations or from others.
This guide features some of the best wine bars in Pittsburgh that we have had the luxury of visiting in our exploration of the city.
Allegheny Wine Mixer
Why is that? This intimate bar is beautifully decorated, offers a superb wine list, reasonable prices (often under $10 a glass), rotating special features, and a modest beer and cocktail list for non-wine drinkers as well!
While you may never know what you're going to get when visiting this one, you are guaranteed to have a good time all the same.
Allegheny Wine Mixer is located at 5326 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.
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Apericena Wine Bar
Apericena Wine Bar is a high-end wine bar in Pittsburgh's South Hills that offers glasses and flights of an array of obscure and award-winning wines (be sure to check the menu for critically rated bottles!).
While only about half of the menu is available by the glass, the large selection ensures there is always something new to try. But as far as wine bars go, this one comes in among the highest priced in this list.
Start with a flight and see where the spirits take you!
Apericena Wine Bar is located at 100 Sienna Drive in Upper St. Clair, just next to The Porch and across from South Hills Village.
Eighth & Hays
In a way, Eighth & Hays is a bit of a hybrid between Apericena and Allegheny Wine Mixer above.
The ambiance of this bar is formal and the wines include affordable house wines and hand-picked, high-end offerings that you can typically only get by-the-bottle elsewhere.
But what makes this wine bar different is that you can order any wine in one, three, or full six ounce pours in addition to purchasing by the bottle. The prices are reflected in the quality of the wines, naturally, but there is something to be said about being able to try a half-glass of a high-end bottle that we just absolutely love.
Where else can you do that?
Eighth & Hays is located at 130 W 8th Avenue in Homestead.
We'll be the first to admit that we often find ourselves visiting Lorelei for their cocktail and German beer program (not to mention the awesome ambiance). But we'd be remiss if we did not include this specialty bar in our wine bar list as well.
Why? Their wine list is one of the most impressive we've seen when it comes to European wines (namely wines from France, Germany, Austria, and Italy).
Can't decide on what to order? Give a themed flight a try as well. There is always room for a Riesling flight here!
Lorelei is located at 124 South Highland Avenue in East Liberty.
Market Street Grocery's Wine Bar
Did you know that there is a wine bar hiding in the back of Market Street Grocery downtown? My guess is you did not.
While tiny, this wine bar serves up an impressive wine list of vintages exclusively from Collefrisio Winery in Italy. Whether you want white, red, rose, or an array of Montepulciano of various qualities, this wine bar will let you taste your way around the country.
Even better? Their happy hour runs Monday to Saturday, 5-7pm, with discounts ranging from $3-$8 off per glass! Not only does this make it one of the best happy hours for wine in the city, but it also makes some of the high-end wines quite affordable as well!
Market Street Grocery's Wine Bar is located at 435 Market Street in downtown Pittsburgh (Market Square).
Spill Wine Bar
If Market Street Grocery is your kind of wine bar, you'll also want to make a trip over to Bloomfield to check out Spill Wine Bar which opened in early 2019.
The wine bar is quite similar in that it is an intimate space and they serve only four vineyards (three from Italy, including Collefrisio from above, as well as one from Australia) and have an exceptional selection from each.
You can visit this one for a tasting full of complimentary offerings to find your preferred bottles (the samples really kept on coming for us), or purchase glasses at competitive prices (often $6-$10 for most pours). No matter what you'll do you will sample some great wines, have some wonderful conversation with the friendly owners, and likely be walking out with a few bottles all while planning a return visit- we did!
Spill Wine Bar is located at 4800 Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield.
In a way, Refucilo Winery is a lot like the wine bar at Market Street Grocery.
This one is an Argentinian based winery whose owners live in the Pittsburgh area and decided to open a tasting room to share their delicious Malbec, Torrontes, and other South American creations with the region.
A specialty wine bar, yes, but superb products that will keep you coming back for more as well.
A nice little gem in the North Side!
Refucilo is located at 907 Western Avenue in the North Side.
While you could say that Pittsburgh Winery in the Strip District is in and of itself a local winery, we often think of it as much of a wine bar due to its ambiance and the fact that the wines are produced using grapes from all over the world.
In early 2019 Pittsburgh Winery's main location began renovations for an expansion set to open at the end of the year, and thus the bar relocated to a new space just down the road in the interim. But we still highly recommend visiting this one for their delicious products all the same!
Pittsburgh Winery is located at 2710 Penn Avenue (the original location is currently under renovations until the end of 2019).
EngineHouse 25 is much like Pittsburgh Winery. Located just a mile or so away at the boundary of the Strip District and Lawrenceville, this winery comes packed with a wonderful ambiance, delicious wines made with grapes imported from around the world, and an incredible backstory.
Plan your visit around a tour of the Clemente Museum (attached to the winery- reservations required) for a great day out. If you are just visiting for wine, reservations are not needed!
EngineHouse 25 is located at 3339 Penn Avenue in Lawrenceville.
Honorable Mention – Palate Partners Wine Classes
We'll be the first to admit that Palate Partners is not a wine bar in the traditional sense. To put it simply, they are not a regularly operating bar at all.
This one is a wine business that focuses on private and public classes for wine tasting- which we think is close enough!
The reason why love this one so much (and why we want to give them an honorary placement on this list) is that they offer cheap, public wine tastings on the first and third Fridays of the month- offering six generous samples of curated wines for just $12.
No wine bar in the city can beat that, and their price to buy by the bottle is unmatched as well! If you want to build your wine cellar, this is the place to be.
Palate Partners is located at 3401 Liberty Avenue in Lawrenceville.
Know of another wine bar we have not visited yet? Comment below to let us know about it!