Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on October 17, 2023.
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If you've been enjoying Pittsburgh's cocktail scene, odds are good you've had a creation from Sean Enright. From local bars and restaurants, he's been found creating stellar menus at quite a few of our favorite places over the years.
But in late 2023, Sean opened his latest project, Poetry Lounge in Millvale.
This one combines a welcoming neighborhood bar with the added splash of craft cocktails featuring a mix of house creations, classics, and shots- all with reasonable price points. Just the kind of neighborhood bar we like!
Poetry Lounge is a Welcoming Spot in Millvale
When you walk into Poetry Lounge, you will first feel like you are in any neighborhood bar. Wood paneling adorns the walls, the bar looks like it has been enjoyed for decades, and the space feels like a tried and true neighborhood haunt.
But then you look further and see an eclectic design with unique tastes thrown in. A monster wall of records can be found prominently next to the liquor bottles. Historic concert posters can be found on the walls along with vintage alcohol posters. The stage in the back is ready to go for Pittsburgh's latest and greatest act. A lone pinball machine feels out of place and a perfect fit at the same time.
If there is one bar that merges new and old in a style that feels familiar, Poetry Lounge does it.
So, how about the drinks?
The menu here during our visit on opening week was split evenly between shots, classics, and house creations, called “Pittsburgh Drinks”, which is aptly the same name as the book that Sean Enright co-wrote about, you guessed it, Pittsburgh's cocktail history with a ton of recipes from local bartenders.
The Pittsburgh Drinks side of the menu features unique house creations which showcases the craft side of the bar. Galeophobia contained blueberry-infused rum, citrus blends, a sangria syrup, macadamia liqueur, and orgeat and was a robust tiki drink served in a shark head for good measure (perhaps our favorite of the night, too, for its complex flavors!). Red Wedding was a straightforward blend of gin, Aperol, and Cynar and was reminiscent of a refreshing-yet-bitter Negroni.
Our final drink we sampled from this side of the menu was the Poetry Lounge Punch, which was served in an admittedly small punch glass and on our visit was a blend of white rum, peach schnapps, citrus, and raspberry tea and offered a strong hit of raspberry tea at the foreground while giving away to peach on the finish. At about half the price of their conventional cocktails this one was still quite enjoyable for its size, but I'd be remiss if I didn't admit I could have had three of them right then and there.
On the classic side of the menu you can sample a Caipirinha, Sazerac, Manhattan, and more. All of these were solid iterations of their respective drink with little deviation from the standard mold. Considering the reasonable price point here, this is always much appreciated even if we, personally, often like a twist.
Sometimes you shouldn't mess with the classics.
Perhaps one of the most interesting parts about Poetry Lounge's email is that they offer a good selection of their menu as stanzas- half-sized cocktails at half price. Not all of the cocktails are available in this offering, but it does make for a great way to sample a good chunk of the menu without having to commit on a full cocktail.
Overall, Poetry Lounge is a fun neighborhood spot in Millvale that both feels like it has been there for years and is new all the same. Whether you go for a shot, classics, new creations, or simply a beer, this one offers a bit for everyone.
Poetry Lounge is located at 313 North Avenue in Millvale.
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